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Saturday, 17 March 2018 | MYT 1:00 PM

Ark: Survival Evolved starts iOS test

Ready to capitalise on renewed interest in prehistoric themes that accompanies the 2018 release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, video game Ark: Survival Evolved is expanding onto iOS and Android.

Following in the footsteps of Fortnite: Battle Royale, which is bringing a carbon copy feature set over from its computer and console iteration to iOS and Android, Ark: Survival Evolved is to start testing mobile versions of its dino-taming, shelter building concept.

And, like the Chinese mobile editions of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Ark: Survival Evolved on iOS and Android will forgo the up-front payment of its predecessor in favour of a free-to-play model.

Studio Wildcard has chosen War Drum Studios, the company that handled mobile versions of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and Bully, to bring Ark: Survival Evolved to pocket formats.

That's encouraging, given that Ark: Survival Evolved developed a reputation for needing high-powered set-ups to get the most out of it on PC.

Despite the challenge, Ark: Survival Evolved will feature "the full online survival experience contained in the PC and console versions," Wildcard notes, "including a gigantic island to explore, 80+ dinosaurs and primeval creatures to tame and train, multiplayer tribe mechanics, and of course, crafting and building."

Both single- and multiplayer modes would be available.

One of Wildcard's community managers provided further detail to forum users. ARK on mobile is to feature "faster paced gameplay, a unique user interface and a specialised control setup developed specifically for the mobile game," they wrote.

"The mobile version also offers optional upgrades survivors can acquire using special in-game resources that will allow players to progress faster, obtain certain buffs for periods of time, build special crafting structures, and even bring your beloved tames back from the dead."

Those additional options provide some indication of where Wildcard and War Drum can add monetisation mechanics for the free-to-play prospect.

Ark: Survival Evolved launched in June 2015 and built on interest in a growing survival genre that had been established by DayZ, H1Z1, and Rust.

War Drum Studios launched its iOS closed beta for forum members on March 15, concurrent with the mobile edition's announcement, inviting fresh rounds of interested ARK survivors to visit in order to sign up for a chance to participate in the mobile beta as it develops.

A full launch is being targeted for sometime between March and May 2018. — AFP Relaxnews