Ark 2 is coming: here's everything we know about it

by John Stapel

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Ark 2 - Vin Diesel riding a dinosaur
(Image credit: Studio Wildcard)

Ark 2 has been more of a mythical yeti than a well-researched dinosaur fossil since its announcement. We know it's got a whole bunch of Vin Diesel (in some capacity), and definitely still features dinos. But that's just about all we know, and it's been a long wait for more information.

One of the least-expected reveals of The Game Awards 2020, Studio Wildcard debuted Ark 2 with a lengthy cinematic starring Vin Diesel's character beating up dinos and looking generally ripped, if a little CGI plasticky.

But, wait, isn't Ark a multiplayer survival game? What's with these voiced characters and stories? It seems like Studio Wildcard has bigger ambitions for the Ark franchise, including an animated show starring Diesel, Russel Crowe, Elliot Page, Karl Urban, and more.

Here's what we know about the actual game so far.

When does Ark 2 release?

Sometime in 2023. While Ark 2 was initially set to release in 2022, an appearance at the Xbox Bethesda Showcase in 2022 seemed to indicate the game's instead been delayed to 2023. A sizable hiring announcement from Studio Wildcard earlier in 2022 was received by some as a sign that Ark 2's development cycle was extending longer than expected. That seems to have held true.

According to Microsoft (opens in new tab) , Ark 2 is a console launch exclusive on Xbox, which likely means Xbox and PC at launch, and PS5 sometime down the road. While the first Ark spent two years in Early Access, a big star like Vin Diesel being attached to the game might mean Early Access won't be in the cards this time around.

What trailers for Ark 2 are there?

Here's the latest Ark 2 trailer from June 2022

This cinematic trailer from the 2022 Xbox Bethesda showcase gives us a taste of the backstory for the world of Vin Diesel, dino-wrangler. Evidently, humanity has undergone some kind of apocalyptic conflict. This war took place so long ago in Ark 2's past that it's remembered as a battle between the gods—gods who apparently tried to transplant humanity to another planet as a last resort. And, it seems, they shipped some dinosaurs along for good measure.

Watch the Ark 2 reveal cinematic (opens in new tab)

Ark 2 Vin Diesel

(Image credit: Studio Wildcard)

Out of nowhere Studio Wildcard dropped a 4-minute cinematic reveal trailer for Ark 2 back in 2020. A follow-up to Survival Evolved, a game known for its big expansions, is surprising enough, but even crazier is that Ark 2 will star Vin Diesel.

Studio Wildcard later said on Twitter that the trailer was made completely in-engine with real game assets. It's hard to believe the final game will look quite this good when it releases, but it's nonetheless impressive.

What do we know about story and gameplay in Ark 2?

Not a lot so far, but we do have a few details.

Vin Diesel's character is named Santiago

As we see in the cinematic, Vin Diesel's character Santiago appears to be wading through dino-infested forest alongside who might be his wife and daughter. According to his bio from the animated series trailer, Santiago is a "24th-century ‘Mek’-pilot, gearhead, freedom-fighter." He's also got a little tribe in tow, who run into a bit of trouble when a band of creepy blue guys jumps them.

Vin Diesel holds them off until a t-rex decides to stomp in and ruin the party.

Will Ark 2 have a playable story?

✅next gen graphics✅next gen online multiplayer sandbox✅next gen logo✅next gen hype pic.twitter.com/MfT5aTYu5ODecember 11, 2020

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While the cinematic trailer certainly gives you the idea that Ark 2 will be about Vin Diesel's best efforts to not get eaten by dinosaurs, the official Ark Twitter account clarified that Ark 2 is indeed an online multiplayer sandbox.

At least, that's what its willing to share at the moment. Maybe Vin Diesel's Santiago will be featured prominently in the lore, or maybe he'll be a vendor? For a game that's always been about the social interactions between actual players, throwing living, breathing fictional characters into the mix does raise questions.

What other things do we know about Ark 2?

What else do we know about Ark 2?

Ark show - two characters fight in front of a waterfall

(Image credit: Studio Wildcard)

If that wasn't enough excitement, Ark is also getting its own show simply called Ark: The Animated Series. Here's the official synopsis from the trailer:

"Ark: The Animated Series chronicles the story of a mysterious primeval land populated by dinosaurs and other extinct creatures, where people from throughout human history have been resurrected. When 21st century Australian paleontologist Helena Walker awakes on the ARK after tragedy, she must learn to survive and find new allies, or die again at the hands of ruthless warlords -- all while trying to uncover the true nature of their strange new world."

Sounds neat! Even cooler is the stacked talent that's on board for the show, including Vin Diesel (of course), Russel Crowe, Elliot Page, Gerard Butler, David Tenant, Karl Urban, Alan Tudyk, and Malcolm McDowell. Here's a complete list actors and characters they're playing:

  • Gerard Butler plays General Gaius Marcellus Nerva, a brutal ancient Roman despot.
  • Devery Jacobs plays Alasie, a peppy 17th century Inuit teenager, now finding her place on the ARK.
  • Cissy Jones plays The Gladiatrix, a formidable commander in Nerva's army.
  • Madeleine Madden plays 21st century Australian paleontologist Helena Walker, newly awoken on the ARK.
  • Deborah Mailman plays Deborah Walker, a 21st century Aboriginal Australian activist, and mother to Helena Walker.
  • Zahn McClarnon plays Thunder Comes Charging, a 19th century Lakota warrior who leads a thriving community on the ARK.
  • Malcolm McDowell plays Senator Lucius Cassius Virilis, a manipulative aristocrat during the reign of Caesar Augustus.
  • Juliet Mills plays Chava, a wise healer and village councilmember.
  • Elliot Page plays Victoria Walker, an idealistic humanitarian aid worker, and wife of Helena Walker.
  • Ragga Ragnars plays Queen Sigrid, a bellicose 10th century Viking warlord.
  • David Tennant plays Sir Edmund Rockwell, an egocentric 19th century scientist harboring dark ambitions.
  • Alan Tudyk plays The Captain, a crusty buccaneer who profitably sails the dangerous waters around the ARK.
  • Karl Urban plays Bob, a recent square-jawed ARK arrival.
  • Jeffrey Wright plays Henry Townsend, an 18th century American watchmaker and Patriot spy.
  • Michelle Yeoh plays Meiyin Li, a 3rd century Chinese rebel leader, known on the ARK by her reputation as the formidable “Beast Queen.”
  • Ron Yuan plays Han Li, a 3rd century Chinese rebel leader and brother to Meiyin.
  • With Russell Crowe playing Kor the Prophet, an eccentric ‘dino-whisperer’ hailing from a time before recorded history.
  • And Vin Diesel playing 24th century ‘Mek’-pilot, gearhead, freedom-fighter Santiago.
Morgan Park

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.