Inside the Creation of the Newest Story Trailer for Ark: Survival Ascended



  • Director of Player One Trailers Gage Allen shares the level of attention and dedication to authenticity in the news trailer for Ark: Survival Ascended.
  • The trailer not only showcases in-game adventures and triumphs, but the unique stories that have emerged from the community, reinforcing the impact that individuals can have in shaping these virtual worlds.
  • You can experience the world of Ark: Survival Ascended today for Xbox Series X|S and Windows.

A few weeks ago during The Game Awards, Snail Games and Player One Trailers debuted a new story trailer for the recently released Ark: Survival Ascended remaster that was shot entirely using in-engine gameplay with the help of real players.

Designed to evoke a sense of nostalgia among veteran Survivors, Snail Games set out to create a visual narrative that would highlight the adventure of players who have helped shaped Ark over the past eight years. Not only in-game adventures and triumphs, but the unique stories that have emerged from the community, reinforcing the impact that individuals can have in shaping these virtual worlds. It’s more than just a game — it’s a living, evolving community of storytellers and adventurers.

Ark: Survival Ascended Screenshot

“It was incredibly important to us that we captured the essence of Ark that people fell in love with,” explains Director of Player One Trailers Gage Allen.long with the rest of his team, approached the project understanding what the Ark franchise means to its current fan base. From concept to completion, they managed all gameplay capture, writing, directing, and more to deliver a thrilling trailer.

For us, it was important to have a promo that highlights the work of our developers at Studio Wildcard. At the core of this endeavor is the seamless integration of cutting-edge technology, specifically the advanced graphics powered by Unreal Engine 5. This piece serves as a canvas, displaying the technical innovation and artistic expertise of our developers, elevating the world players have come to know. Player One Trailers were an ideal fit to capture the essence of advanced graphics, given their existing expertise in creating in-game story trailers.

Ark: Survival Ascended Screenshot

“There were a number of in-game things that were helpful when making this trailer,” Allen explains. “One is just how incredible the game looks. The visuals are stunning. We captured the trailer on max settings, and it was almost shocking to see how global illumination and the various features in UE5 brought a whole other layer to Ark. The foliage being dense, yet allowing small rays of sunlight to slightly illuminate the surroundings and reflect off the trees and grass, to the water having fluid simulations that interact with objects moving through it creating this dance of cresting waves, or flying through volumetric clouds that dynamically adjust based on the weather… they all add this amazing layer of total immersion that blended well with our short film-like capture style. The second thing would be using the capture tools in-game, one of them being photo mode, and pushing them to their absolute extremes. There was a degree of flexibility the tools gave us in creating great cinematic moments.”

Allen’s inspiration stemmed from the release of the Unreal Engine 5 remaster, featuring the iconic first map, The Island. Recognizing the emotional connection players already have with this world, it became paramount to craft a story and tone that resonated with the current Ark community and simultaneously captivated new players. To achieve this, an original story was penned, laying the foundation for the entire trailer.

Ark: Survival Ascended Screenshot

“The inspiration for the story came from a number of places, starting with my first run through of Ark back when the game launched in 2015,” says Allen who drew upon his personal experience with the franchise. “Like everyone else, I started without knowing anything about the Island, its creatures, or the layers Wildcard so brilliantly placed deep within the gameplay experience… My goal was to condense that feeling I had, the love and passion for the world, into something you could watch and hopefully start to feel as well from the trailer and narrative.

“The other layer of inspiration came from how older seasoned players may feel, those of us that played in 2015, now watching newer players explore The Island in Ascended. In a way, we’d almost be perceived as elders, those that came before… I thought that was a cool emotional take on an experience we all share in some form (with Ark).”

Ark: Survival Ascended Screenshot

The featured trailer narrates the journey of a Survivor waking up on The Island, eliciting the trials and tribulations of a first-time experience. It authentically portrays the familiar sights, creatures, and character progression cherished by Ark enthusiasts, all while spotlighting the enhancements introduced by Unreal Engine 5. Every frame of the trailer was shot entirely in-game by Player One Trailers, avoiding pre-scripted animations, camera splines, and replay tools. This commitment to real-time, live gameplay capture is a testament to their dedication to delivering an immersive and genuine experience.

“One of my favorite moments from the trailer has to be the journey of discovery we went on when experiencing this new version of The Island,” explains Allen. “We would capture all these intricate sequences on land in the jungles, but then stumble upon the mighty Redwoods that open up and humble you with the sheer scale of the trees there. (With our trailers) it can sometimes feel like making a documentary, and it’s one of my favorite parts because you need to know when to make the game do something you want, but equally so when to let the game completely surprise you and do its thing.

