The developers at Snail Games have taken advantage of VR’s relatively rapid growth to create a new title called ARK PARK which was recently shown at GDC 2018. The game is a spin-off from the company’s ARK Survival Evolved franchise and takes advantage of the technology to allow users a chance to explore an open-world dinosaur theme park. That includes over 100 dinosaurs spread out over 6 different areas, each with their own biome. Best of all, the experience is available for PSVR, Oculus, HTC VIVE, or on the Steam game store for Windows’ mixed reality platform at just $39.99 – with the exception of the PlayStation version, which costs ten dollars more.
Of course, the experience isn’t all about rides and attractions, either. Players will need to explore the park to collect eggs and raise their own dinosaurs. Dino DNA can also be collected and used as a kind of currency or to upgrade weapons and tools since not every dinosaur is going to be friendly. Despite the open-world, story-free nature of the title, players will need to periodically defend key infrastructure and the park itself from its inhabitants from time to time. That’s a more standard feature from earlier titles in the franchise which predominantly center around those kinds of interactions but that’s not the only easter egg tied in with those. In fact, thanks to a unique feature called Dino Export, players of those earlier titles will be able to import their prehistoric companions from those titles into ARK Park. Every aspect of those will be synced over, too, from coloration to personality and behavior. As of this writing, there are 10 different dinosaur species supported, with more and support for PSVR imports “coming soon.”
Having said that, this title is definitely more about exploration. That’s made all the more clear by the fact that the company showcased its event with a video featuring an 8-year-old autistic child named Jason. The boy’s father had requested a pre-release copy of the game to share with Jason but the studio went a step further and brought the experience to them in the U.K. for a more guided experience with the title. Beyond the more standard interactions in the game, Jason was able to interact with dinosaurs in a virtual environment, with the freedom to just explore.