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Tired of the goody two-shoes dino life? There's a solution: Ark cheats. Dinosaur sim Ark: Survival Evolved lets you enter all sorts of console commands to enable god mode, level up, teleport, spawn items, instantly tame dinosaurs, unlock all engrams, and more. These Ark cheats are for singleplayer mode, or for multiplayer mode if you're the server admin (or if you've been given the server admin password). Otherwise you can't use them online. And if you're looking to further tweak your experience, check out our guide to the best Ark mods.
You can access the console in Ark by pressing the Tab key—you'll see a narrow box open at the very bottom of your screen. That's where you'll be typing in the cheats. To close the console, press Tab again.
In singleplayer mode, just type the cheats to enable them. In multiplayer, if you have the admin password, you'll need to type 'EnableCheats <password>' before you can use cheats. Some cheats (while playing on a server) will require the prefix 'admincheat'. In singleplayer, you don't need to worry about a prefix. Just type them and press Enter.
The cheats are written in bold below (and they're not case-sensitive).
God - Toggles godmode, protects you from all damage (except drowning)InfiniteStats - Refills health, stamina, oxygen, food, and waterGMBuff - Godmode plus infinitestats and additional experience pointsEnemyInvisible - All creatures ignore you, even when attackedLeaveMeAlone - Combines the cheats God, InfiniteStats and EnemyInvisibleChangeSize <value> - Changes your size by this multiplier, the default value is 1Fly - Lets you fly. Use 'Walk' to disableGhost - Activates noclip mode. Use 'Walk' to disable
GiveEngrams - Unlocks all crafting recipesGiveEngramsTekOnly - Gives you all Tek engramsGiveColors - Gives you a quantity of each dye
DoTame - Tames targeted dinosaur (if it's tamable)ForceTame - Tames targeted dino, and dino is rideable even without saddleForceTameAOE <Radius> - Tames dinos in specified radius (default is 2000)
GiveArmorSet <Tier> <Quality> - Gives you full armor set for the specified tier and equips it
Armor tiers options can be entered as a number or word, as follows: 0 (or Cloth)1 (or Chitin)2 (or Metal or Flak)3 (or Tek) And also Hide, Fur, Desert, Ghillie, Riot, Scuba, Hazard
Armor quality options are: Primitive, Ramshackle, Apprentice, Journeyman, Mastercraft, Ascendant, Alpha
GiveWeaponSet <Tier> <Quality> - Gives you all weapons in specified tier
Weapon tier options can be entered as a number or word, and are as follows:
0 (or Primitive): Bow, Pike, Spear, Bola 1 (or Basic) Assault Rifle, Shotgun, Longneck Rifle, Sword, Grenade 2 (or Advanced) Compound Bow, Fabricated Sniper Rifle, Rocket Launcher, C4 Charge 3 (or Tek) Tek Grenade, Tek Rifle, Tek Railgun, Tek Sword
Weapon quality options are same as the options for armor, as listed above.
GiveItemSet <Tier> - Gives you all items in specified tier
Item tiers are can be a number or word, and are as follows:
0: 90 Cooked Meat, 200 Stimberry, 2 Waterskin 1: 2 Water Jar, 200 Stimberry, 90 Cooked Meat, 100 Medical Brew 2: 100 Medical Brew, 100 Energy Brew, 100 Cactus Broth, 60 Cooked Meat Jerky, 2 Canteen 3: 5 Shadow Steak Saute, 5 Enduro Stew, 5 Focal Chili, 5 Lazarus Chowder, 100 Medical Brew, 100 Energy Brew, 100 Cactus Broth, 90 Cooked Meat Jerky Food: 30 Cooked Meat Jerky, 30 Prime Meat Jerky Water: Canteen RefillBrews: 100 Medical Brew, 100 Energy Brew
These commands allow you to give a specific item to yourself or another player.
For a full list of Ark item ID numbers, see this list.
GiveItem <BlueprintPath> <Quantity> <Quality> <ForceBlueprint>GiveItemNum <ItemNum> <Quantity> <Quality> <ForceBlueprint>
GiveItemToPlayer <PlayerID> <BlueprintPath> <Quantity> <Quality> <ForceBlueprint>GiveItemNumToPlayer <PlayerID> <ItemNum> <Quantity> <Quality> <ForceBlueprint>
Setting ForceBlueprint to 'true' or '1' will give the blueprint, while setting it to 'false' or '0' will add the item itself.
