HITMAN™

It took our Bitcoin mining rig two weeks to spit out the solution to 'what is the hardest GOTY award to be mad about,' but our unscrupulous power consumption was worth it. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is the first uncontroversial Game of the Year award we've given in years. We finally did it!

Of course it couldn't last, though. After just a few days of basking in positive reinforcement, we also published awards for PUBG and Destiny 2, prompting questions such as: 'Are you drunk?' The answer is: probably. But we must press on. The end of the year is for awarding awards, and no number of incredulous reaction gifs and all caps emails can stop us. So before calling it quits, we grabbed a handful of rejected award ideas from our award box (after paying our office manager $1.99 for the key) to bring you the 2017 Looties, our other GOTY awards.

Best Mass Effect Game

Winner: Mass Effect: Andromeda

However you feel about Mass Effect: Andromeda, you have to admit that it's the best Mass Effect game that released this year, and at least the fourth best Mass Effect game of all time. Not too shabby! —Tyler Wilde

Most Effective Word of Mouth Marketing Campaign 

Winner: EA for Star Wars Battlefront 2

Wow! EA pulled off quite the marketing stunt for Battlefront 2: even politicians are talking about it. To make this word-of-mouth magic happen, the marketing savants at EA constructed a business model that it would be impossible to look at, even on paper, without saying: 'Excellent! Everyone is going to be very mad about this! In fact, even Disney will be mad. We'll definitely make Belgium's Justice Minister mad.' And like clockwork, that's what happened—literally anyone could have predicted it, which goes to show just how airtight the plan was. Nice one, EA! —Tyler Wilde

Most Unexpected Death

Winner: Dishonored 2: Death of the Outsider

It was a closely guarded secret all through the production of Dishonored 2: Death of the Outsider: The Outsider would die. The efforts taken to hide the death of the Outsider were extreme, with several fake endings to Death of the Outsider, in which the Outsider did not die, being fully produced and animated. The Outsider's voice actor spent days recording dozens of lines of dialogue intended to throw off any suspicions in case of a pre-launch leak, lines like "I am glad I did not die!" and "I, the Outsider, continue to live" and "There sure are a lot of deaths but thankfully none of them are of me, the Outsider." These efforts were completely worth it, because we were completely stunned when we got to the part of Death of the Outsider where we experienced the death of the Outsider. In fact, we feel a little bad not including a spoiler warning before this award, because now you know the Outsider, in Death of the Outsider, dies. —Chris Livingston

Most normal house

Winner: What Remains of Edith Finch

As evocative as the Finch's family home is, it's the realistic slice-of-life details that make it so compelling. For instance, there's the subtle inclusion of secret tunnels that only small people can fit through. We all know where ours are! (Though we must never find out what's behind them.) And rooms with entirely different colour schemes that perfectly show, down to the smallest detail, who lives there? These are the details I expect when I walk into a family home, not the unrealistic detritus you see in most so-called 'true to life' portrayals: mouldy pizza boxes stuffed down the side of a bed, embarrassing Star Trek tie-in novels in people's book collections, dad's copy of Band of Brothers on Blu-ray. As if we're not going to notice that the family dome is missing from that picture? Props to Edith Finch for getting it right. —Samuel Roberts

Wait, a Survival Game Left Early Access? 

Winner: The Long Ark

Wait, what? A survival game left Early Access this year? Wait, again! And what, again? Two of them? Ark: Survival Evolved and The Long Dark both left Early Access? Holy crap. I didn't know that was a thing that could happen. I thought maybe Steam forgot to make a 'Leave Early Access' button for survival game developers to click on, or maybe that they had to cut down a real tree using an axe made from a stick, a stone, and 'plant fiber' before they were allowed to leave Early Access and no one could actually do it. Well, good for Ark 'n Dark! May your stomach meters be full and your supply of firewood be plentiful. —Chris Livingston

