'Ark: Survival Ascended' "Top to Bottom Remake" in Unreal Engine 5, Cross-platform Modding, Coming to Xbox Series Consoles

Originally published at: 'Ark: Survival Ascended' "Top to Bottom Remake" in Unreal Engine 5, Cross-platform Modding, Coming to Xbox Series Consoles - XboxEra

Developer Studio Wildcard showed a first glimpse of their upcoming remake of their very own ‘Ark: Survival Evolved’ at the Xbox Partner Presenation. Now dubbed ‘Ark: Survival Ascended’ (“ASA”) and featuring the original’s DLC as well as its own future roadmap, Survival Ascended brings Ark up to speed with Unreal Engine 5 technologies such as Lumen, Nanite, the engine’s ‘Chaos’ physics system, the company’s implementation of ‘fluid foliage’, and instance-based rendering making sure your framerate no longer completely dies as your base grows.

Taking key points from the Xbox Wire article:

  • Lumen is a fully dynamic global illumination system, which means as the gameplay environment changes, the lighting around it also changes. It creates a richer, immersive, and realistically lit environment. Imagine riding your raptor through the jungles of The Island and experiencing a more lifelike world. Sunlight and moonlight filter through the dense treelines, bouncing off of water surfaces, torchlights illuminating the insides of caves, and bases adapting to light based on whether you’ve opened or closed a window, and all of that dynamic lighting adjusting based on how you play the game.
  • Nanite allows us to use incredibly high-detail assets directly within the game, which get scaled and streamed onto the graphics processor in real time, tremendously increasing the visual fidelity of ASA. Imagine more environmental details, including realistic rocky textures, accurate tree patterning, and flourishing fauna. You’ll be able to construct highly detailed bases using the improved structure tile sets and, of course, tame sharper-looking dinosaurs! Frankly, everything looks better, and secondly, it really saves our development time, as Nanite eliminates the need to generate separate “level of detail” meshes and enables us to use the original high-resolution source meshes directly in-game.
  • Chaos is a physics destruction system that simulates complex and large-scale destruction in real time. So, when you’re raiding a base, blasting it with your rocket launcher, or crushing it with the sheer force of a Tyrannosaurus Rex’s bite, it will look more dynamic and realistic when those bases crumble and scatter around you.

    The other added benefit of Chaos is that it has allowed us to remove the legacy physics systems from the game, as we can rely on this new system entirely… Which means no more frustrating ragdolls. Gone are the days of hunting a creature and seeing its corpse float into the abyss; instead, we’ve implemented realistic death animations and knocked-out animations on all creatures.

  • Instanced-Based Rendering, this is a huge one. What do you love to do? Create massive bases, villages, and towns — basically, place down as many structures as you can fit into an area. This would have seriously affected client performance in the old game because it would have had to render basically everything. With instance-based rendering, you only pay the cost (on your frames) for the one structure piece. Meaning, one wooden wall on-screen has the same client impact on performance as a hundred — your game will be running a lot better in your giant bases!
  • Our Fluid and Foliage Interaction Systems have been critical in delivering a more realistic, immersive, and dynamic world. We’ve tried to make it so that just about everything has a way of interacting with the foliage and fluids in the world. That means your Survivor running through the grass, creatures wading through streams, or explosives and other items will cause a visible physical reaction in the game world. These interactions dynamically adjust based on various factors such as size, velocity, or impact of what they’re interacting with. So, if you’re running through a stream with a Spino slashing at Coelacanth in shallow waters, expect to see a lot of water displacement, ripples, foam, splashes, and water droplets flying into the air around you.

    The same can be said about foliage too, ride a Raptor through the tall grass, see how each blade gently reacts as you move forward, or as Brontosaurs flatten the earth beneath their feet and brush aside the leaves on the tall branches of a tree.

ASA will not only get the benefit of a new tech stack, but also players will get the chance to work with powerful modding tools, tapping into Unreal Engine 5’s strengths such as Blueprints as well as making those mods cross-platform across PC and console. The team has built a porting mechanism for the original’s some 30,000 plus mods to be ported to ASA, but of course tweaking will be necessary due to the changes made with this upcoming remake.

The most game-changing new feature coming to Ark: Survival Ascended is cross-platform modding. PC players of the original game have had the luxury of playing with mods for the last eight years, and soon that benefit will be available on every platform.

The new in-game CurseForge mod browser, which will be directly accessible from the main menu of the game, will soon be filled with new structures, dinos, maps, decorative pieces, and game modes. We’re also working closely with professional game studios and developers to bring their original content and IP to Ark: Survival Ascended to make it the ultimate gaming modding ecosystem and expect to have announcements with some of those partners very soon.

At launch, you will be able to start making your own mods by heading to the Epic Launcher and downloading the new Ark Devkit. We’ve tried to make it easy for existing mod creators by providing a porting mechanism for old Ark mods though you’ll still need to make some adjustments given the fact that it’s a new engine and there have been some changes.

The DevKit provides mod creators the capability to use the full power of Unreal Engine 5, including Blueprint, to create essentially anything, any kind of new content or gameplay, within Ark. We’ll be sharing tips and tricks for how you can create your own Ark: Survival Ascended mods, but for now we recommend checking out the tutorials and guides made by Unreal Engine 5 developers worldwide as they will be applicable for Ark: Survival Ascended!

The old game had around 30,000 mods available, and we’re pretty confident that this will grow with Ark: Survival Ascended, given its cross-platform nature, consoles having access to the mods and creators being empowered by the new revolutionary Unreal Engine 5 technology.

There’s a lot for players, creators, and frankly, ourselves to be excited about regarding this feature. We hope to see many new mods, game modes, and original content from existing IP holders come to the platform and be accessible to everyone. We will continually be expanding the Ark DevKit’s capabilities, providing more features and tools to help you create the best mods and games you can.

We’ve got a lot more to say about this, so stay tuned for a future article from our team and partners covering more details about modding and what’s to come!

With more gameplay changes, upcoming creatures, DLC, and more—ASA is set to be one massive upgrade to the original Ark. And that’s not including Studio Wildcard’s upcoming ‘Ark 2’ title as well as the ‘Ark: The Animated Series’ TV show. Check out the video and gallery below for more details on Ark: Survival Ascended. ASA will be hitting Xbox Series consoles when it’s ready.


It looked really good. I’ll give it a shot. Probably still not my type of game, but hey if it’s in Gamepass why not at least try it.

At my last job two of my coworkers were obsessed with ark. Basically the only game they ever talked about :laughing:

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Is this in GP?

I know the original is as well as the upcoming sequel but is this too?

Yes and supposedly for 3 years


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No survival ascended is unfortunately not going to be on gamepass (blame the publisher). It was originally supposed to be free to all owners of survival evolved but that got changed and doesn’t look like it was included in the gamepass deal they have for SE and Ark2

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Really that sucks