In a rather curious move, Chinese game developer Snail Games has announced that they’ve licensed the IP for the popular PC game Ark: Survival Evolved and are using it to create Ark Park, a dinosaur theme park VR experience.

Ark: Survival Evolved is a multiplayer action-exploration game that’s all about taming dinosaurs and building increasingly advanced technology to thwart your opponents—which sounds almost nothing like Ark Park, a title which is aiming for a focus on education and “the opportunity to truly appreciate and understand dinosaurs in their natural habitat.”

ark-park-vr-5It’s unclear exactly what IP Snail Games has licensed; as Ark: Survival Evolved certainly doesn’t have a claim on non-fiction dinosaurs, it may be the 3D assets and engine tools the company has built which will be repurposed for Ark Park.

Snail Games has not published any VR content before, though it is known for mobile and online games like Taichi Panda and Age of Wushu.

Ark: Survival Evolved is still in Early Access, and while it technically has Oculus Rift support via SteamVR, it is hardly designed around VR specifically. With this partnership, Studio Wildcard can continue developing Ark: Survival Evolved, while providing a different type of Ark experience from Snail Games, but this time made from the ground up for VR.

ark-park-vr-3With Ark Park, Snail Games intends to provide a large theme park experience where “players will participate in a multiplayer tour, so they can share the visceral gameplay and the thrill of witnessing dinosaurs up-close and personal”, according to their announcement of the game. The vision sounds rather ambitious: “We wanted to achieve a level of visual authenticity and player interactivity that will set a benchmark in the VR industry”, said Shi Hai, CEO of Snail Games.

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While they haven’t shown any videos or explained exactly how the game might play, they have confirmed that players “can watch, learn about, and interact with more than a hundred Jurassic-period creatures and dinosaurs while they explore the park”. Since Snail Games has historically specialized in RPG/MMO games, it seems likely they’ll want to make the world and multiplayer as seamless as possible, so that it feels like you’re just visiting a real life dinosaur zoo with your friends and other people. Fingers crossed that it ends up  more like Jurassic Park than a cheesy mechanical dinosaur park.

Adding to the idea of a seamless multiplayer world, the company said via their Facebook page that Ark Park will have a “comprehensive weather system and a day/night cycle.” Their early art also hints towards being able to use maglevs and jeeps to traverse the park, in addition to walking on foot.

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  • Can we get a full retail release of game Ark: Survival Evolved first? I cant believe they can release paid dlc then a battle arena and now a new spinoff app. FINISH THE GAME!

    • Rick

      To be fair, they got sued and lost. Hence the paid DLC. The battle arena started off as a mod and because of popularity they got permission and put it in the game. (Same with the ‘Center’ map). And finally; they are only making money off this? No dev time was mentioned from the original team, they are mearly giving them a license to use assets etc.

      • To be fair why make a paid DLC when you can finish the game and get paid? Why start development on a mod when the full game has yet to be finished?

        • Rick

          They didn’t develop any mod? They put in mods that other have created. The scope of this game is so much greater than when it began, It already has 95% of the features promised and then 50% more they never said they would do. They’re not devoloping this VR game, they sold the rights to use their assets for it to another company.

          • RoJoyInc

            MORE FUNDING!

        • RoJoyInc

          FUNDING!

          • Yeah that makes sense… add more development time creating the DLC to pay for the previous development time. Anyway the point is moot since the core game is releasing this week.

  • Mane Vr

    as long as they keep Vr mode in Ark:SE I am cool with this if they drop it to give us this bull$#!t then hell no

    • Brad

      I would imagine that the optimization that snail games will have to do to get this to run and work well in VR will made it back to Ark and improve it’s (lest behonest) terrible VR support.

      • Rick

        Keep in mind though that while this might run well in VR when completed, the optimizations might not transfer as much as you think because this will most likely be “kinda” on rails, much like theme parks.(Think smaller area’s with more linear maps/attractions) While Ark:SE is completely open world. Just my thoughts, no idea for sure. Besides that I’m really hopping this is the Jurassic park of VR haha!

      • Mane Vr

        yes it’s current state of vr is terrible but it’s one of the few games that uses free motion locomotion and that I can play with my sister as well as gf who both will never own a hmd

  • Brad

    “It may be the 3D assets and engine tools the company has built which will be repurposed for Ark Park”

    I can confirm that the dinos pictured in the article are most definitely ARK assets.

  • Octogod

    I’m cool with this. More dinos the better.