Ark Survival Evolved has seen massive success, even with the game still being in Early Access. Studio Wildcard co-founder Jeremy Stieglitz has told MCV:
“[Our first year] has gone very well. The launch [in June 2015] was an unexpected success, but that’s also a double edged sword because when it succeeds at that level, it kind of raises expectations about how ambitious the game is going to be, and how large of a scope it is going to have when it is finished.”
Ark Survival Evolved recently got a free standalone game called Survival of the Fittest (SotF). However in a Steam post it was revealed that the SotF game will be becoming part of the Survival Evolved experience as one complete game. The reasons for doing so are essentially one reason. The fans. The post states that the release of a development kit for SotF was the main reason for this switch.
“The release of the Development Kit is the main reason for bringing back SotF internally. We have been pondering for a while how to release the kit without any restrictions on content and licensing, allowing SotF modders to freely take all the content from Survival Evolved as they wish. … This was more important to us than any other reason, and to accomplish this, we had to bring SotF back into the Survival Evolved product.”
Another reason noted was the costs of running such a game. The post notes “this can range from development work, server costs, running of tournaments, prizes and of course the opportunity cost.”. But instead of using the in-app purchase model that so many games do, the Wildcard team decided to bring SotF into Ark Survival Evolved to help fund the mode.
“Ultimately, it’s clear this is not who we are, we like to make games, and to make the gameplay fun. We don’t know much about monetization, and quite frankly we aren’t interested in hiring an economics team to take over that process, it is much more in our and your best interest for Wildcard to solely focus on the development of a game. We just aren’t cut out for free to play mechanics.”
I personally think this is a great move from Wildcard. So many free-to-play games are ruined by in-app purchases. It’s a very tricky mechanic that has to be done properly or it can sway a player’s opinion in the wrong direction. Do you think Wildcard did the right thing? Let us know in the comments!