'Giving dinosaurs feathers is stressful,' says Ark: Survival Evolved studio

Studio Wildcard discusses the difficulties of creating scientifically accurate dinos
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Scientists propose that dinosaurs likely had feathers – but Studio Wildcard says it will continue to focus on scaly lizards because feathers are ‘really hard to do’.

In its dinosaur adventure game, Ark: Survival Evolved, players hunt and tame dinosaurs. But despite recent scientific discoveries, and countless messages from hardcore dino-fans, the team does not intend to change how they look.

“We made the conscious decision to not make all of our dinosaurs actual species,” explained co-founder and creative director Jesse Rapczak. 

“We’ve noticed that a lot of people are quick to point out: ‘Hey, dinosaurs have feathers now. The big lizard thing is not scientifically accurate any more’. It’s actually kind of stressful because people are really passionate about dinosaurs.”

“So we don’t have a Tyrannosaurus Rex; we have another sub-species that we made up for the game – that’s our creative licence, right? We’re not trying to appeal to the overly scientific crowd. We try not to take it too seriously.”

It’s a similar criticism to the one hurled at summer blockbuster Jurassic World. However, while the Silver Screen smash hit insisted on holding true to how people expect dinosaurs to look, Studio Wildcard at least tried to compromise.

“We tried to put some feathers on some dinosaurs,” Rapczak told MCV@Gamescom. “Our velociraptors have a few feather-like things on them.

“The thing is, it’s really hard to do good feathers in a game. So we limit the feathers a little bit, because it makes it easier for us.”

Ark: Survival Evolved, already a hit on Steam Early Access, will make its console debut later this year via Xbox One’s Game Preview system.

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