Saddest Child

Winner: Little Nightmares

It's never been a better and worse time to be a sad child in a game, what with Inside and Rime showing that kids have it tough in service of entertaining players. Little Nightmares, though, offers the saddest child of 2017, as grotesque people regularly attempt to eat your character on a horror show of a boat while your character slowly starves to death. If it's not that, you have to avoid giant toy men who want to mess you up real bad. Will 2018 be another banner year for sad videogame children? I would expect so. This sub-genre is flourishing right now. —Samuel Roberts

Saddest Robots

Winner: Nier Automata

Have you met the member of the resistance group who reprograms a Yorha android because he's desperate to start a family? And then did you read the email afterwards that explains in cold detail how he and his new robot relations were killed? Nier features some deeply sad robots, all trying to figure themselves out in a box-y world where people no longer reside, but human feelings live on in their creations. Everyone's having a bad time. Except the robots having an orgy—they're loving it. —Samuel Roberts

Corporate Good Guy of the Year

Winner: Yosuke Matsuda, Square-Enix

It's rare to see major publishers behave with magnanimity when the big bucks are involved, so I was moved if not to tears, at least to substantial surprise when Square-Enix decided not to be jerks about the whole not wanting to make more Hitman games thing, and instead let IO Interactive walk away with the rights to their slap-headed, murderous creation. Credit for that has to go to big boss Yosuke Matsuda, who explained: "I believe it wouldn't be Hitman unless it was Hitman made by IO… I love the game, and I believe the fans of Hitman think it's only Hitman if it's made by IO. So I thought that was the best way for the game to continue, and that's why we were supportive of the MBO and of course didn't mind if they continued to use the IP." Imagine, Bobby Kotick at Activision saying something like that. You can't. Because he's buried under that pile of loot boxes. Shhh, Bobby. Let the darkness come. You're safe now. —Tim Clark

Corporate Bad Guy of the Year

Winner: Also Yosuke Matsuda, Square-Enix

Goddamnit. No sooner had I hung the garland on Matsuda-san than I realised he was also responsible for this year's greatest single moment of villainy: Ignoring the noble and righteous campaign led by our own Wesley Fenlon to have Final Fantasy Tactics finally ported to PC. I mean, I can't be sure this is entirely Matsuda's fault, but I also can't be certain he isn't to blame. So here we are. I mean, c'mon Square. You've jammed every other Fantasy onto Steam except that one about the hot boys riding around chasing chocobo tail in a black cadillac, why the hell can't we have Tactics? It's literally one of the best turn-based strategy games ever made, and would be an absolute delight to play with mouse and keyboard. To be honest, if it was between this and letting the Hitman devs families' starve… —Tim Clark

Also, you can literally fight him in Nier: Automata, which makes him a true (but extremely cool, dammit) bad guy. —Wes Fenlon

ARK: Survival Evolved - Jen


Happy Holidays!



Happy Holidays, Survivors!

As this year draws to a close, we're going to end off 2017 with a little holiday-themed event! Though smaller than our previous Winter events, we hope Survivors enjoy their holiday time on the ARK. Survivors will experience Santa's Elves inhabiting the ARKs, spreading joy to all those who tame them.

This holiday-themed event brings the following changes to the ARKs (available on the holidayevent branch for dedicated servers):

- One-time Wild Dino respawn
- 5% chance of new wild creatures being Xmas coloured
- 50% chance of white-coloured Dire Bears
- All hat-wearing wild dinos are wearing Santa hats and Megaloceros have been replaced with Reindeer
- 12 AM through to 5 AM provides a temporary buff to live connected players which boosts loot crate quality by 40% (over base values, 15% over LioMagic values), drops more loot, and adds more cosmetics to loot crate drops.

Be sure to send us all your holiday-themed screenshots, videos, and artwork as we'd love to see them!

The event will begin at 12 PM ET on Saturday the 23rd of December and runs until 12 PM ET on Sunday the 1st of January.



ARK Winter Sale!

Happy Holidays Everyone! For those who've yet to experience the joys of ARK, nows your chance to get in as we have a huge host of discounts with the Winter Sale!



