Everything we know about Ark 2, the Vin Diesel game

Vin Diesel is an angry, powerful dad.

The 2020 Game Awards was filled with big reveals, from a new Perfect Dark game to Sephiroth appearing in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Perhaps the most surprising moment came in the form of Ark II. Viewers were perplexed when Geoff Keighley tossed to a world premiere trailer that featured none other than Vin Diesel fighting dinosaurs and monsters in the jungle.

While Ark hasn’t been a household name in gaming previously, the high-profile announcement and Hollywood star power positions the sequel to be a much bigger deal than its predecessor. For the uninitiated, Ark is a survival game where players roam through a dinosaur-filled island. Ark 2 seems like it’ll double down on that idea with a stronger narrative element. While we wait for more details to emerge, here’s everything we know about Ark 2 so far.

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When is the Ark 2 release date?

The game’s first trailer didn’t offer any sort of date, but a December 14, 2020 blog post from Microsoft revealed that the game is currently scheduled for a 2022 launch.

The first game in the series, Ark: Survival Evolved, wasn’t your typical big-budget release. The game opted for an early access launch in 2015. The full version of the game didn’t drop until 2017. It’s unclear if the same release strategy is being implemented for Ark 2.

Is there an Ark 2 trailer?

So far, there’s one cinematic trailer out for the game and it’s a wild watch. Captured entirely in-engine, the story-focused trailer features Vin Diesel slaying monsters, outrunning a T-rex, and discovering a cave filled with futuristic technology. According to Microsoft, the game will continue Ark’s “eons-spanning story of humankind’s evolution” while still delivering a sandbox experience like the first game. But beyond hints from the trailer, the actual story remains elusive.

Is Ark 2 an Xbox exclusive?

Following the game’s announcement, Microsoft revealed that Ark 2 is a "console launch exclusive" for Xbox Series X|S. That makes sense considering Microsoft’s relationship with the first game. Ark: Survival Evolved was a launch exclusive on Xbox in 2015 and later added to Game Pass in 2019. The game was recently optimized for Microsoft’s new consoles.

The use of “console launch exclusive” leaves the door open for other platforms. A PlayStation 5 version could still be in the works, but it won't be released at launch. Launch exclusives tend to only remain exclusive to one console for about a year these days, so it could come to Sony’s console in 2023. “Console launch” labels also tend to exclude PC versions, so it’s possible that it will be available there at launch too.

Why is Ark 2 a Vin Diesel game?

Vin Diesel stars as a dinosaur-killing dad.Studio Wildcard

Fast & Furious veteran Vin Diesel is heavily involved in the project, both on-screen and behind the scenes. He plays Santiago, a freedom fighter who will appear both in the game and the upcoming Ark animated series. In the game’s trailer, it’s clear that he’s playing a major role in the game’s story, though it’s less clear whether or not players will actually control him considering that the first Ark game features a character creator.

Beyond that, Vin Diesel is also working on the game himself. The actor is joining developer Studio Wildcard as the “President of Creative Convergence” on the project. If that sounds surprising, remember that Vin Diesel has been heavily involved in the gaming world for quite a while now. The actor founded developer Tigon Studios, which created several Chronicles of Riddick games and the recent Fast & Furious Crossroads.

Studio Wildcard CEO Doug Kennedy explained Diesel’s involvement to The Hollywood Reporter: "An immensely talented actor and producer, Vin is also an accomplished gamer who has played 1000’s of hours of ARK: Survival Evolved," Kennedy said. "He understands the game intimately and is providing direct feedback to the development process. With last night’s reveal of the ARK sequel and animated TV series, Vin will be involved with each as we look to expand the ARK franchise even further, now and into the future."

Ark II is currently in development.