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Steam Early Access title 'ARK: Survival Evolved' sees backlash over paid DLC

Studio Wildcard has issued an official response to complaints targeting the recent DLC rollout for its Steam Early Access game ARK: Survival Evolved, noting that an early expansion launch ensures “minimal integration issues with subsequent releases.”

ARK: Survival Evolved remains a subject of controversy in the PC gaming world, as the recent ARK: Scorched Earth Expansion Pack launched before the base game wrapped up development. ARK: Survival Evolved is still branded as a Steam Early Access title, and many veteran players expressed disappointment that Studio Wildcard had apparently shifted its development efforts toward paid expansions before finishing existing content.

Players worry that the premature release of paid downloadable content sets a dangerous precedent for still-in-development Early Access games. Currently, the ARK: Scorched Earth Expansion Pack is more expensive than the ARK: Survival Evolved base game on Steam, leading to a recent outpouring of negative customer reviews.

Related: ‘ARK: Survival of the Fittest’ rejoins the main ARK game

According to Studio Wildcard, ARK: Survival Evolved‘s “infrastructure and technical systems” required a DLC release during its Early Access phase, despite player expectations.

“We determined that it is more sound to iterate on these systems during Early Access than after retail launch, given the significant risks involved if we didn’t ‘get it right’,” the developer stated. “While that meant unveiling the first Expansion early, it also means an easier time integrating further post-launch Expansions into the ARK network.”

Studio Wildcard continues: “We understand that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and we appreciate the enjoyment people seem to be getting out of this initial view of how Expansion ARKs can work. Now that we have the systems in place to support them, we can ensure minimal integration issues with subsequent releases after ARK: Survival Evolved itself has launched.”

ARK: Survival Evolved launched via Steam Early Access in June of 2015, offering players an open-world adventure in which they can tame and ride various dinosaur species. The game is still in development for Windows PCs, and is due to hit the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year.