ARK will be participating in this year's Steam Winter Sale! It runs from now through the holiday until the 4th of January!

http://store.steampowered.com/app/346110/ARK_Survival_Evolved/

http://store.steampowered.com/bundle/4462/ARK_Survival_Evolved_Explorers_Edition/

http://store.steampowered.com/app/696680/ARK_Survival_Evolved_Season_Pass/

http://store.steampowered.com/app/512540/ARK_Scorched_Earth__Expansion_Pack/

Evolution Event



Survivors across ALL Platforms will be receiving a special Evolution Event perk this weekend! It's already live now and will remain active until Tuesday the 26th of December at 12 PM EST. All Official Servers will be undergoing this evolutionary change which includes:

2x Harvesting Rate
2x Taming Rate
2x EXP Rate

-------------

To read the rest of the Community Crunch this week, check out our announcement post on survivetheark!

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday and we'll be back at the beginning of the New Year!

Keep on surviving!
ARK: Survival Evolved

Ark: Survival Evolved has finally arrived on the Windows 10 store and as an Xbox Play Anywhere title, so if you bought the game digitally on Xbox One, you also already own it on Windows 10. Two versions for the price of one, basically.

Being Xbox Play Anywhere also means paraphernalia such as saved games, add-on content and achievements go with you as you hop between versions. Also the two multiplayer communities - Windows 10 and Xbox One - can play together.

Ark recently launched an Aberration expansion pack which, among many other things, has an enemy that can impregnate you! But if that's not your cup of tea, the new underground biome has plenty more treats in store, including loads of new beasties, equipment and adventures.

Read more…

ARK: Survival Evolved

In the wake of its latest Aberration expansion, Ark: Survival Evolved has now launched on the Windows 10 Store as an Xbox Play Anywhere game. 

Much like other games that have walked similar paths—like, say, Fallout Shelter and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard—this means PC players who access Ark via the Windows 10 Store can now join their Xbox counterparts on the same servers as friends or as foes.  

"Tied to the players’ Microsoft account, Ark survivors can now pick up their adventure where they left off," explains a statement, "switching between their Xbox One and PC while taking their saved progress, Gamerscore, DLC, and achievements with them."

In his review earlier this year, Ian Birnbaum described Ark's post-Early Access release as "a bloated, grindy mess, but [is] so packed with options that a better game is hidden inside it." 

Check out Ian's thoughts in full in this direction, and watch moving pictures of Ark's new Aberration expansion below:

Crypt of the NecroDancer

Ahead of the Steam winter sale and on the heels of the Humble 'Jingle Jam' Bundle, Humble Bundle is holding a hefty indie sale this week. The 'indie mega week sale' is live now and runs through 10 am Pacific this Christmas—Monday, December 25. Standout games include:

As previously reported, you can also get Layers of Fear and its soundtrack for free. However, while it is included in the indie mega week sale, it's only free through 10 am Pacific tomorrow, Wednesday, December 20.  

Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info. 

ARK: Survival Evolved - Jatheish


Aberration Roundup!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YV-gcT9nYyc

http://store.steampowered.com/app/708770/ARK_Aberration__Expansion_Pack/

First of all, a huge wholehearted thank you from everyone here at Studio Wildcard to the ARK Community! Since Aberration released we have received a number of kind messages of support for the game and our team. We appreciate each and every one of you; your feedback, creations, videos, live streams, drawings, screenshots, they mean everything to us and we will be forever grateful to the love you show our game.

Aberration has been available for a few days now and it has been an absolute blast. Seeing the game do so well on each platform, with so much fan support behind it is incredible. We're looking forward to the weeks ahead and can't wait to experience more of your Aberration stories!

In honour of Aberration's release, it's time to offer a bounty!

BOUNTY: ALPHA ABERRATION ENDBOSS



We're awarding $2000 to the first person who provides video proof of them defeating the Alpha Aberration Endboss on an Official Aberration server! Remember to include proof that this has taken place on an Official Server, you can do so by showing us the main menu which will indicate the server you're on!

You can send your entries to survivetheark@studiowildcard.com or Tweet us your video here

Dino TLC Preview



Now that Aberration has been released the question on your mind might be: what's in-store next for ARK?

