Ark: Survival Evolved was announced back in June 2015, showcasing an open world game complete with a robust collection of dinosaurs coming to PC, Mac, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2016. The graphics, for a game that is still in development, are extremely impressive and the gameplay is phenomenal. But, we’ll get to all that. Here’s everything you need to know about Ark: Survival Evolved including its release date, platforms, gameplay information, best mods, videos and screenshots. Read next: Most anticipated games of 2016

Ark: Survival Evolved PS4 release date and pricing: Ark: Survival Evolved and Scorched Earth DLC now available for PS4

Ark: Survival Evolved PS4 release date: 6 December 2016

Originally, Ark: Survival Evolved was due for full release on PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 by June 2016 according to the developers via the Ark: Survival Evolved Steam page. However, as we mentioned at the time, it’s worth taking developer estimates with a pinch of salt as unseen delays can push back the release date time and time again – and it seems we were right. The full release was delayed again, this time until Winter 2016.

"ARK's success has increased our content goals and Early Access players have helped us raise our ambitions with their invaluable feedback," said Studio Wildcard co-founder Jesse Rapczak. "When we first announced, we said 70 dinos, now we’ll have over 100. We never anticipated adding modding, local multiplayer, split screen, or numerous other upcoming features. The game at launch will be far more robust than originally conceived, but it takes a little extra time to wrap it all up.

Following months of silence on the PS4 variant, Studio Wildcard announced that it would be released on 6 December 2016 in North America and Europe. The Ark: Survivor's Pack is now available across the US and Europe offering the base game, Survival Evolved, along with the desert-themed expansion, Scorched Earth. The PS4 variant also comes bundled with exclusive DLC, including a Bionic Gigantosaurus skin and a Manticore armour set. 

In terms of pricing, it costs $54.99 in the US, €49.99 in Europe and £39.99 in the UK. Those of us in the UK and the rest of Europe also have the option of buying the game separately, with the base game costing £29.99 (€34.99) and the expansion costing £15.99 (€19.99). According to Studio Wildcard, it's unable to sell the content as two standalone items in the US until Spring 2017.

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Ark: Survival Evolved Xbox One and PC release date: When will Ark be released for PC and Xbox One?

Back in June 2015 the developers announced that Ark: Survival would be coming to Steam as part of the Early Access Program, allowing gamers to play Ark while still in development. The gameplay was buggy to begin with but as time progressed and the game became ever more popular (with over 5 million sales at the time of writing), it became more stable, offering more in terms of gameplay than originally planned. You can find Ark: Survival Evolved on Steam, and it’ll set you back £22.99.

That’s not all, though – the developers announced months later that Ark: Survival Evolved would also make its way to the Xbox One as part of Microsoft’s “Game Preview” program (essentially the same as Steam Early Access). Xbox gamers should be happy to know that along with the full game, the Xbox One variant offered a handful of exclusive features including a bionic T-Rex and a Safari hat. It’s slightly more expensive than its PC counterpart though, costing £27.99 on the Microsoft Store.

We’re not sure of an exact official full release date for the Xbox One and PC variant, but we imagine it’ll be released at the same time as its Mac counterpart.

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Ark: Survival Evolved Gameplay: What is Ark: Survival Evolved?

So, what is Ark: Survival Evolved? It reminds us of a cross between Jurassic Park and Minecraft, where you start off with no clothes or weapons and you have to craft items, grow crops, research technologies and build shelters to protect yourself from the elements. It sounds simple but it’s not, thanks to other online players in the same situation as you, and, of course, wild dinosaurs roaming around.

The environment itself is vast, with many environments from swamps filled with Titanoboas and huge crocodiles, to snowy mountains and vast forests full of Velociraptors. It’s not just above ground either, as there are many caverns to explore and even underwater caves (if you can survive the marine life). By exploring the environment, you’ll develop your in-game ARK map, as well as being able to add custom points of interest. You’ll come across random creatures, as well as Explorer Notes that have been left behind by past explorers.

Some dinosaurs can be tamed though, and you should experiment with different kinds of plants and meat as they all have varying effects on different dinosaurs. Or, if that’s a bit tame for you, you can always weaken it, knock it unconscious and then nurture it until it’s healthy again. The options are there; you just have to find the style that’s right for you. You can fly a Pterodactyl, race through forests on the back of a Raptor or even destroy an enemy base on the back of a Gigantosaurus.

You have to keep on top of your food and water levels, as without it you’ll die. Different foods will have different effects on you just as it varies with dinosaurs, and all physical actions come at a cost of food and water – even walking around. The changing weather pattern will also have an effect on your water and health levels, as hotter weather will decrease your water levels faster as you become dehydrated in the sun.

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As we mentioned earlier, it’s an online game and is essentially PvP (Player vs Player). You can choose to work with other players in your world, or go to war with them. If you decide to work together, groups of players can form tribes, allowing anyone in your tribe to command or ally your pets. Also, don’t worry about dying, as your tribe will be able to respawn at any of your home spawn points (as long as there’s a bed).  With regards to communication, you can chat to players via proximity text and voice chat, or long-distance radio once you’ve crafted them.