Studio Wildcard is harnessing the creative power of its player community to expand Ark: Survival Evolved.
The developer has implemented two fan-created mods, including recent map expansion The Center, in the open-world survival game, with a third, alternative gameplay ruleset Primitive+, planned for addition this July.
Speaking to Kotaku, lead designer Jeremy Stieglitz said that players behind the most popular mods are free to turn down the offer to contribute to the core game, but that Studio Wildcard was working to compensate creators in a number of ways.
“There’s no Ark mod EULA that gives us any inherent rights to use their work,” he explained. “It’s entirely up to these authors whatever they want to do when we contact them.
“But, of course, for a mod author this program becomes a chance to have their work featured in front of a huge audience (six million strong), as well as be paid for it, and continue to develop it for that eager audience.”
Stieglitz added that Studio Wildcard is offering “a considerable amount of money” for the best mods, with the makers of The Center and Primitive+ receiving sums equivalent to “multiple months’ salary for a creative”. That’s not all – in both of these cases, the modders were also hired by the developer.
While not every fan-made mod will result in recruitment, Stieglitz did reveal that Studio Wildcard would continue to invest in the hard work of its most passionate players to expand Ark’s scope.
“Going forward, we intend to continue to regularly select what we consider to be the most and most polished mods from among the many thousands available on Steam Workshop – often identified through open-entry cash-prize mod contests, such as the one we’re currently running, which we use to gauge community enthusiasm,” he said.
“Then, when we determine what we think are the standout exemplars, we’ll make more offers.”