Today we're excited to share with you the first few images of our Dino TLC update that is currently being worked on. These images are still work-in-progress and are therefore subject to change before final release, but here are the updated Rex, Ape, and Dire Wolf models.



Studio Wildcard started out as a small studio and as we've progressed through ARKs development, we've grown tremendously! We've been able to bring on very talented animators and character artists to work on the project.

You've seen some of their work in our more recent creatures and expansion packs, and now they'll be taking their abilities and showing some love to some of the original creatures we launched with. We're excited to see where these creatures go with the new advanced techniques and can't wait to show you how they turn out!



These three are not the only models that are planned to be upgraded. We have more coming as well but that'll have to remain a Mysterious Mystery for now!

Ragnarok Update!



Ragnarok Fans! We've got some exciting news regarding the map and its development! In the coming week, Ragnarok will be approximately 100% complete internally, and we'll be releasing a PC update to add in the latest part of the map. We are expecting to deploy this update on Wednesday the 20th of December.

ARK: Super Fan Edition!



The Super Fan Edition of ARK: Survival Evolved is now available for purchase without the game or seasons pass included, for those who already own the game. Thanks for your patience on this, and we're excited to finally get those items out to you guys:

- HANDCRAFTED, LEATHER-BOUND EXPLORER'S NOTEBOOK: featuring the Dossiers of every creature you'll encounter in "ARK: Survival Evolved", with tips on capturing, taming and training them. With 100+ creatures in the game currently, there's plenty to read up on in this fantastic tome.
- THE OFFICIAL ARK LOGO NECKLACE: to show your dedication to being a Survivor.
- A CLOTH MAP OF THE ARK ISLAND: so you'll always know where you are!
- SUPER FAN EDITION CHEST: All of this Ark-themed booty comes packed in a faux-wooden chest that will impress your friends and fellow players!
- A POSTER FEATURING THE DEVELOPMENT TEAM BEHIND ARK
- ARK OFFICIAL SOUNDTRACK CD

You can purchase it worldwide today on our website: playark.com

Evolution Event



Survivors across ALL Platforms will be receiving a special Evolution Event perk this weekend! It's already live now and will remain active until Monday the 18th at 6 PM EST. All Official Servers will be undergoing this evolutionary change which includes:

2x Harvesting Rate
2x Taming Rate
2x EXP Rate

That's it for this post guys! As always if you’ve got anything to share please get in touch and be sure to follow us on:

Twitter: twitter.com/survivetheark
Facebook: facebook.com/survivetheark
Reddit: reddit.com/r/playark
Instagram: instagram.com/survivetheark

All the best,
Studio Wildcard
ARK: Survival Evolved - Jen
Hello Survivors!

Studio Wildcard is proud to announce ARK’s second expansion pack, “Aberration”!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YV-gcT9nYyc
http://store.steampowered.com/app/708770/ARK_Aberration__Expansion_Pack/

Survivors will find themselves waking up on a derelict, malfunctioning ARK with an elaborate underground biome system, where they will face exotic new challenges unlike anything before: extreme radioactive sunlight and environmental hazards, ziplines, wingsuits, climbing gear, cave dwellings, charge-batteries, and far more, along with a stable of extraordinary new creatures await within the mysterious depths. But beware the ‘Nameless’: unrelenting, Element-infused humanoids which have evolved into vicious light-hating monstrosities! You’ll uncover the ultimate secrets of the ARKs, and discover what the future holds in store for those strong and clever enough to survive!



AN ARK GONE AWRY



Aberration places survivors on a damaged ARK: its internal atmosphere has leaked away, resulting in a harsh surface with intense radiation, and a plethora of lush biomes underground. With the maintenance systems of this ARK malfunctioning, the many hazards, creatures, and nature of the environment present a thrilling new world to explore and master.



