During Epic Games’ keynote at GDC 2018 it was announced that the Studio Wildcard-developed action-adventure survival game ARK: Survival Evolved will get a Nintendo Switch port in Fall 2018.
Here’s a look at the Nintendo Switch version reveal at GDC 2018:
The port will be handled by the Netherlands-based developer Abstraction Games.
Here are some quotes from Gamindustry.biz, starting with Abstraction CEO Ralph Egas:
“We did not expect to get a keynote announcement. But then again our client didn’t expect us to deliver a build that is this advanced already.
“I got an email from Jeremy [Stieglitz, Studio Wildcard], who said our build was so robust and impressive that they’ve decided to demonstrate it live during Epic’s keynote. That’s big news for us.”
“Most companies usually have a Plan A and a Plan B, and it’s Plan B that they’re banking on. But we delivered Plan A, and they didn’t expect it. They wanted a first playable at this point, but we actually have created something you could almost send for certification. That’s how we try to operate. They didn’t expect that. And that’s why they’re all of a sudden shifting gear and doing an entire presentation at GDC.”
Egas shared a bit on the WiiWare game Potpourii in 2008, his company’s first game:
“It’s not really worth mentioning.It was our first game. It was a puzzle game. It was horrible. The graphics were good, but they were actually created elsewhere.”
On bringing ARK: Survival Evolved to Nintendo Switch:
“Switch is not as powerful as a PS4 or Xbox One. Everyone knows that,” Egas says. “Having said that, the difference isn’t as big as the general perception would have you believe.
“In some locations you need to downsize a bit on the distance you’re able to view. 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.”
“Performance is not really the issue. The issue instead is in the size of carts. The 32GB carts are expensive, you shouldn’t be wanting to do that. So we need to fit everything on 16GB, whereas the standard game on PS4 is much, much larger. It’s a crazy ratio we’re talking about. 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.”
“Of course, with the runtime memory footprint, there’s not as much as PS4 or Xbox One, so that means you need to reduce the content that is being used at any one time. Partially that’s a case of having fewer dinos here or there, and downsizing on actual content experience. But that’s only a bit. The rest is just from clever compression algorithms.”
ARK: Survival Evolved is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It’ll release on Nintendo Switch in Fall 2018.