Studio Wildcard’s hit dinosaur-themed survival game ARK: Survival Evolved is coming to Android this spring, and you can pre-register for the release right now on playark.com. Interestingly this upcoming on-the-go version of ARK is being designed and developed by War Drum Studios as a free-to-play release. It’s supposed to closely mirror the online survival experience contained in the PC and console versions, though there will be some necessary changes with the shift in monetization, which leaves me apprehensive as to how the finished product will turn out.

So far details are pretty light, but what we do know is that the game will be tailored to mobile. Currently, there are a few listed features from the recent announcement. These include dinosaur taming, blueprint discovery, crafting and building, farming, 50 player multiplayer, and a tribe system. If these sound interesting, you can check out the full descriptions below.

Taming: Use cunning strategy and tactics to befriend, ride and breed the many dinosaurs and other primeval creatures roaming the dynamic, persistent ecosystems across land, sea, air, and even underground.

Discover: Unearth rare blueprints and Explorer Notes written by previous human denizens of the ARK from across the millennia, detailing the mysterious Island’s creatures and backstory.

Craft and build: Using any means necessary – survive, craft weapons, clothes, and items, and build shelters, villages, or even large cities.

Plant, harvest, build, level-up, and customize everything visually and functionally, including procedurally-generated RPG statistics for creatures, characters, resources, clothing, gear, and weapons, both primitive and modern.

Play alone or team up to survive: Team up with, or prey on, up to 50 other players in a large-scale multiplayer online first-person environment, or choose single player mode to test your mettle against the world solo.

Join a tribe: The ‘Tribe’ system encourages cooperation, by supporting dynamic parties to share resources, experience points, and re-spawn points.

Now, it’s claimed that this upcoming release will maintain a “true ARK experience,” but some concession will obviously have to be made so that it’s better suited for mobile devices. This means you can expect faster-paced gameplay and a unique user interface and specialized control setup for touchscreens. There will also be an optional upgrade system that allows survivors an easy way to acquire special in-game resources that help you progress faster, obtain certain buffs for periods of time, build special crafting structures, and bring your tames back from the dead.

Other than the faster gameplay and touchscreen support these few new additions sound a lot like a pay-to-win structure that rewards those that spend the most money. And sure, this may be the norm on the Play Store when it comes to FTP games, but I can’t help but feel that these features will ultimately ruin the experience.

Of course, it’s still exciting to see that ARK is coming to Android this spring, though I have to question the devs motives when clear pay-to-win mechanics are planned. I would kill for the chance to play a premium version of this upcoming mobile release, but sadly that is not the hand we are being dealt. Undoubtedly I will still give this one a closer look once it is out, but let’s just say my enthusiasm is pretty low.

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