TAME NEW CREATURES



The intense radiation of Aberration has led to incredible genetic mutations, resulting in new creatures with amazing abilities! Among others, clamber up walls & glide through the air on the back of a camouflaging chameleon-like ‘Rock Drake’, keep the dark at bay with a friendly ‘Lantern Pug’, grab and toss multiple creatures simultaneously with a massive ‘Cave Crustacean’, or -- if you are talented enough to tame one -- command the vile ‘Nameless Queen’ to impregnate your foes with a horrifying reproductive chest-burster!



CRAFT OVER 50 NEW ITEMS



New tools are on-hand to survive on the world of Aberration, while opening up many possibilities for new competitive and cooperative scenarios. Traverse the ARK using cave-climbing picks, gliding wingsuits, and ziplines. Learn advanced engrams to dominate the harsh environment, protect yourself with hazmat outfits, charge lanterns, explosive rounds, batteries, glowsticks, railguns and much more. Thrive by gathering new resources, using fishing baskets, gas collectors, fortify your home within the caverns using cliff structures, and much more!



CONQUER NEW CHALLENGES



Earthquakes, radiation exposure, gas leaks, and Element chambers are among the many hazards that survivors will learn to grapple with Aberration’s varied biomes, both aboveground and below the surface. But among the greatest challenges on this ruined ARK is the hierarchy of unrelenting Nameless, requiring constant vigilance & Charge Energy to defend against!



And in the deepest depths of Aberration, their terrifying -- yet somehow familiar -- master awaits… will YOU be among the survivors powerful enough to face him?



Working on Aberration has been a challenging and exciting time for us here at Studio Wildcard. Aberration is filled with new world building techniques and new mechanics that have never been seen in ARK before. We hope that you all enjoy playing in this new expansion pack, and we look forward to seeing your reactions, posts, videos, streams, artwork, and feedback as you explore the world of Aberration.

Thank you for your continued support, we would not be where we are today without you!



Best of luck conquering Aberration!

ARK on Sale!

http://store.steampowered.com/app/346110/ARK_Survival_Evolved/

http://store.steampowered.com/app/696680/ARK_Survival_Evolved_Season_Pass/

ARK is currently on sale for 60% off on the base game and 33% off the Season Pass!
ARK: Survival Evolved

A second expansion pack for Ark: Survival Evolved has launched on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It's called Aberration and it is, as the title suggests, unusual.

Aberration is the name of a malfunctioning Ark with an underground biome. There's radioactive sunlight, earthquakes, ziplines, wingsuits, climbing gear and weird creatures. There are spooky humanoids called Nameless, and Reapers who impregnate enemies to spawn offspring. Apparently if you let the Reaper Queen impregnate you, you spawn a Reaper you can tame and control.

It won't be the only new beast you can tame. You can climb and fly on the back of a camouflaged Rock Drake chamaeleon thing; you can stamp around with a giant Cave Crustacean, which is probably an overgrown crab; and you can light the way with a Lantern Pet.

Read more…

ARK: Survival Evolved

Originally due in October, Ark's Aberration expansion lands today—bringing with it an new underground biome, dozens of alien-like dinos and over 50 new craftable items. 

Despite not being much of a cave guy, Chris appeared to enjoy his hands-on time with Aberration last month, as he traversed its inhabitable and hazardous underground world where sunlight is apparently deadly. In turn, you should expect earthquakes, environmental pitfalls, ziplines, wingsuits, climbing gear, and, obviously, a cast of fantastically terrifying creatures. 

Here's a look at some of that in video form: 

And if that wasn't enough to contend with, developer Studio Wildcard warns we should "Beware the ‘Nameless’: unrelenting, Element-infused humanoids, which have evolved into vicious light-hating creatures, and the Reapers, massive alien monstrosities which can impregnate foes to spawn their offspring." Chris bills the latter process as a "rather messy chest-birth to a squirming worm grub" that's equally gross and fun. I'll take his word for it.   

