Ark 2 — everything we know so far

ark 2
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Ark 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to Ark: Survival Evolved. In case you’ve never played the first game, it’s a survival game with a twist. Instead of competing for resources with everyday people and animals, you instead have to navigate a world full of dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts. Ark II will continue that trend, but with better graphics, a more detailed world and more advanced enemy AI.

We don’t know a ton of definitive information about Ark 2 at present. We’ve seen one official trailer, and gleaned a few more details from an Xbox Wire blog post. But those two resources alone give us some key insights into Ark 2’s release date and gameplay mechanics — in addition to telling us what role beloved action star Vin Diesel will play in the game.

Read on to find out everything we know about Ark 2 on the Xbox Series X/S and PC.

ark 2

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Ark 2 release date speculation  

According to Microsoft, Ark 2 will come out in 2022. That’s a pretty broad release date, but it’s all we have at the moment. Luckily, we have a little more information about platform availability. Ark 2 will debut on the Xbox Series X/S and the PC.

Whether it’s destined to be an Xbox Series X/S console exclusive forever, that’s harder to say. Microsoft described Ark 2 as a “console launch exclusive,” which usually means “timed exclusive.” As such, the game could migrate to PS5 or other platforms later on. Remember: The original Ark: Survival Evolved eventually came out on the Switch, so anything’s possible.

Ark 2 trailer

The trailer for Ark 2 is entirely cinematic, so fans hoping to see gameplay are out of luck. However, we do get a pretty good idea of the game’s setup, as well as some of its central characters.

In the trailer, a community of primitive human hunters do battle with monstrous brutes, run from gargantuan dinosaurs and explore a high-tech facility, complete with a computerized interface and some kind of cybernetic capabilities. It’s a good glimpse into Ark 2’s hybrid sci-fi/fantasy premise.

ark 2

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Ark 2 Vin Diesel character

We know what you came for: You want to know how the popular actor Vin Diesel fits into Ark 2. Simply put, he’ll be playing one of the important characters in the game. According to the trailer, Diesel plays a character named Santiago Da Costa — or possibly a clone of the original Santiago. But either way, he’s a hunter in Ark 2’s brutal world, and an effective one, at that.

Microsoft confirms that Santiago will also be an important character in Ark: The Animated Series, which will also debut in 2022. Diesel himself is a huge fan of the first game, having logged more than 1,000 hours of playtime.

ark 2

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Ark 2 gameplay

Oddly, we know very little about the gameplay in Ark 2. Presumably, it will follow roughly the same structure as gameplay in Ark: Survival Evolved. That means you’ll start off with very limited resources, then hunt and tame dinosaurs to build up your inventory. You need to keep yourself fed and hydrated; you can build shelters and set up farms; you can train mounts; you can find new blueprints to build even more effective gear. In short, it’s a survival game, with some light sci-fi trappings and dinosaurs. If you ever wondered how long you’d last if you got stranded in Jurassic Park, Ark 2 should give you a reasonable approximation.

Since the Ark 2 trailer doesn’t contain any gameplay, it’s hard to say what differences to expect compared to Ark: Survival Evolved. The Xbox Wire post promises “a brutal new world of primitive survival against both beast and man, facing down the ever-present threats of hyper-realistic intelligent dinosaurs, aggressive alien fauna and the exotic environments of an unearthly planet.”

The “hyper-realistic intelligent dinosaurs” suggests cunning enemy AI, although we’ll have to wait and see whether it’s a dramatic step up from the first Ark.

If you simply can’t wait to dive in and start pummeling dinosaurs into submission, the first Ark: Survival Evolved game is currently available on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. You can even play it, along with a good deal of the DLC, on Xbox Game Pass.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.