GiveResources - Add 50 units of each resource to you inventory.
Summon <type> - Spawns a specified creature at your location.SummonTamed <type> - Spawns a tamed creature at your location.GMSummon <"type"> <level> - Spawns a tamed creature of a set levelGiveDinoSet <tier> <quantity> - Spawns set of dinos with saddles.
Tier options can be entered as a number or word, as follows:
0: Raptor, Dilo, Trike 1: Raptor, Carnotaurus, Thylacoleo 2: Rex, Spino, Paracer, Therizinosaur 3: Rex, Rex with Tek Saddle, Daeodon, Yutyrannus, Therizinosaur Flyers: Pteranodon, Tapejara with Tek Saddle, Argentavis, Quetzal Mek: 3 Meks, one with each moduleSiegeMek: Mek, M.S.C.M., Element, Cannon Shell (Extinction)MissleMek: Mek, M.R.L.M., Element, RocketpodShieldMek: Mek, M.D.S.M., ElementArgent: Argentavis Extinction: Enforcer, Gasbags, Snow Owl, Gacha, Managarmr, Velonasaur
TPCoords <Lat> <Lon> <Altitude> - Moves you to a specified place instantly. You can find a list of Ark's coordinates here. There's also a map you can mouseover for coordinates here.Teleport - Moves you forward until you collide with somethingTeleportPlayerIDToMe <PlayerID> - Moves a specified player to youTeleportPlayerNameToMe <PlayerName> - Moves a specified player to youTeleportToPlayer <PlayerID> - Moves you to a specified player
Creative Mode removes weight restrictions and crafting requirements, unlocks all engrams, and grants godmore and infinitestats. Also lets you toggle flight by double-tapping your jump key.
GiveCreativeMode - Sets you in creative modeGiveCreativeModeToTarget - Toggles creative mode for players you are targetingGiveCreativeModeToPlayer <PlayerID> - Toggles creative mode for a player using their ID
These are pretty self-explanatory, and different expansions may have different cheats for weather.
The Island expansion:
Scorched Earth expansion:
start rainstop rainstart electricalstormstop electricalstormstart sandstormstop sandstormstart superheatstop superheatstart_volcano
On Tuesday, an Ark: Survival Evolved YouTube channel called H.O.D. Gaming uploaded a video called "2019 GUIDE TO MESH MONKEYS (PART 1)." The owner of the channel, a 27-year old Australian named Luke, told me that it was at least partially inspired by his own personal vengeance. "Each time i would build a base a cheat or exploiter would come and ignore my base defense and exploit my base and steal my work," he said, over email. "Bases take hundreds of hours to build and cheaters can ignore the in game defense through this method."
So naturally, Luke framed his video as a dulcet nature documentary. "Mesh monkeys," he said, are the vile, regrettable creatures who populate the server blades of Ark: Survival Evolved and muck up the multiplayer with cheap tricks that ruin the experience for everyone else. "Today, we're going to explore the mesh monkeys, and the techniques they use to supersede base defenses," he says. For the next 10 minutes, Luke methodically unveiled a few of the tried-and-true exploits that have existed in the game code, he says, since the game released back in 2017. They include a clever server-relog that puts your character out-of-bounds, a hidey-hole in the top corner of a map that you can clip through easily, and a wall that can be rammed through with a jetpack. Luke mentions that he found all of those exploits with a simple YouTube search, and adds, "Why can't the devs fix this themselves?"
The following day, Luke uploaded another video, showing that he was globally banned from Ark servers. "There was no communication with the devs, and no reason given for the ban," he says to me, over email. "I have exposed meshing in the past and was not banned for it, and they still have not taken my feedback from this first video."
H.O.D. Gaming is one of the more prominent YouTube channels in the Ark community. In total, Luke has around 190,000 subscribers, so it was unsurprising to see that his banning emerged as a significant controversy. The news penetrated the front page of the non-denominational r/pcgaming subreddit, where it earned nearly 50,000 upvotes. (Personally, I saw the news on r/all, where it was also on the front page.) Several other Ark YouTubers made videos in response to the ban, and all offered the same tepid analysis of the situation.
