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ARKs are space stations posing as artificial, self-sustainable environments in ARK: Survival Evolved.
Maps[edit | edit source]
Currently, there are 7 official ARKs, 3 of which are canon and 4 of which are non-canon, as well as 3 additional maps:
- The Island, an island ARK.
- Scorched Earth, a barren desert ARK.
- Aberration, a malfunctioned, subterranean ARK.
- The Center, a region-divided island ARK.
- Ragnarok, a giant island ARK.
- Valguero, an expansive land-locked ARK.
- Crystal Isles, a mysterious ARK dotted with crystals.
- Extinction is not an ARK but rather, an area on the corrupted Earth, that houses Proto-ARKs.
- Genesis: Part 1 is more of a simulation rather than an ARK.
Lore[edit | edit source]
In the 22nd century, two superpowers had mastered Element-based technology (referred to as Tek) - the United Republic of Earth (URE) and the Terran Federation (Feds). For reasons that are still unclear, the two factions were drawn into a war that ultimately consumed them both. HLN-A described both nations strangely having identical cultures and ideologies and their conflict as two dogs fighting over the last scrap of meat on a carcass. Over the course of the conflict, element grew to critical masses at alarming rates. As a result, Element spread across the planet, and natural disasters ravaged the environment and killed its inhabitants. In the aftermath, very few landmarks and monuments remained intact, with most traces of the old world consumed by rapidly-growing veins of Element. One notable surviving landmark is the city of Sanctuary, featured in Extinction. This is summarized in Helena's abstract dream in her Extinction explorer note #25 about a purple figure ripping a red molten heart from another stone figure. When the heart stopped beating, shadows rose from the purple figure and began to destroy everything.
An ARK is a space station intended to house living organisms such as Human, Creatures, and Plants. These ARKs were launched prior to a global-level extinction event in which Element wiped out Earth's Human population. They are incredible feats of human engineering, kilometres-wide mobile space stations housing vast vaults of genetic information, cloning devices, and terraforming technology. In their dormant state, they wait in Earth orbit, simulating a diverse ecosystem by controlling onboard climate and animal populations. The dome that protects this false ecosystem from the void of space also doubles as an artificial horizon, masking the station's true nature with a blue sky and an artificial day/night cycle. Humans are deterred from reaching the edge of this artificial horizon by methods that look like natural boundaries. On The Island, inhabitants are contained by an encircling sea of dangerous predators. On Scorched Earth, this is accomplished by cultivating Deathworms.
For an unknown period of time, the ARKs awaited an activation signal from Earth. The stations are programmed to perform a controlled descent in response to this signal, touching down on the planet's surface. On landing, containment forcefields and artificial horizons deactivate, unleashing the ARK's inhabitants. Each station is a giant seed built to bloom over the Earth's wasteland, its terraforming systems sweeping away the Element infestation. Its terraforming systems are triggered by an order called the Reseed Protocol that calls the ARKs to return back to Earth's surface. However, the Reseed Protocol is blocked by an another piece of criteria: the Element Toxicity Rating.
Curiously, although designed to repopulate the planet, modern Earth species are almost entirely absent from every known ARK. Their creators used each model as a whimsical genetic playground, featuring new species that are either heavily modified or completely fabricated. Scorched Earth, a desert ARK, is a breeding ground for wyverns and other fantastical monsters. The Island, the closest known ARK to a 'pure' Earth ecosystem, features modified versions of animals from across prehistory unnaturally mixed together.
The ARKs' strange quirks do not stop at their animal populations. Their builders discovered a hidden part of the brain called an 'engrammic matrix', which stored information in some human bodies even after years of decay. Personalities and memories were recreated for people who had been dead for centuries or even millennia. These people were set loose in the ARKs with no idea of where they were, or how much time had passed.
Every human that is on the ARK have a strange implant in their left wrist in the shape of a prism. This implant somehow acts as a medium between two languages by translating the speaker's language to the listener's language so the listener completely understands what the speaker is actually saying.
ARKs are powered by the Obelisk, and each ARK contains at least one Guardian. In game, the power of the obelisks are shown in the Extinction ending cutscene when the obelisks and their station released enough energy to cause a shockwave that levels the nearby remains of the city of Sanctuary. The obelisks beginning to shine brightly is similar to what happened in the Scorched Earth city of Nosti as both Raia and John Dahkeya notice that the obelisks are shining brighter than normal, and humming with more energy at a much greater intensity before the city sank into the sand.
Homo Deus[edit | edit source]
Homo Deus, meaning "same god" or more literally "god-man" from the Latin and Greek roots, are conscious entities that watch over the ARKs. According to HLN-A, they are energy-based beings who live in a tangential reality and were an option of escape for humanity. The technology of Element, the Genesis Simulation, and the ARKs were likely developed from the same principals; and thus the Homo Deus were capable of integrating with the ARKs. These beings can rarely resurrect Human. A notable one, The One Who Waits/Helena, guides the survivor through The Island, Scorched Earth, and Aberration to Extinction. With Element prolonging the ARK's time in orbit, this caused the Homo Deus to lose themselves. Helena is the last Homo Deus whose mind hasn't crumbled yet. While being all powerful and all-knowing, Homo Deus have other abilities:
- Being able to see the entire universe behind what Helena describes to be a pane of glass
- Overall, their ability to see so much at the same time helped those who built the ARKs.