With new challenges and over 50 new craftable items to tinker with, Aberration provides plenty to get on with. Speaking to the new creatures, Studio Wildcard adds: 

The intense radiation of Aberration has led to incredible genetic mutations, resulting in dozens of new creatures with amazing abilities! Clamber up walls and glide through the air on the back of a camouflaging chameleon-like ‘Rock Drake’, keep the dark at bay with one of four friendly ‘Lantern Pets’, or grab and toss multiple creatures simultaneously with a massive ‘Cave Crustacean’, or—if you are brave enough—allow the horrific Reaper Queen to impregnate you, and spawn a vicious male Reaper alien lifeform you can tame and control.

The Aberration expansion costs $20 standalone, and can also be purchased as part of the Ark season pass which includes Scorched Earth and an as-yet unspecified third expansion. We've been informed Aberration will go live at 6pm GMT/10am PT. 

ARK: Survival Evolved - Jen
Mysterious Mysteries: Introducing ???????



What an intriguing discovery survivors, what could this be?

Aberration Countdown Is On!



The wait is almost over! Aberration will have a simultaneous release across all three platforms at 8 AM Pacific Time on the 12th.

In “ARK: Aberration” Survivors will find themselves waking up on a derelict, malfunctioning ARK with an elaborate underground biome system, where they will face exotic new challenges unlike anything before: extreme radioactive sunlight and environmental hazards, ziplines, wingsuits, climbing gear, cave dwellings, charge-batteries, and far more, along with a stable of extraordinary new creatures await within the mysterious depths. But beware the ‘Nameless’: unrelenting, Element-infused humanoids which have evolved into vicious light-hating monstrosities! You’ll uncover the ultimate secrets of the ARKs, and discover what the future holds in store for those strong and clever enough to survive!

To help ease the pain of waiting over the next few days, feast your ears on Aberration's theme song, created by Gareth Coker.

https://soundcloud.com/jeremy-wildcard/ark-aberration-theme

New Skins from Extra Life!



One of our rewards for collecting donations during our Extra Life charity stream was to get a skin of your choice put into the game. Because our fundraising event was such an overwhelming success we decided to award the top four donators instead of just the top one. On December 12th, four new hat skins will be added to the game.

These skins were chosen by the top fund raisers: x3Belle, PepperJC, windxiv, and Dakhar, and the skins are the: Cute Dino Helmet Mask, Chili Mask, Otter Mask, and Scary Skull Mask respectively. These can be earned by defeating the boss on Aberration. Thank you once again to x3Belle, PepperJC, windxiv, & Dakhar, and to everyone who participated in our Extra Life event!

Sponsored Mod Program Update!

It’s another exciting month in the Sponsored Mod Program! The mod entering the program this month is not one that we think many people are aware of. The modder, B.Cheers, has been around the modding community for quite some time. Some of you might remember some of his older work like Ark Futurism or Storage+. Without further ado, let’s get into it.





This month we will be sponsoring ARK Futurism Final Existence. What’s really cool about this mod is that these are all custom assets made by B.Cheers. There’s no doubt a ton of work went into making all the content that’s in this mod. At the moment, there’s a mostly complete structure set that uses a half wall design. This offers more flexibility to all the ARK builders. More importantly, there are mechs that can equip armor and weapons! With the addition of Tek Tier, I knew someone would take it to the next level.



B.Cheers has a development tracker if you’d like to keep up to date with what he’s working on and things that are to come. We believe this mod has a really promising future and might serve as a supplement to your Tek Tier existence. Don’t take our word for it, be sure to check it out for yourself!

ARK: Evolution Event++ Weekend!



Survivors across ALL Platforms will be receiving a special Evolution Event perk this weekend! It's already live now and will remain active until Monday the 11th at 12 PM EST. All Official Servers will be undergoing this evolutionary change which includes:

2x Harvesting Rate
2x Taming Rate
2x EXP Rate
2x Maturing
2x Hatching
2x Gestation
2x Faster Mating Interval Rates

Also, we won't be running an Evolution Event next weekend as we'll be taking a look at Aberration numbers and judging initial balance/feedback. Get in and take advantage of the rates whilst you can! :)

-------------

To read the rest of the Community Crunch this week, check out our announcement post on survivetheark!

Keep on surviving!
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