Snail Games Reveals the Future of the ARK Franchise at GDC
Last Thursday, publisher and developer Snail Games hosted game industry thought leaders, media outlets, and VIPs at Jillian’s San Francisco to celebrate the global launch of ARK Park on SteamVR, PSVR, Oculus Rift, Viveport, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. With more than 80 guests in attendance, the event put the spotlight on the future of the popular ARK franchise with its first VR release, ARK Park. Highlights from the event included a live demo of PixARK and a heartfelt video featuring Snail Games vice president Tianqi “Sky” Wu and a loving family’s struggle with autism.
Check out the “Dreams Come True” video of ARK Park, featuring the story of a loving family’s struggle with autism:
While ARK Park was in development, the team in charge received a very special request: A father from Eastbourne, UK – Craig Proctor – asked for a pre-release copy of the game to share with his autistic son, Jason (who happens to adore dinosaurs). Craig believed that being able to walk among those majestic creatures would lift Jason’s spirits and give him a whole new perspective on life. Snail Games was happy to oblige … and the result is captured in “ARK Park Makes Dreams Come True”
“We take VR very seriously. What we have here is technology that can truly change the world,” says Tianqi “Sky” Wu, vice president at Snail Games. “It was my great pleasure to be able to make the trip to England – bringing with me a VR headset and a copy of ARK Park to show our newest and possibly youngest fan at eight years old. The love and affection I witnessed left a lasting impression on me – and seeing Jason play the game we worked so hard on filled my heart with joy.”
The video was the centerpiece in a very busy afternoon at perennial GDC hangout Jillian’s San Francisco, which has just emerged from a stunning renovation. Snail Games director Peter Kang kicked things off with an in-depth presentation on ARK Park – and he also discussed upcoming downloadable content and feature updates currently in development. Peter was followed by Studio Wildcard co-founders Jeremy Stieglitz and Jesse Rapczak – who announced that ARK: Survival Evolved has sold over 13 million copies and then proceeded to give the audience a live demo of the ARK franchise’s newest installment, PixARK, where “Death by Velociraptor” was just around the corner.
Jeremy and Jesse also made the “Dino Export” feature public for the first time, which allows ARK: Survival Evolved owners to export their dinosaurs to ARK Park. The appearance, color, and age of each dinosaur are all seamlessly synced – allowing players to “meet” their loyal companions and check their stats face-to-face in virtual reality. More than 10 types of dinosaurs are currently supported on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive; support for PSVR is coming soon – with more “exportable” dino types in the works as well.
Snail Games vice president Tianqi “Sky” Wu was next – showcasing the video of his trip to England. He was followed by art director Guohan Tan, who further explored the magical world of ARK Park through his unique take on the franchise. Peter Kang was back for closing comments.
“ARK Park – like the baby dinos in the game – is in its infancy. VR fans are now getting their first taste of this massive new addition to the ARK franchise,” says Peter Kang, director at Snail Games. “If you want more content in ARK Park, I can tell you one thing: It’s coming. This is an incredibly exciting time for us, and we can’t wait to show gamers what the future holds for them.”
About ARK Park
Based on Studio Wildcard’s best-selling ARK: Survival Evolved, ARK Park allows VR users – and their friends – to interact with more than 100 dinosaurs rendered in stunning detail across 6 massive environments. In ARK Park, your headset of choice allows you to experience a series of mind-blowing VR-driven theme-park attractions built on top of a variety of biomes – each with distinct weather patterns, vegetation, and terrain. Designed from the ground up as a realistic dinosaur theme park simulation, the game allows you to freely traverse the grounds without any restrictions whatsoever. There’s no set plot or schedule to follow: Choose how and where to go next at all times – surveying the prehistoric park at your own pace. You can even join your friends in multiplayer “park tours” to share the thrill of getting up close and personal with living, breathing dinosaurs!”