Ark: Survival Evolved’s Scorched Earth expansion hasn’t got off to the best of starts.
Described as the “single biggest update in our 14 month development cycle” for the survival game by developer Studio Wildcard, the $19.99 add-on includes a new map, weapons and animals, among other major gameplay additions.
Although Steam reviews for the expansion itself have been positive, other members of Ark’s playerbase have taken to the main game’s store page to register their unhappiness that Wildcard is charging for extra content for an Early Access release and working on side material while the base game remains seemingly unfinished.
In fact, so many players have complained that the game’s former ‘Mostly Positive’ rating has been downgraded to ‘Mostly Negative’ in recent reviews.
“Started off as shining example of how to do early access,” wrote user Fastidious. “Ended up a complete disaster after the developer went off on adventures of making SOTF, console versions and paid expansion while still in early access! No wonder the game is so behind schedule.”
“Wow way to release paid DLC before getting the game out of Early Access,” echoed Synthetic. “Seriously what is going through your heads? How's DirectX 12 and the TrueSky fix coming that have been sitting on your to do list since the game came out on Early Access?”
Zivan34 summarised the general sentiment: “Paid DLC for early access game is just stupid.”
The backlash prompted one member of Studio Wildcard’s QA team to respond to complaints on the Ark forums in a post that was later deleted, calling critics out for what he believed to be unfair accusations.
“Should have uploaded it for free, really?” wrote Rob. “We made essentially an entire new game to compliment [sic] the existing one, do we not deserve to be paid?”
He then accused one vocal detractor of being “too cheap to pony up 20 dollars for a game worth 60 which we undercharged for in the first place”.
“If you don’t want to pay, that’s fine, we are not holding a gun to your head,” he added.
Rob later posted an apology to Reddit, admitting that he “took it personally and felt like my own efforts were completely unappreciated and undervalued”.
“This hurt me and in turn my frustrations got the better of me,” he continued. “I answered someone bluntly and rather rudely, because I am human, I make mistakes, and I am truly am sorry for my actions and any offense caused.
“In the future, I will make sure that I am always treating everyone with the respect that they deserve and will handle myself more professionally, especially when it is a player being passionate about the game and wanting to express themselves. I just want to do my job and make sure that the game is in a good state.”