Following the release of PixARK in Xbox Game Preview, a game that offers a vast, wild world filled with vicious dinosaurs, magical creatures and endless adventure, we’ve had the opportunity to throw over a few questions to Snail Games’ community manager, Gabriel Hyde.
Xt: For our readers, can you please explain what PixARK is all about?
GH: PixARK is an extension of the ARK: Survival Evolved Universe, so it follows along with the story line Studio Wildcard has created. Players have been placed on different ARKs in space with no resources or civilization around them. The only goal that players have in ARK: Survival Evolved is to survive. In PixARK, the core story follows this same lore. Players come down into a new world with nothing but the clothes on their back, and must find a way to survive in the new harsh environment that they are now finding themselves in. However, the land and creatures of this ARK are made entirely out of blocks!
Xt: Obviously, ARK: Survival Evolved is very adult-focused. PixARK, however, is quite the opposite. It’s a game that’s open to just about anyone. Was this always the core plan?
GH: As you pointed out, ARK: Survival Evolved is an experience with some very mature themes and punishing mechanics. While the ARK: Survival Evolved community has embraced and love these features, there are different communities of gamers who are excluded because of how intimidating or mature it is. Our idea with PixARK is to bring the ARK IP to as many people as possible, so everyone can experience how amazing it really is.
Xt: How challenging was it to replicate ARK: Survival Evolved’s basic foundation, whilst ensuring that it was easy to digest for the younger and wider audience?
GH: Taking the mechanics of a beloved game such as ARK: Survival Evolved and adjusting them for a younger and wider audience was no easy task. As stated before, our idea for PixARK is to let as many people as possible experience the heart and soul of ARK: Survival Evolved in a friendlier package.
Making sure the mechanics and overall game experience captured the magic that ARK: Survival Evolved brings was a challenge, but we feel we were able to do it. The core game mechanics are all still there, the harsh environment is still going to do everything it can to stop you from progressing, and surviving is still going to be a player’s number one priority. However, the mechanics have been altered slightly to be a bit less punishing for our new audience.
Xt: Do you anticipate on following the same sort of DLC content plans as ARK: Survival Evolved?
GH: PixARK is a separate game from ARK: Survival Evolved and will have its own schedule and plan for future content.
Xt: The voxel-based fantasy-like gameplay is what stands out, for me at least, as PixARK’s most distinct feature when comparing the two. Has this design choice opened up new gameplay opportunities?
GH: Stepping into a voxel environment is always exciting and opens up a lot of new gameplay opportunities. The first feature is the ability to let players have a direct and visible impact on the world around them. Voxel lets players literally, dig their way out of bad situations, which is a fun new twist that we wanted to explore. Also, since there is now another axis of the world that players get to affect, we wanted to make sure they had all of the tools that one would need to explore properly.
The fantasy elements are something we feel we can now introduce since we have created a new ARK. This isn’t the Island or Scorched Earth, which already has specific expectations, this is PixARK. With this new ARK, we’re able to introduce new gameplay mechanics that we think will work in this new environment and give players new experiences that they wouldn’t get in ARK: Survival Evolved.
Xt: PixARK offers an impressive amount of content and depth. What’s been the most challenging aspect of the game from a development standpoint?
GH: As mentioned before, the most challenging part of developing PixARK was making sure that we kept the heart and soul of the ARK: Survival Evolved IP. There are a lot of features and mechanics that we’ve included in PixARK which come from ARK: Survival Evolved. And even though we were changing them slightly and creating a new ARK, we wanted to make sure that they give the same joys of survival and curiosity to explore that ARK: Survival Evolved gives to its fans. ARK: Survival Evolved is a game that we love, which is why we’ve partnered with Studio Wildcard in the first place; because of this we wanted to make sure we did this right.
Xt: ARK: Survival Evolved spent quite some time in Xbox Game Preview. Do you suspect PixARK will take as long before it’s released into the wild?
GH: When PixARK was released into Early Access on March 27, 2018, it was around 80% completed. The reason that we went into Early Access was to make sure that we got the amazing feedback from the community, while giving them a polished experience for a game preview. Our plan is to stay in Early Access for less than one year, and players should expect to see a full release of PixARK by the end of 2018.
Xt: What’s been your biggest takeaway from the game, as far as fan feedback is concerned?
GH: That players want to be able to experience PixARK in a way that is most fun for them. Whether it’s on a 24/7 PvP server, a private server with a small group of friends, or in single player, there needs to be all of the options for each person. Since this feedback, we’ve opened up different server types, worked on balance, and are continuing to take feedback so that everyone can enjoy PixARK the way that they want.
Xt: How has the reception been so far for PixARK?
GH: PixARK has been taken in by the community, and it’s clear that we have a very passionate fan base. The amount of feedback that we’ve gotten in this short amount of time really is great, and we’ve been able to make a lot of changes thanks to the community. We’re continuing to work on and review all of the feedback we get so that we can adjust PixARK the way that our community wants.
Xt: Finally, do you have anything you would like to share with our followers?
GH: As mentioned a bit above, we want to thank everyone for being so supportive during our period of Early Access. We’re going to continue to do our very best in patching currently content, adding new content, and taking in as much feedback as we possibly can. We can’t wait for the future of PixARk and are very excited to show everyone what we have planned.
Thank you ever so much for your time here Gabriel, we appreciate that a heap and wish you the very best for full launch later this year. Readers, if you’re interested in what’s on offer, and I highly recommend giving it some thought, check out the game right here via the Microsoft Store.