- Have power that tends to the ARKs in which all of them share to balance all of them.
- Can interact with the physical world by touching survivor's minds and making things to help them. Helena leading Diana Altaras to Mei Yin and making HLN-A are perfect examples.
- Have the ability to be present in many places at once, seeing millions upon millions of things at once with the highest detail possible
- After Helena ascended to Homo Deus, Helena had been present in many places at once
- Helena doesn't know how much time has passed while testing on survivors in the ARKs so they can cheat death.
- Helena had been guiding Mei Yin and Diana to Arat Prime.
- Helena has been guiding the player all the way down to Extinction.
- Helena appears in front of the survivor and somewhere else on Earth where the sun is rising since the player sees the sun is setting.
- Helena noted that she doesn't know how much time has passed ever since she has ascended. Where a typical person lives a day, her ability to see and experience entire time streams (i.e. the beginning to the end of the universe) as singular moments may have allowed Helena's human mind to live millions of millennia in a single day. This is likely what causes the Homo Deus to lose their sanity, as maintaining a singular persona within non-finite experience requires great effort and energy.
- After Helena ascended to Homo Deus, Helena had been present in many places at once
Unexpectedly, once a survivor kills the King Titan, the Homo Deus granted that survivor their status to become a Homo Deus for their actions even though the One Who Waits or Helena says they closed the gate to Homo Deus a long time ago.
In Genesis, HLN-A notices that the Homo Deus technically don't exist in the physical world anymore and have their own plane of reality, a reality Helena describes that few can ever reach. Even Helena suddenly disappeared for an unknown reason.
It is worth noting that every human using the Genesis technology did not become Homo Deus. Some prerequisite seems to exist, but it is tastefully undisclosed. The only clue on who becomes a Homo Deus is from Santiago's Mek Pilot Evaluation on Helena Walker, the only mek pilot in-lore that has maxed out every synchronization gauge. The reason she became a mek pilot was her highly advanced nervous system where it can process information at a much higher rate.
Genesis Simulation[edit | edit source]
While the ARKs simulated environments in analog, the Genesis Simulation was entirely virtual. Housed aboard a colony ship it was built to train passengers in preparation for arrival, without waking them from hibernation. Genesis was designed by the same group that built the ARKs. Both projects seem to have developed concurrently, with lessons learned from one feeding into the other. For example, the Magmasaur was originally tested on Scorched Earth's ARK before being restricted to the Genesis Simulation, but it was a Genesis Simulation experiment that ironed out the behaviors of dinosaurs for The Island.
Both technological marvels improved each other with their mutual relationship. When the ARKs have an issue in how they operate, the builders go back to the Genesis Simulation and apply the conditions inside the simulation in order to safely know how to resolve the problem. This process can be the reverse when the Genesis Simulation glitches out and it needs the ARKs to resolve its issue.
The first simulation prototypes were obviously artificial collections of geometric shapes. From humble beginnings, Genesis was built into a technological marvel rivaling even the great ARKs, in a more compact package. Its design focus changed several times over development. Remnants of code from older versions still linger, causing glitches. Older versions of the Genesis Simulation included pleasant environments such as a shopping center.
Brain-machine interfacing and virtual reality technology became advanced enough to create an environment almost indistinguishable from the real world. Building on the ARKs' technology for manipulating the Engrammic Matrix, Survivors could even edit their own minds, though this functionality was left out of the final version after it proved addictive and destructive.
A storage unit for a human's mind and body is found deep inside the Genesis Simulation, or rather, on the colony ship the Genesis Simulation is residing in. This technology applied to the ARK's storage unit as described by Helena when spotting what appears to be massive tube tanks containing humans deep inside the station on Aberration.
According to HLN-A, she described that before the collapse, the Genesis Simulation was one of many simulations that students used to routinely learn their classes, most notably sciences online by wandering around the given simulation's environments.
The current version of the Genesis Simulation has five simulated environments: Bog, Moon, Ocean, Snow, and Volcanic. Anti-contamination codes work to keep elements of one ecosystem from crossing over into another. They simulate extremes biomes that can greatly impact Earth as a whole. However, these extremes are not found on Earth in its current hazardous state.
Proto-ARKs[edit | edit source]
With the Genesis Simulation technology near perfection, the creators of the ARK move to phase 2: creating prototypes. Proto-ARKs can be found on Extinction. Unlike the environments that were sent up into space, Human and Creatures can freely enter and leave the Proto-ARKs. When entering or leaving, a de-materialization effect will occur. They also have a prototype obelisk in their center that powers the ARK. Those obelisks helped the builders of the ARK to figure what will power the ARKs while they are in orbit. The only problem the Proto-ARKs have is a dome that allows creatures to walk in and out of the ARKs. This was solved by making the dome strong enough to prevent creatures from getting in or out.