When I reached out to Studio Wildcard, the company behind Ark, they directed me to a statement they made on the forums shortly after the Reddit indignation. In it, they announced that H.O.D. would be formally unbanned, but also didn't fully exonerate Luke's content. "Any issue that violates our Code of Conduct is subject to a fair appeal process. When things land in the gray area, our first instinct is to do whatever is in our power to prevent abuse," it read. "Upon further review of the situation involving H.O.D Gaming, we felt that it was not deserving of a permanent ban. Videos showing exploit techniques are admittedly a gray area when it comes to enforcement, which is just one of the reasons why the appeal process exists for bans."
This is fairly standard for a lot of publishers. You can find plenty of examples of prominent streamers earning bans after taking advantage of an exploit or an oversight. It's happened in PUBG, Overwatch, and most recently in Anthem. The difference for H.O.D. is that he claims the meshing he demonstrated happened in Ark's single-player mode, and also that the overall directive of his video was cached as a form of protest. I asked him what his response would be if Wildcard informed him that achieving exploits, regardless of the overarching context, was a no-questions-asked bannable offense.
"I [would] respond that I deserve the ban for exposing these exploits, but sacrifices have to be made. It's the only way to bring enough attention to them to actually get them fixed," he wrote. These exploits have been in the game for far too long and have becoming widely accepted as a norm."
Wildcard, of course, addressed this guerrilla sentiment in its response, essentially saying that the company would prefer its community to address complaints about exploits more formally, via a troubleshooting report, rather than publicize them on a platform like YouTube. "There are established methods for escalating exploits to the development team that exist to prevent the spread of information to the general public," it read. "The more widely known an exploit is, the more likely it is to be exploited."
Your mileage on this controversy will depend on how effective you think H.O.D. Gaming's protest was, or if you think it introduced a whole new group of people to some of Ark's more fragile invisible walls. One thing is clear though; fixing the exploits would solve all of these problems, all at once. The simplest answer is usually the right one.
The big Ark: Survival Evolved expansion Extinction is set to go live today, adding a brand new map and massive mega-dinosaurs to the game, and finally concluding the story that began, and will end, on the ruined world we call Earth.
The launch trailer sets up the story in broad strokes: Earth looks like it used to be a pretty nice place, but it's clearly suffered from neglect in recent years. It's also got a bit of a pest problem, which you and your dinosaur pals are apparently going to have to sort out. The trouble is that as big as your helmet-head T-rex looks compared to you, so do they appear when stacked up against the colossal creatures called Titans that are now roaming free on our former homeworld.
The solution? Build a Mek that's even bigger. Which doesn't strike me as a particularly efficient way of handling the problem—hasn't anyone around here heard of air power?—but it should make for some pretty cool "let them fight"-style moments.
The dungeon-boss Titans are the centerpiece of Ark: Extinction, but it will also add new creatures like the balloon-like Gasbag, the frosty, flying Snow Owl, and the spine-firing Velonasaur. New technological additions include Pokemon-esque Cryopods, which will enable players to store tamed creatures and carry them around in inventory, and chasm-spanning Tek Bridges, while Orbital Supply Drops will deliver gear and resources in the field—which Element-corrupted dinos will probably want to fight you for.
Existing Ark: Survival Evolved characters can be transferred from their current servers into Extinction, but items and tamed creatures cannot; characters, items, and tames can be transferred out of Extinction onto other maps, however. Studio Wildcard said that process will be identical to that of the previous Scorched Earth and Aberration expansion. As for an exact start time, that's a bit mushy at the moment: The developers said they'll be rolling it out slowly, beginning with North American and European servers.
"We will be releasing an initial start batch of servers, and bringing more servers online as needed so please be patient for us during this period. The servers will be the standard 70-player cap. Extinction will be included in all CrossARK clusters (except 'TheHundred'), as well as Conquest and Small Tribes servers," Studio Wildcard explained on Steam.
"Extinction will not be supported in Primitive Plus on launch, but it is something we will consider looking into at a later date. Extinction will also not have NoTek/NTek-NoTaming, Primitive, or TheHundred servers for those currently playing on those subsets of gamemodes. The legacy network will get a few servers, however they will be in small supply."
