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Ark 2 release date window and latest news

Survival game fans better prepare for the Ark 2 release date, as family and dinosaurs rule the land - and Vin Diesel is having fun too.

Ark 2 release date: An image of Vin Diesel riding a dinosaur in Ark 2.

When is the Ark 2 release date? If you love dinos, survival games, and Vin Diesel, then we reckon that Studio Wildcard’s Ark 2 could be the biggest new release on the horizon. The Ark 2 release date can’t come quick enough, as we’re more than ready for T. rex sized adventures. However, since the game’s announcement in 2020, the wait for prehistoric glory has been a long one.

In an ideal world, we’d be playing Ark 2 right now, but developer Studio Wildcard has changed its release window for what is one of the biggest upcoming new Xbox games and Xbox exclusives over the last few years. In that time, we’ve seen two cinematic trailers with Big Vin front and center, and plenty of chatter about massive gameplay changes that could make it one of the best survival games ever. So join us for the ride, as here is everything there is to know about Ark 2 right now, including when you can expect to play it.

Ark 2 release date window

The Ark 2 release date is set for “the end of 2024”, according to Studio Wildcard in a post on the Ark forums. Furthermore, the studio’s parent company Snail Games hails Ark 2 as Wildcard’s “next masterpiece”, and reiterated a 2024 release window is on the cards during a presentation at the NobleCon19 business conference in December last year.

Ark 2 will release on Xbox Series X|S consoles and PC, and will be coming to Game Pass on day one as well. 

In the forum post we mentioned, Studio Wildcard explains that “after careful consideration, we have decided to delay the sequel’s launch to the end of 2024, when it will still launch exclusively on Xbox, Game Pass, and Windows distribution platforms.” Furthermore, the developer clarifies that it has “put much thought into delaying Ark 2 for the betterment of the final product and the team’s well-being. This news will be disappointing to many – we feel it too – but we’re confident this heavy decision is the right one.”

Hopefully, the wait will pay off and yield some technically impressive results too as Ark 2 is set to utilize Unreal Engine 5. Studio Wildcard believes that this will deliver “never-before-achieved scope” in Ark 2.

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The development of Ark 2 has already been fairly lengthy. We first saw it at The Game Awards in 2020 with a promise that it’d launch in 2022. However, that release window looked more and more unlikely as Studio Wildcard went through a hiring round to bring more developers onto the project. Then the game was shifted to a 2023 release, but things were eerily silent as we slipped into that year. Then, in March 2023, Studio Wildcard confirmed that it would delay the game again to its current release window of late 2024.

In December 2023, the CEO of Snail Games (Studio Wildcard’s parent company) confirmed that Ark 2 was still on track for that late 2024 release window.

Ark 2 PS5

Right now, there are no plans for an official PlayStation 5 version of Ark 2. Studio Wildcard has made it clear that the game will be an Xbox console exclusive when it launches. Why? Because the Ark franchise is making absolute bank for Microsoft, and the numbers confirm it.

In an SEC filing from Studio Wildcard owners Snail Games, Microsoft paid $2.3 million to get Ark 2 on Xbox Game Pass on day one, and a further $2.5 million to keep its predecessor, Ark Survival Evolved (and now Ark Survival Ascended too), on the subscription service. While we don’t know for sure how long Ark 2’s Xbox exclusivity period will be, we’d be surprised if it was any shorter than 12 months. Microsoft loves all things Ark, so don’t hold your breath.

If you’re a PS5 player, you might want to take a little look at our list of the best PS5 survival games to play while you sit out the wait. Given that the first Ark game came to PlayStation consoles, we’re fairly confident a PS5 version of Ark 2 will arrive eventually. Once we hear more official information, we’ll be sure to update you. 

Ark 2 gameplay

We are yet to see any Ark 2 gameplay in the two trailers that have been released so far. However, the visuals in those trailers were all captured in-engine, which will give you a sense of how the game will look.

While we haven’t seen any raw gameplay, we do know that the game is built in Unreal Engine 5 (hence the impressive trailer visuals) and that it’s going to make some radical changes in comparison to Ark Survival Evolved.

Ark 2 release date: An enormous T-Rex like dinosaur lifts its head and roars. It's covered in cloth and armor and is being ridden by two people

For starters, it’s been confirmed that the game is going to be third-person, rather than first-person. Combat has also been somewhat influenced by games such as Dark Souls and Elden Ring. In an Xbox Wire blog post, Ark co-creators Jeremy Stieglitz and Jesse Rapczak reveal that “Ark 2 draws heavily from Souls like action for its human-scale combat: an emphasis on dodges, blocks, light and heavy attacks, combos, and player-reflex skill. [This is] a rarity for the PvP survival genre.”

Traversal has also been overhauled, whether you’re exploring on your own two feet or mounting up. “Controls and movement for both players and creatures have been completely redesigned,” the same blog post reads. “Taking inspiration from game systems like Assassin’s Creed’s automatic parkour and Breath of the Wild’s climbing, player characters can now clamber over the environment in a more realistic and freeform manner.”

There will also be “world events” that make Ark 2 more alive and dynamic than its predecessor. These include dinosaurs gathering around watering holes, stampedes of massive herds, or being tasked with defending a creature that’s under attack to earn its trust. These world events, when engaged with, could earn you valuable and unique rewards.

Ark 2 release date: A man in tribal gear and body paint faces off against a huge dinosaur which has blood dripping from its mouth

Rapczak and Stieglitz have also teased a more comprehensive and customizable crafting system, better creature management, and a new world map system.

While there is no gameplay trailer yet, we anticipate that we’ll finally see some footage during the 2024 Xbox showcase, which will arrive in June. 

Is Vin Diesel in Ark 2?

Yes, Fast and Furious star Vin Diesel plays a lead role in Ark 2 and is also Studio Wildcard’s ‘president of creative convergence’ – this role sees Diesel act as an executive producer for both Ark 2 and Ark: The Animated Series. In the Paramount+ series and the upcoming game, Diesel plays a character called Santiago Da Costa.

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But who is Santiago in Ark 2, we hear you ask? Well, in short, he is a genius scientist and hacker responsible for creating superweapons in his first life. We say ‘first life’ because Santiago has actually been cloned and revived occasionally over the course of Ark’s history. His most recent revival tees up the premise of Ark 2, as it sees him dropping into a new habitable planet with thousands of other awoken humans.

That’s a very brief explanation as to who Diesel’s character is and what his role is in Ark 2, but for a more in-depth, lore-heavy explainer, you should definitely watch this video from ‘NeddyTheNoodle’.

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If you’re wondering how the hell Studio Wildcard has managed to attract a megastar like Vin Diesel, you’re not alone. We were also blown away by the news when it was announced back in 2020. However, it turns out Diesel is a massive fan of Ark Survival Evolved, and has clocked up thousands of hours on the game. 

Ark 2 cast

As well as Vin Diesel as Santiago, the Ark 2 cast sees Auliʻi Cravalho (the voice of Moana in the hit Disney movie) take up a role in the game. She plays Meeka, who appears to be Santiago’s daughter. The two characters can be seen alongside each other in the two trailers that have been released for Ark 2 so far.

Outside of Diesel and Cravalho, no other cast members or characters have been fully revealed yet. 

While we wait for more Ark 2 news, check out our list of the best Xbox survival games for some recommendations on how to kill time until the game is out. Alternatively, to prepare for Ark 2’s new style of combat, check out some of the best Souls likes for console players.