Talking the New Ark: Survival Evolved Mod Kit with Jesse Rapczak

Following over 1 Million sales within its first 30 days, Ark: Survival Evolved is set to release a special Dev Kit to fans, today. In conjunction with this special event we managed to catch up with Jesse Rapczak, co-founder of Studio Wildcard, to talk about the upcoming mod kit, and the uses it will have for aspiring mod creators.


With the official announcement dropping later today, Studio Wildcard is excited to announce their upcoming Dev Kit for Ark: Survival Evolved. But, this dev kit is more than just a mod kit according to Jesse Rapczak, the studio’s co-founder. During a special interview we learned that Studio Wildcard is partnering with Epic Games to bring their complete dev kit, which uses Unreal Engine 4, to fans of the game. This dev kit will feature complete tools to allow players to completely mix-up, create, and even completely change the way that the game work.

Jesse even went on to say during our interview that “You could switch out all of the content throughout the game if you wanted to, and create a whole new survival adventure game that uses Ark’s framework but has a completely different subject matter, completely different creatures, and a totally different story if you wanted to.”

The developers feel this is a huge deal, because they aren’t gating off any assets from the community. Players will be able to access all the assets that have been used in the game, or considered in the game. Jesse did mention that some of them might be unfinished, and uncooked for the game, but creators will have complete access to everything that the developers have created and placed within Unreal Engine at this point. We also learned that they will be hosting several tutorials and threads within the Unreal Engine help forums, where experienced users of the Unreal Engine will be able to help out new users as they move into creating their own mods.

Jesse also assured me that the mod kit will be receiving constant updates just like the base game, so players will be seeing constant additions to the assets available, as well as constant updates to any possible bugs found within the system. Jesse believes this will help to keep the game working well with mods, and that this will allow creators to easily cook new versions of their mod when they are needed.

This new era of content for Ark: Survival evolved is exciting to Jesse and the other developers, and of course, with Ark set to release on Xbox One sometime in the future we had to ask – are mods coming to Xbox One? Jesse’s response was less than helpful, however, as he stated that: “We haven’t really gotten very deep with Microsoft on those discussions, other than saying that we’re really interested in supporting that however possible. So we don’t have anything to announce yet, but I can say we’re extremely interested in that being the case.” So as it stands right now, the coin is still up in the air and we aren’t sure where it will land just yet.

So far select members of the community have had access to the dev kit, and already there have been things like completely new maps and new gamemodes popping up. As the mod kit releases, and the months go on, it’s very likely we’ll begin to see new creatures, new gamemodes, islands, stories, and possibly even new games which have been crafted on Ark’s framework. Of course, the developers have no issue with this, and Jesse even stated that “That’s really what gets us excited, if people want to go and make a totally different game out of ark, please have at it!”

As we brought the interview to a close we couldn’t help but wonder how mods would affect the daily gameplay. Would players be able to install mods and then join a server and just run rampant with their newfound powers? Or would Studio Wildcard be policing the mods, and creations that players could add to their game? According to Jesse:

“People won’t be able to mod the game and then connect to a server that isn’t running that mod. We don’t plan to police the type of work that people are doing. In order for those mods to actually effect anyone else, those people would have to actually elect into playing that mod on a server. It isn’t something that could be applied to a different version of the game.”

This means that when people join a map with mods it will automatically download any mods from Steam Workshop and install them so that you can play on the server. Players will be able to see what mods are running in the server description, and they won’t have to worry about being blind-sided by someone using a mod that allows them to cheat.

The modding tools will release later today, and players will be able to jump right into the fray and begin crafting their own dinosaurs, gamemodes, and islands before the day is out.

Guides Editor

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has been exploring the world of video games for as long as he can remember. He enjoys everything from large-scale RPGs to small, bite-size indie gems and everything in between.

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