Ark: Survival Evolved will also be free to play for most of the week, beginning at 10 am PT/1 pm ET on November 6 (so, right now, basically), and running through November 11. It's also on sale until November 13 for $20/£18/€22.
And now, enjoy some dino-screens.
I punched a tree in my doctor's waiting room yesterday. I was hanging out for an appointment, and I had Ark: Survival Evolved's mobile edition running on my phone. My headphones were in, piping the sound of jungle and beach to my brain. Punching trees, picking up rocks, running from dinosaurs—the whole bit. Then I felt a nurse tap my shoulder, so I unplugged my headphones, stood up, and started to close the application.
That's when my character defecated. A wet fart played over my iPhone's speakers to the waiting room. I could have said a lot of funny things in response to the nurse's arched eyebrow—lots of things would have been clever and witty and made a great anecdote for this article. Instead, I turned bright red and said, "Ha! Heh. Um..." Thanks, Ark!
When Ark came out last year, I found it a fascinating, confusing mess of a game. It was very full of stuff to do (Build a raft! Smelt steel! Do landscape photography!) and very broken in basic ways. It was wonderful, it was frustrating; it was a bloated grind, and I had hours of memorable experiences inside its weird, stupid world.
When Ark came out on mobile devices, I confess to having a morbid curiosity about it. Before this, I'd done very little mobile gaming, and I'd never ventured beyond phone-friendly puzzle games like Threes or Holedown. I didn't think there was a chance that a game like Ark—a game we called "the new Crysis" when it comes to making PC hardware burn up and die—would translate to a pocket processor and a touch screen. No way.
Like a caveman crafting himself a laser rifle with a wooden screwdriver, Ark's developers somehow managed to do it. Ark for mobile is.... Well, it's Ark. It's a bit grindy, it's a bit stupid, your character shits themself twice a day, and you can put a saddle on a Triceratops and ride it into battle. It's Ark!
On my relatively new 2017 iPhone X, Ark mobile runs shockingly well. For all I can see on my tiny screen, the graphics are quite nice. Though the draw distance has been pulled way, way down, the sunny beaches and forbidding jungles of Ark's primary island look just like they do on PC.
That said, Ark's wizardry only extends to far. It looks good, but that power is paid for by lightning and fire: This game eats phone battery like a Stegosaurus cutting through berries. Even all that juice can't quite power my hardware to a seamless Ark show. Framerates crash for a few seconds if I suddenly turn a corner and see a magnificent vista. This ruins the view a little bit, but can also be deadly. A big dinosaur suddenly charging can also cause framerates to judder, making it hard to fight back.
Another thing that makes the framerate freak out is the third-person camera. Using the camera to pan around and check out my survivor's filthy rags works OK, but the game's performance really suffered when I tried moving around outside of the first-person perspective.
This may be specific to the iPhone X, but Ark also makes my phone run hot. Like, really hot. There's a hotspot almost exactly behind the little Apple logo that absolutely smolders after about an hour. There may be larger iPads or Android devices that can run Ark effortlessly, but here's what I can say for sure: the best iPhone on the market right now barely hangs on.
The touchscreen translation of a full keyboard's worth of inputs came out better than I expected, but still far from great. Ark replaced lots of the nuance of a mouse and keyboard with menus; instead of right-clicking to craft, for example, scroll to the Crafting menu page and tap the Craft button.
Moving around by swiping on the left side of the screen and looking up and down by swiping the right side of the screen is very smooth, but the controls lack precision. Sometimes it's hard to point at this rock instead of that tree, and Ark's jungles are very crowded. Worse, slight differences between inputs caused me a lot of pain. I touch-and-hold my tamed dinosaur to open his menu screen, but sometimes I accidentally just touch him, punching him right in his dumb scaly face. It's a good thing my Dilophosaur doesn't know how to open the kibble bin, or he would have murdered me a long time ago.
Combat can get pretty iffy, too. An auto-aim feature helps out with fast-moving targets that would be hard to hit in an emergency. It mostly works, staying locked on target while I stab-stab-stab at angry dinosaurs. Here again, though, the lack of precision once made me stop to pick up a rock instead of punching a predator, and that mistake almost killed me.
