Ark developer Wild Card announced Scorched Earth, a “completely finished” expansion for its Early Access survival success. However, the main game itself, Ark is still in Early Access, so the decision to charge for extra content came as a surprise for many.
Scorched Earth is described by Wild Card as a “completely finished” expansion, created by the studio while it spends time finishing the main game. Many fans have expressed that this practice goes against the ethos of Early Access.
A customer is already risking their money on a project that might never be finished by supporting an Early Access game during its development. It is no surprise that many Ark fans who have paid for the Early Access game have refused to spend any more for features that they say should be part of the game’s “natural continued development.”
Although Wild Card has temporarily cut the price of the base Ark game by 40% so it’s cheaper for newer players, this has done nothing for Ark‘s established fan base.
One of Ark‘s Steam reviews, joining a host of Mostly Negative reviews, which were previously Mostly Positive, encapsulates the frustration that many fans feel with this situation.
“Started off as shining example of how to do early access,” wrote Ark fan Fastidious, who has played for 990 hours. “Ended up a complete disaster after the developer went off on adventures of making [survival elimination spin-off project] Survival of the Fittest, console versions and paid expansion while still in early access! No wonder the game is so behind schedule.”
“Wow way to release paid DLC before getting the game out of Early Access,” wrote Synthetic (1843 hours played). “Seriously what is going through your heads? How’s DirectX 12 and the TrueSky fix coming that have been sitting on your to do list since the game came out on Early Access?”
To add more fuel to the already quickly burning fire, one Wild Card staff member spoke out about the backlash, even shaming one fan as being “too cheap to pony up $20”.
“[Wild Card] should have uploaded it for free, really?” the staff member wrote in a now-deleted chat post. “We made essentially an entire new game to compliment the existing one, do we not deserve to be paid? “I think you mean you wish we launch it for free, because you seem to have short arms and deep pockets.” The staff member did apologize for his words via the game’s official Reddit.
Ark: Scorched Earth puts players in a new desert area populated by Wyverns and other new creatures. It also introduces coping with dehydration in this environment. While this is separate from the main game’s area, players will be able to travel between Scorched Earth’s location and the main game’s island.
“All of us at Wildcard are tremendously excited to see how these new features alter the dynamics of the long-term ARK metagame,” co-founder Jeremy Stieglitz said upon the expansion’s announcement.
“While we’ve had Scorched Earth and future Arks in the planning stages since the project’s inception, establishing its inter-Ark travel technology was the essential reason for making this content available to players right now.”