Ark: Survival Evolved


Studio Wildcard


2016 – present


Open-world, survival, sandbox

ARK: Survival Evolved is an open world, survival sandbox game played in first person. The game does not follow a set story line and does not give player instructions, leaving the exploration of what the game has to offer to the player. As you explore official maps, you will come across ‘Explorer’ and ‘Dossier’ notes left by the Ark’s creators, giving insight into the backstory of the Ark’s creators, and their experiences of observing the Ark’s inhabitants.

The Ark is a unique planet, an amalgamation of prehistoric planet Earth, and new unusual alien ‘Tek’ technologies, that you must learn to overcome using the natural resources around you. Played Solo or online with friends, Ark has a number of different environments in a range of difficulties to master; from the snowy arctic, fiery trenches, tropical swamps, vast deserts, underwater.

Using resources found in the world around you, survivors must create tools and build structures in order to tame dinosaurs and stay one step ahead of the environment. Using resources found in the world around you, survivors must create tools and build structures in order to tame dinosaurs and stay one step ahead of the environment. Dinosaurs and creatures can be bred too, to inherit stronger statistics to help you on your journeys (with some exciting colour and statistic mutations too). Different environments are home to different natural resources such as obsidian, crystal, metal, thatch, wood and keratin. Maintaining survivor health is also essential: players must ensure their survivor has access to drinking water, safe food and warm clothes, the need for which changes depending on the different environments.

Ark: Survival Evolved launch trailer

What we think you can learn from Ark: Survival Evolved

ARK: Survival Evolved offers the opportunity for learning through solo or team based, online play. Solo play develops player’s  individual critical thinking skills, allowing them to investigate at their own pace, learning from their own mistakes and learning the processes involved with consequential decision making. The team-based elements of ARK, however, allow for the development of teamwork and communication and social skills.

 The game allows for the exploration of different environments that reflect those found in the real world, giving players the opportunity to explore the physical ecological differences between environments as well as the different creatures that have evolved to suit these places.

Different materials can be found across the maps, which require harvesting in order to successfully create recipes, furniture, tools and structures. This allows players to learn the value of resource management, particularly as different materials hold different weighted values which may become too heavy for one player to carry, as well as organisation and planning. This can also be extended to teamwork, where players can learn the importance of delegating task to others to complete group tasks and projects more efficiently.

National Curriculum links


Prehistoric theme of the game gives way to ideas around evolution and environmental characteristics, and the creatures that are suited to these environments. Many of the creatures found n the Ark are representative of those once found on Earth. The also game features breeding and characteristic inheritance.

KS4 National Curriculum:

• Ecosystems
• Evolution, inheritance, and variation


    The building component of the game replies on shapes, measurements and constructing 3D structures. The resources can also be found in different quantitates and structures can be built in multiples which relies on understandings of ratios and multiplication for resource collection.

    KS4 National Curriculum:
    • Ratio, proportion and rates of change
    • Geometry and measures


    The maps consist of many different natural landscapes: arctic, deserts, jungles, swamps, oceans, and includes different land formations such as mountains, volcanoes, rock formations, beaches, which can all be explored in the game. The map feature also offers opportunities for map reading skills to be developed.

    KS3 and 4 Geography National Curriculum:
    • Geographical skills and fieldwork
    • Human and physical geography

    Design and Technology

    Ark: Survival Evolved offers the opportunity to explore varied materials and their uses. Players can freely build structures with various levels of resistance to damage. Food recipes and ingredients can be discovered around the maps which could be replicated in Food Tech lessons.

    KS3 National Curriculum:
    • Design
    • Evaluate
    • Technical knowledge
    • Cooking and nutrition

    • Build a base.
    • Tame a dinosaur.
    • Form a tribe with other players.
    • Explore the highest and lowest point of the maps.
    • Explore the different environments
    • Collect 5 explorer or dossier notes

    • Different creatures are built with features to help them survive in different environments.
    o Explore the different environments and note which characteristics help the creatures to survive.
    o Can you find how different characteristics help different creatures depending on their environment? E.g. The snowy environments are home to Wooley mammoths – how does the Mammoth’s thick fur help it to thrive in the cold? Would a Titanoboa (big snake) be able to survive in this environment? Which environment would it be best suited to?
    o Can you design your own creature with features to help it survive in an environment of your choice?
    o What is the reasoning behind choosing different characteristics?
    • Breed two dinosaurs to develop statistics in their offspring.
    o Can you find the different traits inherited from each parent?
    o Think of ways this can be applied to agricultural farming – which traits would you look to selectively breed for different purposes?
    o Can you name traits in prehistoric dinosaurs that exist in animals that exist today?
    o What can this tell you about evolution?

    • Assign measurements to certain structures (e.g., square walls, large walls, foundational structures). Build using the specified structures and then calculate the area or size of their structure using the measurements given.
    • Different structures require a certain number of varied materials in order to be made. With an allocated number of materials, calculate how many of each structure you would be able to make.

    Design and technology:
    • Resistant materials: different structures and clothing items can take different amounts of damage.
    o What can be learned about the different properties of these materials?
    o Which are strongest and which are weakest?
    o Can you name things in our real world that use these types of materials?
    o What are the benefits of using these materials over others?
    • Build a structure in-game meeting given specifications and requirements.
    • Food tech: discover Ark recipes hidden around the map. Have a go at replicating the recipes in real life.
    o If you had to cook this meal for your family or tribemates, how would you improve the recipe to improve its nutritional value or taste?
    • Design: Explore the map and choose your favourite dinosaur creature. Create your own version of an ‘explorer’ or ‘dossier’ note.
    o What information would you include?
    o How would you depict the creature to express its behaviour or temperament (e.g., is it aggressive, friendly, does it run fast or slow)?