Touchscreen crafting controls fare better in the translation. Placing a wall in the right way in the right place is easy when the snap-to-fit building feature understands what I want to build. It's nearly impossible if it doesn't. Desktop Ark servers are famous for their megastructures and intricately built gothic mansions, but the prospect of trying to farm and perfectly place all those pieces sounds exhausting.
Ark mobile is also just… slower? Everything takes longer than I think it should. Between navigating menus and moving around with the touchscreen controls, every task seems to take forever. Ark has always been a horrific grind, but moving to mobile just made the controls less efficient.
No. Ark mobile has "crossplay" in that Android and iOS players can join the same servers, but the desktop version and the mobile version are separate beasts. Alas, the dream of playing a desktop MMO at home, leaving, and continuing to grind resources from a phone is still just a dream.
Ark mobile is free for anyone, and that means that it wants to get money in other ways. Every 90 minutes, a small icon offers a Faustian bargain: watch a commercial in exchange for a gift, like a crafting recipe or a stamina potion. There's also a menu page offering a Primal Pass subscriptions service. Subscribing for $4 a month or $35 a year removes the ads (and removes the gifts, I guess) and doubles how fast characters levels up. Primal Pass also opens up access to "preferred servers" where subscribers gather, smoke cigars, and laugh at the poors.
You do what you want, I'm not your dad—but I won't be spending a lot of time there. The deciding factor is simple: damn it, I am not going to do all that farming again. Because the desktop and mobile versions are separate, playing both just means that I'll have two Ark realities: one where my home is built and my dinosaurs are trained, and one where I have to start from scratch and grind all over again—except this time, the grind will be even worse.
I suspect that the mobile version of Ark isn't really for people who already love Ark, or actively play it on PC. Ark mobile is a free-to-play way to introduce Ark to people who aren't usually into desktop survival games. And it's true that farming and gathering in Ark is a good fit for a mobile device that is always in a pocket, always ready for five minutes of tree-punching or berry-picking. Ark mobile can't replace the full version, but it is excellent at looking pretty and broadcasting inappropriate shitting noises to doctors' waiting rooms.
The third expansion for Ark: Survival Evolved, titled Extinction, is arriving on November 6. As hinted at the end of Ark's previous expansion, Aberration, this time players find themselves on planet Earth, though it's a nearly unrecognizable one filled with both dinosaurs and futuristic technology. In the teaser above released today, you can get a few glimpses of a city that appears both advanced and ancient, with towering monolithic structures overgrown by nature. You can also see some teleporting robotic dinos, a player-piloted drone, and at the end, the appearance of a massive creature called a Titan.
Not only are these Titans huge, but players will—somehow—be able to tame them. I spoke with members of Studio Wildcard about the upcoming Extinction expansion and they gave me the lowdown on some of the new dinos, tools, and Titans it's bringing with it. You can find out everything Studio Wildcard told me about Extinction right here.
Note: an earlier version of this story said that items could be frozen in the cryochamber: this is incorrect. Only dinosaurs can be frozen.
Following a countdown on Ark: Survival Evolved's Twitch channel, the teaser trailer for Ark: Extinction was revealed. Extinction, as many players suspected, takes place on Earth, but it's not any kind of earth we recognize. With a mix of dinosaurs and sci-fi technology, is this the earth's past or its future? That's one of the mysteries players will get a chance to unravel this November 6 as Ark: Survival Evolved's third DLC arrives. The trailer above shows off some new creatures and tools coming to Extinction, as well as a Titan: a massive monster that despite its enormous size is being referred to by Studio Wildcard as a 'miniboss'.
If that humongous thing is a miniboss, that would imply there's a final endboss that's even bigger, right? I spoke with Studio Wildcard about Extinction, and here's what they told me.
First, let's talk about a few new dinos. You can one see in the trailer, called an enforcer: a synthetic dino that can climb walls, strafe, and make short jumps via teleportation. Studio Wildcard isn't sure if players will tame or craft enforcers—they're still working on some of the finer details of Extinction—but either way you'll be able to ride enforcers when you acquire one, which will allow you to make those blink-style teleporting jumps around the landscape.
Another new dino isn't shown in the trailer but you can see its concept art above. It's tentatively being called 'Gasbags' (this may change), and will serve as a pack mule. You can load it up with resources out in the wild, then inflate it like a balloon and float away on its back, piloting it as it expels the air it has sucked in. Bizarre, but kind of cute, I think, and it definitely sounds like a useful creature for getting around with a heavy load of minerals.
