Ark: Survival Evolved was announced back in June 2015, and in August 2017 it finally went on sale across PC and consoles. It showcases an open world game complete with a robust collection of dinosaurs on PC, Mac, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the graphics are extremely impressive and the gameplay is phenomenal.

Here's all we know about Ark: Survival Evolved including Nintendo Switch support, gameplay information and the best mods available right now. 

Ark: Survival Evolved release date and platforms

Nintendo Switch release date: Autumn 2018

Originally, Ark: Survival Evolved was due for full release on PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but developers Studio Wildcard saw the potential for Nintendo's hybrid console and, at GDC 2018, announced that the hugely popular game would be coming to the Nintendo Switch at some point in autumn 2018.

The Switch’s handheld mode provides a fantastic new capability for survivors who want to fully immerse themselves in the vast worlds of ARK,” said Studio Wildcard’s Jeremy Stieglitz. “With this new version, Switch players can go directly from hunting and taming while sitting on the couch, to forming online tribes and searching out new conquests when on the bus, waiting in line, or wherever they happen to be.”

Not many other details were shared, and we were only treated to a glimpse of gameplay, but we expect to hear and see more from the port in the coming months. 

The game is now available for PS4 (£49.99) and Xbox One (£49.99) alongside PC (£49.99). 

Read next: PS4 vs Xbox One

What is Ark: Survival Evolved?

So, what is Ark: Survival Evolved? It reminds us of a cross between Jurassic Park and Minecraft, where you start off with no clothes or weapons and you have to craft items, grow crops, research technologies and build shelters to protect yourself from the elements. It sounds simple but it’s not, thanks to other online players in the same situation as you, and, of course, wild dinosaurs roaming around.

The environment itself is vast, with many environments from swamps filled with Titanoboas and huge crocodiles, to snowy mountains and vast forests full of Velociraptors. It’s not just above ground either, as there are many caverns to explore and even underwater caves (if you can survive the marine life). By exploring the environment, you’ll develop your in-game ARK map, as well as being able to add custom points of interest. You’ll come across random creatures, as well as Explorer Notes that have been left behind by past explorers.

Some dinosaurs can be tamed though, and you should experiment with different kinds of plants and meat as they all have varying effects on different dinosaurs. Or, if that’s a bit tame for you, you can always weaken it, knock it unconscious and then nurture it until it’s healthy again. The options are there; you just have to find the style that’s right for you. You can fly a Pterodactyl, race through forests on the back of a Raptor or even destroy an enemy base on the back of a Gigantosaurus.

You have to keep on top of your food and water levels, as without it you’ll die. Different foods will have different effects on you just as it varies with dinosaurs, and all physical actions come at a cost of food and water – even walking around. The changing weather pattern will also have an effect on your water and health levels, as hotter weather will decrease your water levels faster as you become dehydrated in the sun.

As we mentioned earlier, it’s an online game and is essentially PvP (Player vs Player). You can choose to work with other players in your world, or go to war with them. If you decide to work together, groups of players can form tribes, allowing anyone in your tribe to command or ally your pets. Also, don’t worry about dying, as your tribe will be able to respawn at any of your home spawn points (as long as there’s a bed).  With regards to communication, you can chat with players via proximity text and voice chat, or long-distance radio once you’ve crafted them.

Best Ark: Survival Evolved Mods

One of the best features of Ark: Survival Evolved is the ability to use community-generated mods – although you’ll have to install them on a private server in order to do so.

With mods you can change just about any aspect of the game from the amount of time it takes to tame a dino to the map itself – we’ve even seen a couple that change the premise of the game completely and remove dinosaurs from the world. There is a wide variety of mods available for Ark: Survival Evolved, and here’s a handful of our favourites:

Best Ark mods: Advanced Architecture

Advanced Architecture is a great mod for those that have completed the game and are looking for a new challenge. Described as end game content by the creator, the Advanced Architecture mod provides gamers with a vast array of new building tools capable of building mountainous castles complete with a moat, a throne and huge stained glass windows. In fact, the mod provides users with over 100 new structures via a new engram, the Royal Engineer’s Workstation.

Steam Workshop

Best Ark mods: The Center

If you’re getting a little tired of the default Ark map then The Center is a great choice. The mod replaces the default map with a custom-built, handmade map that’s not only bigger than the standard map but looks absolutely beautiful. It features an ‘edge of the world’ with huge waterfalls, a floating island above the main island and a “vast underground world with its own ecosystem/sun large enough to build huge cities in” according to the developer.

It’s one of, if not the best custom Ark map we’ve seen since the game was announced last year and we’re excited to see how the mod develops in future.

Steam Workshop

Best Ark mods: Ark Pirate World

As briefly mentioned in the introduction, the Ark Pirate World mod is a conversion mod which changes the fundamental elements of Ark into something different. In this case, the mod turns the dinosaur-ridden landscape into a bustling land for pirates with a heavy focus on commerce. As a pirate, you’ll sail Ark’s sea and trade rare resources with other pirates (NPC and online) as well as being able to grow your own tobacco or even distil your own rum and wine. Being a pirate mod, it wouldn’t be complete without a treasure hunt and throughout the map are 30 chests with treasure maps and goodies.

You can also pimp out your boat with canons and rifles, recruit a crew and go pillaging because let’s be honest, that’s the best part of being a pirate right?

Steam Workshop

Best Ark mods: Giant Megalodons

Even though the sea of Ark: Survival Evolved is brimming with potentially dangerous wildlife, some claim that it’s tame compared to dry land. Well if you’re one of those (crazy) people, we present the Giant Megalodons mod which, essentially, does what it says on the tin – releases giant megalodons into the depths of the ocean. It makes underwater exploration a lot scarier and for a nice extra touch, the Jaws theme tune will play when one is approaching!

Steam Workshop

Ark: Survival Evolved trailer

Here’s the official Ark: Survival Evolved announcement trailer, and you’ll have to agree with us that it looks amazing:

Ark: Survival Evolved E3 2016 trailer

Ark: Survival Evolved screenshots

Here are some screenshots of the upcoming game: