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...
Neat. If it's a good port, I might pick it up.
Of course not is going to work as bad as in any other system, honestly, I see a disaster of epic proportions with this game.
"the real issue is the carts - more specifically how expensive 32GB carts are. ...."It's a crazy ratio we're talking about," Egas reveals."
Come on Nintendo. Get this sorted.
@electrolite77 Honestly if manufacturing of higher capacity cards are actually that expensive then I don't see anything Nintendo can do about it other than wait a little longer when manufacturing costs go down. We're talking about actual silicon carts here and not cheap Blu-ray discs. Unless maybe majority of Switch users would be okay inserting Blu-ray discs on their systems. ha!
Yeah the biggest comment here which is harming us consumers is the price of the large carts....
Games like Zelda and MO prove that the gap isn’t as big as Sony fanboys would have you believe....
Nintendo need to make the large carts accessible at a decent price - it would make a massive difference
@Stocksy Easier said than done tbh. Making relatively new, small, silicon-based media is pretty expensive. Even SD card tech is having a hard time lowering value. Unless Nintendo is willing to take a loss per cart made, we'll just have to wait for costs to go down on their own in time.
@Zyph if that leads to more third party games they should eat the loss until they're able to drive the prices down. They have enough money in the bank to do that
So, is this ONLY multiplayer or is there a full single player campaign?
The cartridges are more of a time issue to be fair.
Nothing I can see Nintendo do about the prices right now, especially not if the production of the carts is entirely outsourced to another company.
This technology, albeit not brand new, is still fresh - especially to a wide market like this. It will take time for costs to lower.
As for which developers support the system with games - I don't think this affects a lot. Indie developers who can't afford a mass of larger carts usually make games sized much smaller than a full-scale game (this game is a rare case), whereas bigger developers would not have an issue with investing into a bigger cartridge because money wouldn't be a big issue. Considering the Switch's rapidly growing userbase I think selling games regardless of cartridge cost is very profitable.
It's a type of game that got popular with PC gamers. I used to play these kinds of games, but it does get quite repetitive and annoying after a while.
Pretty much, it is only multiplayer (to my knowledge), and you expand on online servers in a big map and it's a kind of sandbox.
Personally, I wouldn't recommend getting this game if you're looking for a rich experience. However, if you wanna just goof around with your friends for a little fun - go ahead and try it out. It's really not easy to explain the genre, you'd have to try it first to see if it floats your boat. I've invested hundreds of hours into games similar to this a couple years back but nowadays I can barely touch them.
What the heck Nintendo. It feels like everyone is suffering with the Switch tax. Pls fix this. We need cheaper and larger carts...
Not sure about the feasibility of this, but I do like the enthusiasm. To quote an old New Yorker proverb we like to say in these instances, “put up or shut up”. But I most certainly am interested if this work out well.
Larger cartridges too expensive. Trimming a game down to fit on smaller cart. What, is it 1992 and the SNES? Come on Nintendo, sort it out.
@readyletsgo There is single player. i've played it for like 150+- hours on pc. Its not an campaign though, Its just a survival game like minecraft so no story hope this helped
HA HA HA HA HA.....it runs like absolute crap on PC for years and they have zero competence to fix those performance problems!
Then they screwed people over by launching a paid expansion, while the game was still in early access, instead of fixing the problems first in their base game!
How the heck do they think they gonna run it on the Switch?
Run it at a resolution of 200x100 pixels?
Seems they haven’t learned a thing from the earlier backlash and continue to screw people over with an ordinary cash grab!
I hope Nintendo tests and verifies this game before release and stop the release when they find out the game can’t actually run on the console.
N needs to give them away. but N doesn't have much sense so yeah.
i don't buy the big issue is carts though. the throughput on the tegra is very low. memory bandwidth and all of that. coupled with it's low speed portable and yeah; maybe if N put it in a box with active cooling the tegra wouldn't be too far down from a vanilla xb1 but in a portable format (slim tablet form factor docked or not) it's still throttled.
They should eat some of the cost. In the long run it's better for them to get as much support as possible as quickly as possible.
If 3rd parties think 32GB cards are too expensive, then what makes them think that the upcoming 64GB cartridges will be used?
People don't seem to expect the Switch to pull 4K or 120fps virtual reality.
As long as the games look the way they were intended it's satisfactory, and to that end, most developers seem pleased with the power the system provides.
Because performance suffers across the board
That's what they did with Xenoblade X. It's actually a fantastic idea, but I can see many people complaining about developers being lazy by downgrading textures rather than optimizing their game.
As someone else said, there IS a single player game. Its pretty much you against the world, but everything from the multiplayer is available in single player mode. No real story to it...just build and survive...but its still fun. I'm not sure if a single player character can be ported into a multiplayer game though...but if it can, it would have to be with just whats on the character and nothing in your base or anything...because there would be no real way to port a whole base over...unless maybe personal online worlds? I don't know. The big problem for the online with me, was if you go away from the game for a while...don't expect any of your base to be left when you come back. Buildings become destructible by other online players after a time...so...you go offline for a week or so...and come back to find your base dismantled and someone else living in your place. It could get frustrating. I am however looking forward to having this on Switch (I have it on PS4) and having the single player mode portable. That should be a lot of fun.
@readyletsgo It's always online on PC and you play on a big island so therefore generally there will be other players, but I played it solo alot and put in around 80 hours on PC, it's funner with friends though. A couple of my friends have put 200-300 hours in, and since I quit they've added a ton more dino's and content.