3 Proto-ARKs can be found throughout Extinction, two of which are operational:
The Crater Forest was a failed experiment. This underground forest was formerly an operational, forest-themed Proto-ARK but sunk into the ground. It seems to have no borders. This implies that the ARKs need a boxed in area.
The Desert Dome was an experiment that had improvements since the ARK now has a metal ring, a circular area, but has a massive hole and some ARK structures being exposed. This might imply that the ARKs need solid ground that has very few cave systems underneath it.
The Snow Dome was an experiment that might be the foundation of all the ARKs since it has no exposed structures, few cave systems, and holes. Now all that is left for building the ARKs is making the barrier far sturdier so survivors can't exit, more, larger obelisks to power the ARK, a wider area for the ARK and systems that can carve, and move the chunk of land up and safely down orbit.
Arat Prime[edit | edit source]
Arat Prime is a mysterious location on the far side of Earth from Sanctuary City, somehow related to both the ARKs and the Genesis Simulation. In modern times, Turkey's Mount Ararat is associated with the story of Noah's Ark in the book of Genesis. In Christian tradition, the mountain is considered the final resting place for the Ark. The conspicuously similar name of Arat Prime may be a hint as to the facility's purpose. Messages scattered across the games imply that Arat Prime may be the mountain's inverse - a launching platform, not a landing site. To date, most information concerning Arat Prime comes from encrypted messages scattered across Sanctuary, readable by those wearing a Tek Helmet.
- "A7 priority communication received. Arat Prime is locked down."
- "Arat Prime is locked down. Emergency launch initiating. Proceed to nearest shelter."
- "Arat Prime has gone silent. Launch was not confirmed."
Exactly what might have been launched from Arat Prime is still speculation. Notably, the final cutscene of Genesis: Part 1 reveals that the Genesis Simulation is located on a colony ship traveling through space.
With Earth currently not rotating, the area around Sanctuary had constant exposure to the sun, giving an impression of constant day. Since the location of Arat prime is on the far side of Earth, it would experience the opposite: constant night.
According to HLN-A, Diana and Mei Yin made it to Arat Prime, where they sent Helena inside the Genesis simulation. 
Arat Prime when translated into Latin is called "Primus Aratra". Primus means "first" and Aratra means "plow". Put together, Arat Prime means "The First Plow". Based on what its name means, the technology on Arat Prime will play a pivotal role with all of the ARK's Reseed Protocols where Arat Prime acts as the plowing tool to make the ground ripe for growth, and the ARKs act as seeds that plant themselves into the ground.
An unknown event that will soon come to Earth in the ARK universe, Helena mentions that it will soon arrive before disappearing and according to HLN-A, the Genesis Simulation keeps participants under constant pressure to prepare them with survival skills in anticipation for the upcoming event.
In Diana's Explorer notes, she mentions the amount of days she met Helena and Mei Yin since she arrived on Aberration. She refers to her arrival on Aberration as "The Arrival". "The Arrival" has something to do with more humans suddenly waking up on the ARKs after their supposed deaths, just like how the player wakes up on the ARKs when starting the game. Homo Deus Helena/The One Who Waits mentions a storage unit in each ARK that contains rows upon rows of the remaining sleeping humans. All of the humans come from various time periods.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Notes/Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The name "ARK" is a reference to Noah's Ark, a vessel that preserves life, according to theologists.
- References about mythology and sci-fi are littered throughout the ARKs and in-game lore. The superficial references such as the wyverns, reapers, and other fantasy creature are easily identified. The deeper level references are up to the player's point of view and interpretation.
- On the island after you defeat the last boss you enter Ascension and during the cutscene you can see many arks while traveling, ultimately reaching Scorched Earth.
- According to HLN-A, the ARKs were one of the many solutions for escape from the Element corruption and war. They were the main option humans chose to escape, while the other solutions were the Genesis Program and Homo Deus.
- When looking closely at each pillar outside the Proto-Arks, there is a prism shape. This indicates the prism symbolizes the ARKs.
- Deus in Latin means "god"
- In Diana Explorer Note #19, she notes the ARKs are all connected by one server room and finds an ARK's current status in a slip of info:
- Currently on cycle 235669-F
- Are 96% capable of terraforming their surrounding area.
- A 0.0002% Decaying Process/Cycle
- Lost communications status with Arat Prime
- Locked Reseed Protocol
References[edit | edit source]
- Helena Note #6 (Scorched Earth)
- Ark Extinction Ending Cinematic
- HLN-A Tidbit Glitch Discovery #20
- Genesis Ascension Cutscene
- HLN-A Discovery #7 (Scorched Earth)
- HLN-A Tidbit Glitch Discovery #14
- HLN-A Tidbit Glitch Discovery #22
- HLN-A Tidbit Glitch Discovery #35
- HLN-A Tidbit Glitch Discovery #49
- HLN-A Discovery #14 (Extinction)