Yesterday we got the shock reveal that Ark: Survival Evolved, Studio Wildcard's open-world survival sim (with added dinosaurs, naturally), is headed to Nintendo Switch sometime in the Autumn. Abstraction Games is the studio behind the port, and in a revealing interview the dev reveals that in terms of performance, Switch isn't that far behind its base Sony and Microsoft counterparts.
"Switch is not as powerful as a PS4 or Xbox One. Everyone knows that. Having said that, the difference isn't as big as the general perception would have you believe, "comments Ralph Egas to GamesIndustry.Biz. "In some locations you need to downsize a bit on the distance you're able to view," he adds. "But not as much as you'd think compared with Xbox One and PS4. Obviously, in terms of Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, that's a different story. But compared with the base platforms, Switch is not that bad."
According to Egas, the real issue is the carts - more specifically how expensive 32GB carts are. So Abstraction has to find a way to make it run on a 16GB cart, without impacting the core experience. "It's a crazy ratio we're talking about," Egas reveals. "However, thankfully, there are a lot of opportunities for reduction without changing anything anyone will notice. Another thing we can do is do a cartridge version and then do staggered downloads to make the game complete. That's probably the hardest part. Finding all the new technicalities and quirks that you get with a new platform."
According to the developer, the studio surprised Wildcard by providing a version of Ark on Switch that "you could almost send for certification," when it was sent over to be shown at GDC 2018. Progress on the Switch version is going really well, and the team is on track to bring the game, in-full, to Switch later this year.
What do you make of the Ark port? Do you think it'll really run as well at launch as it did in the GDC reveal? What deals are Abstraction Games, Panic Button and other port-focused studios making with the Devil to get these games running so well? Let us know in the comments section below...