Amateur developer says amateur things. Been involved in two switch ports so far. I can honestly say that this sucker even without storage restrictions is a bummer to put anything that takes advantage of base ps4 on the damned thing. Switch is a cool little machine, the realization of what Nvidia shield is and what vita should have been had Sony not tried the gimmick game. There is a lot that just isn't doable on switch since it already struggles and has been put through the optimizing blender a few times. You'll just be squeezing blood from a stone. The system ram is half that of a PS4, that's more than just downsizing for carts, thats downsizing for memory. CPU isn't on par either so more complicated environments than ark will struggle and need to be down sized as well to keep up frame rate. Then there is GPU fill rate and the overall floating point calculations per second it can handle. I like the tegra x1, been working with it for awhile, before switch was even on my desk. There is no way that chip belongs in the same arena with that hardware configuration as the base systems. Continue to expect what you've been getting, some games will get ported, those that are will be reduced within reason, others will be a challenge not worth the effort. Others just flat out impossible.
@dougphisig awesome, thanks for that. I'll give it a miss so, not into open world multiplayer games.
Single player, a dying breed.
@NotSoCryptic Mind fixing up your word salad so it's actually something resembling anything someone can consume? Thanks. That big block is kinda hard to read with no spaces between paragraphs.
@Zyph I'd be fine paying any extra $10 for a large cart, if it meant we could get something like RE:Revelations 1&2 on a single cartridge - no download needed.
@readyletsgo think Minecraft on Jurassic Park without the blocky graphics.
Anyone who says "Poor Nintendo" or whatever on the case of the Carts is just mis-informed or basically clueless, this is 100% in their court, this was their decision to go with the cartridge form hence it is up to them to make sure their publishers get the proper Carts for distribution and if N has to eat some of that cost so be it. This $10 extra for hard copies is just BS...
@StuOhQ For convenience sake I'm fine with that as well.
If it is done good which I hope it is will definitely be getting a copy from what I've seen and read this sounds and looks better than Monster Hunter to me .
This is amazing news!
I love this game, almost unlimited things to do, It is worth noting though there are super complicated mechanics and controls, zero tutorials or explanations, no campaign or anything, you can lose months of work overnight, and it only runs slightly better than mediocre on my ps4 pro. BUT, it’s a really fun game if you have imagination and like to set personal goals for yourself like , I’m going to tame a super hard dino, in going to build a really big base, I’m not going to accidentally die on my pteranodon 200ft in the air and have to go all the way across the map to find my pteranodon and my stuff. Ps. If you don’t find your stuff in a like 30 min, whatever you were carrying is gone forever. Be thankful it has a big bright green beacon over it, it used to just be a tiny little brown bag and you had to remember exactly where you died
Like I always say, all developers are not created equal. Though the hardware may not be equal, there are those that look at that as a great wall and those that look at it as a great wall to climb. My respect, of course, goes to those that like a challenge and conquer it rather than complain about impossibilities, but that's just my two cents.
if they can get it to run on a phone not a stretch it runs on the Switch. DOOM made it clear how far behind the Switch is to the PS4/X1. That ship has sailed.
Kind of a weird thing for them to say performance isn't the issue, as the game's performance on PC isn't too great either, especially for a game that looks this ugly. The PS4 port looks pretty damn mediocre too. I think that they've got their work cut out for them.
And keep in mind that the Switch port of Doom was an excellent technical effort. I don't think we're likely to see a lot of third-party Switch titles that are optimised as well as that title.
seems the costs of these game cards 32gb or higher are the problem for developers and even us when we have to download parts of some games before even playing. Nintendo LOWER THE PRICES IT BENEFITS EVERYONE!!
@Varkster @jpfan1989 @JarnoZZ it does help. Thanks guys!
"So Abstraction has to find a way to make it run on a 16GB cart"
Why don’t they just ask Nintendo for help? Nintendo has really good compression tools, evident by the fact that their games on Switch have small file sizes.
@Docx360 . Yep, i cant wait ,setting goals in games can be super fun when u really enjoy the game alot😄. Anyways.. I love playing these survival/craft games ( especially the crafting part ) & i have a few games like this already, for instance portal knights and lego worlds. You can literally play these games forever! im not sure how anyone could find them boring & it was really fun making houses & stuff, Oh and the fact that most of these have daily/ and or holiday events are neat 😎
I love it!
@Jeronan Its totally assinine that u say they screwed people over with making DLC when DLC is a totaly optional thing in video games 🤔 U didnt have to buy it if u thought th game was incomplete, yet u continued to eveb buy their stuff when u felt so strongly about how they handled things. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. I see alot of this kind of hypocrisy these days with gamers lol, they seem to turn the blame on to others, instead of themselves. ' Well, its totaly not my fualt for buying DLC from a crappy game!!.its their fault!! totaly their own fault for my lack of control etc etc..
@Geekster In the case it was total assinine from the devs themselves, since it’s a small indie team.
We are not talking about Activision or EA here!
Ark was still in Beta, full of bugs and issues and then yes... it was a huge slap in the face of all the people that supported them, to release a paid expansion, when the base game was still in Beta on Steam and not officially released!
LOL... and it came out, looking like a blurry, incomplete piece of tripe. "N64 graphics" i think was the description...
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