Update 3/21/18: ARK: Survival Evolved is officially coming to the Nintendo Switch! It’s coming out in the fall of 2018, just like spin-off PixArk. Check out the announcement on the official ARK website here.
Update 1/25/18: A voxel-based ARK: Survival Evolved spin-off game called PixArk, which is basically a fusion of ARK and Minecraft, was announced today for all platforms, including the Nintendo Switch. It’s launching first on Steam’s Early Access program in March, and will launch on all of the other platforms sometime in the fall of 2018. Check it out here.
ARK: Survival Evolved and I have an unhealthy relationship. I’ve poured close to five hundred hours into the game, spent days upon end building and crafting and taming, only to have it all suddenly ripped away from me in a matter of just a few seconds. And this hasn’t happened just once or twice, but something like a dozen times, maybe even more. You’d think after this many defeats and that many hours that I’d be close to completing the game’s progression (which, for those who don’t know, involves retrieving artifacts from caves and using them to summon and defeat the four bosses scattered across the island), and yet I only just beat my first boss after more than a year. All of these things should make me despise the game, but I still find myself coming back, and I want to do it all over again on the Nintendo Switch.
Anyone who’s ever played ARK can feel my pain, because losing everything, starting over, and having your ass handed to you (which, I’m sorry to say, is the only possible way to describe this experience) is all part of the game. Never before have I played a survival game that’s taken the “survival” part as seriously as ARK, and yet it’s not the only game infamous for its frustrating difficulty; case-in-point, Dark Souls.
To be clear, I’ve never played any of the Dark Souls games, but the recent announcement of a port for the Nintendo Switch has prompted my interest in the series, and with it a barrage of stories from friends and readers about the game’s unforgiving brutality. The stories remind me of my experiences in ARK, and has me craving more games that might tempt me to throw my Switch across the room.
Luckily, co-founder of Studio Wildcard and co-creative director of ARK: Survival Evolved Jesse Rapczak gave us hope for a Switch version of the game in an interview with GI.biz. While stating that it’s too early to really say, and to not get our hopes up just yet, Rapczak said that, “Ark is one of those games where if you want to do everything you can in the game, it’s hard to pull away from it to go do real life. So I think Switch is a great platform for a game like Ark, because if the game is designed right, you can kind of pull out and do some stuff.”
ARK is just as infamous for its poor optimization as it is for its savage wilderness, so I remain skeptical about ARK ever coming to the Nintendo Switch, let alone running even remotely well. But even if the game might never make it to Nintendo’s hybrid console, there is still hope that a streaming app called Rainway—which launched in beta today on the PC—and its lofty goal of heralding a device ambiguous era, will allow us to stream the game on the Nintendo Switch. Regardless, I can’t help but dream that the stars will align and bring us an epic and versatile version of ARK on the Nintendo Switch.
I can picture it now…
I’m on my lunch break stuffing a sandwich in my mouth while riding my pteranodon to a nearby mountain to collect some metal in ARK on the Switch. The trip is supposed to be quick, something I can do while I’m at work so that I can traverse the caves when I get home. Miles away from my base, I start chipping away at a metal node only to hear one earth-shaking slam of a foot, followed by a red message displayed across the top of the screen, “Your Sweet Boy – lvl 50 (Pteranodon) was killed by a Giganotosaurus – lvl 4!”
My heart beats in my throat. I drop my pickaxe and take off running. Where to, I don’t know, I just know that I have to get out of there. I can hear the heavy, earthquaking footsteps coming after me from behind, but I don’t dare look back because I know that I don’t stand a chance.
After a few short moments that feel much longer than they actually are, I run out of stamina, and get clobbered in one bite.
Ah, the joys of surviving the ARK.
Here’s hoping that this scenario can one day become a reality. In the meantime, if you’re intrigued about the ways in which you, too, can die horribly, ARK: Survival Evolved is available on Steam, PS4, and Xbox One.