Ark: Survival Ascended Screenshot

“After writing, directing, and capturing game trailers for over a decade now, balancing the need for scripted moments and those that happen by sheer chance has by far been the best method of extracting the best possible results, at least for me. It also recreates that feeling of discovery that almost seems to come through with the final footage.”

To elevate the trailer further, Allen and his team undertook the challenge of remixing the iconic original score recognized from Ark Survival Evolved, fine-tuning sound mixing, and incorporating voiceover.

Ark: Survival Ascended Screenshot

Voice Actor Fred Tatasciore (Gears of War, StarCraft II, Overwatch), renowned for his work in gaming, lent his captivating narration to bring our Survivors’ experience to life.

“Narrating this trailer, it was a different experience because it is from a first-person perspective,” Tatasciore explains. “So, the feelings of desolation are present until the character begins ‘to learn from this island.’ I realized it was all about storytelling… not only talking about what this place is, but what it is to be a character within it, and all the struggles needed to survive. It is strangely and beautifully positive and invigorating by the end.”

Ark: Survival Ascended Screenshot

This meticulous attention added layers of depth and emotion to the trailer, creating a harmonious synergy between the auditory and visual elements. Player One Trailers and Snail Games’ commitment to authenticity and innovation has brought a renewed vibrancy to The Island.

“I hope they see it as a love-letter to the world of Ark and the journey we all started on many years ago, the same journey that many are starting on for the first time now with Ascended,” Allen says. “My hope for those watching that aren’t familiar with the game is that it gets them intrigued enough to step into the shoes of the main character in the trailer and see how they fare, to unravel the mystery of The Island and experience the feeling that made me fall in love with Ark all those years ago.”

You can experience the world of Ark: Survival Ascended today for Xbox Series X|S and Windows.

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ARK: Survival Ascended

Studio Wildcard



Respawn into a new dinosaur survival experience beyond your wildest dreams… as ARK is reimagined from the ground-up into the next-generation of videogame technology with Unreal Engine 5! You awake on a mysterious island, your senses overwhelmed by the blinding sunlight and brilliant colors bouncing off every surface around you, the azure waters of a verdant Island lapping at your bare feet. A deep roar echoes from the misty jungle, jolting you into action, and you stand up – not afraid, but intrigued. Are you ready to form a tribe, tame and breed hundreds of species of dinosaurs and other primeval creatures, explore, craft, build, and fight your way to the top of the food-chain? Your new world awaits… step through the looking-glass and join it!


– ARK: Survival Ascended has completely recreated and redesigned the artwork and worlds of ARK to take advantage of the latest in videogame technology, Unreal Engine 5, using high-end graphics features such as fully dynamic Global Illumination (“Lumen”), so that light bounces realistically of off surfaces and provides realistic reflections, and advanced mesh streaming (“Nanite”) of hundreds of millions of triangles for extreme detail.

– Advanced new physics systems such as dynamic water so that every creature creates waves, ripples, splashes, and bubbles as they move through fluids, and fully interactive physical foliage where every blade of grass, bush, and tree reacts to characters, explosions, projectiles, and physics objects. Knock down a tree, and see it crash into other trees and disturb all the foliage on its way down to smacking into the grass below! Detect an enemy moving sneakily through the grass as it shifts and sways in response to their presence. Demolish a building and watch the pieces break apart realistically, interacting with the grass and water as they fall.

– ARK: Survival Ascended includes access to all of ARK’s worlds, including Scorched Earth, Aberration, Extinction, ARK Genesis Part 1, ARK Genesis Part 2, and more. The Island is released now, with the subsequent expansion worlds to be added at no additional cost on a regular basis.

– The definitive survival experience returns better than ever: design your Survivor, form a tribe, and tame, train, breed & ride dinosaurs within a living ecosystem. Watch your food, water, temperature, and weather patterns. Slowly expand outwards as you harvest, build structures, farm crops, customize your visual designs, and proceed to explore to uncover the true nature of The Island and the worlds beyond.

– Thorough Quality of Life revamps in every area: redesigned User Interfaces, dynamic navigation for intelligent creature pathfinding, Wild Babies, Photo Mode, new Camera systems, new Map system, Tracking System, new Structures and Items, new Creatures, and much more.

– Cross-Platform Modding: Download & play new custom content created by players, including new maps, creatures, items, and game modes, through a dedicated new Mod-bowser directly within the game! Enjoy an endless stream of new ARK content as the creativity and talent of the community is fully unleashed for the first time ever across gaming platforms!

– Cross-Platform Multiplayer: form your online tribe across different gaming platforms as you work together to survive and thrive on the ARK!

– Supports public online multiplayer for up to 70 players, private-session multiplayer for up to 8 players, and local split-screen for 2 players.

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