As for that immense Titan seen in the trailer? It'll be tamable, too. It serves as what Wildcard amusingly calls a 'miniboss', though there's nothing particularly mini about it, except perhaps in comparison to the as-yet unseen endboss of the expansion, which is even bigger than the Titans. To confront Ark's final boss, players will first have to best all the different Titans in Extinction.
If you're not into endgame stuff, don't worry: Titans won't be freely roaming the map and smashing your base at will. Players will have to seek them out through dungeon levels before they'll appear, and while Studio Wildcard didn't reveal much in the way of specifics, or even how many Titans there are, each Titan will be a little different and it'll require more than just damage-dealing to defeat them.
Several new items will arrive with Extinction, including drones called scouts that can be remotely piloted by players. You'll be able to peer through special binoculars to see through your scout's camera as you send them out for recon (the trailer shows a few seconds of footage from the perspective of a scout), allowing you to tag enemies and explore without putting yourself in danger. You may even be able to rig your scout with explosives should you want to send one into an enemy camp on a mission that involves more than just spying.
There's also a tool that is temporarily being called an 'item balloon'. If you're out gathering resources you can load it up and float it back to your base or the location of your choice, or perhaps do the reverse: use it to airlift a supply of resources to your location. Sounds like a nice option if you haven't managed to tame a gasbag. Other players may be able to shoot your balloon down and help themselves to your goods, however.
Want to get weird? Or at least, weirder? Extinction will introduce a cryochamber that will allow you to freeze creatures into "ice cube form," and then carry them around in your pocket. Sort of a pocket monster that you can then deploy as needed (though these ice cubes will slowly degrade in your pocket). The cubes are still heavy, but make for an easier way to transport dinos than having to lead them through the world (and while frozen, they won't need to be fed). Studio Wildcard suggests this will also make for a good way to trade dinosaurs with other players, as anyone collecting a cube can claim its contents (which also means if another player kills you, they can take your cubes).
Along with these new items and systems, I'm told movement features from the last expansion, Aberration, will be present in Extinction, including the climbing system, gliding, and ziplines, so you'll have plenty of ways to get around the world.
Players will also have to contend with untamable 'corrupt' dinosaurs. There are areas of the world where corrupted Element appears (seen in the trailer as a spiky black spire growing from the ground), and that corruption has spread to some dinos. This corruption has made these infected dinosaurs hyper-aggressive and given them a hive-mind mentality, and even species that normally flee from players will now attack if they're corrupted. New PvE events will occur in the world where the players can attempt to collect large amounts of Element while fending off wave-based attacks of corrupted dinos attempting to consume it. Studio Wildcard described it as almost a tower defense-style event, with the potential for some simultaneous PvP if an competing clan shows up to claim the Element for themselves.
There's more to be revealed, and leading up to Extinction's release on November 6, new Explorer Notes will be dropped into Ark and its expansions which will shed more light on Extinction and unlock new skins for players. Extinction is included in Ark's Season Pass, and can be purchased separately on Steam.
Ark: Survival Evolved spinoff PixARK will come to Steam Early Access this March and officially release later this year.
PixARK is being developed by Snail Games, who describes it as an open-world sandbox survival game. Ark: Survival Evolved developer Studio Wildcard provided "design and technical input," Snail Games says.
The voxel-based spinoff builds on the base building, dinosaur taming formula of its predecessor with the addition of structured, RPG-like content. There are procedurally generated quests to go with its procedurally generated worlds, Snail Games says, as well as a focus on character progression and customization. Its announcement trailer also hints at more traditional fantasy elements like magic.
PixARK can be played in singleplayer or multiplayer survival modes, as well as a creative mode that allows players to build without limits. Outside of crafting and building, players will also be able to train and ride "over 100" dinosaurs, many of which will look familiar to Ark: Survival Evolved players.
Last November, Studio Wildcard creative director Jesse Rapczak said Ark: Survival Evolved "needs to have a sequel at some point." One wonders if this is what he had in mind.
PixARK comes on the heels of Ark: Survival Evolved's latest expansion, Aberration, which introduced new alien-like dinosaurs and subterranean biomes last month.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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.
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