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ARK: The Animated Series - What We Know So Far

Survival games are popular for a reason. They are a chance to explore a new, open world. You get to learn about its geography and its wildlife before setting out to use your knowledge and creativity to master the elements, to become king or queen of your own domain. Games like "Minecraft" and "ARK: Survival Evolved," thrive on this feeling, allowing players to go from Stone Age-style cavemen to self-made industrialists by collecting resources and creating new tools, materials, and structures to help survive the harsh game-world.

These aspects, though they all serve to make for an enjoyable experience, are all very gameplay-reliant. In spite of this, the untamed worlds of survival games can serve as amazing sources of storytelling. The primeval island of Studio Wildcard's "ARK" franchise presents an open canvas for interesting concepts and stories. Now, the company is looking to fill that canvas with "ARK: The Animated Series," an upcoming show based on the aforementioned survival game. This science fiction adventure series promises plenty of mystery and no small amount of ancient history, and here is what we know about it so far.

What is the release date for ARK: The Animated Series?

Originally announced in December 2020 at the annual Game Awards, "ARK: The Animated Series" hasn't had much in the way of development news. The announcement came in the form of a short trailer which explained the series' premise and flashed some of Studio Wildcard's top-notch animation. Based on the trailer, which was uploaded onto the official "ARK" YouTube channel shortly thereafter, the series promises plenty of high-octane action and cryptic worldbuilding. The series is already scheduled for two seasons, with the first season being 14 episodes in length (via Collider).

Thankfully, "ARK" fans will only be the victims of a relatively brief waiting period at the time of this article. According to the official trailer, "ARK: The Animated Series" is slated for release sometime in 2022, meaning that the maximum wait time for fans is currently but a hair longer than a year. The proverbial "but" in this otherwise pleasant situation, however, is the fact that the series' creators have not revealed which streaming service on which it will be available. Wherever it ends up premiering, however, it is sure to draw a certain amount of attention due to its surprisingly star-studded cast.

Who is in the cast of ARK: The Animated Series?

Of the many well-known names attached to "ARK: The Animated Series," the one mostly closely tied to the series is no-doubt Vin Diesel. As an avid gamer himself, Diesel has actually joined Studio Wildcard as President of Creative Convergence, according to Deadline. On top of that, he is slated to executive produce and star in both "ARK: The Animated Series" and the franchise's upcoming sequel game, "ARK II." In all appearances, he plays the 24th century "Mek" pilot, Santiago.

Joining Diesel is a veritable "who's who" of Hollywood stars, including Madeleine Madden, Michelle Yeoh, Gerard Butler, Russel Crowe, David Tennant, Karl Urban, Alan Tudyk, Malcolm McDowell, Jeffrey Wright, Devery Jacobs, Elliot Page, Deborah Mailman, Zahn McClarnon, and Ragga Ragnars. Each of these talented actors plays a different figure from across human history, trapped on a prehistoric island inhabited with dinosaurs. How exactly they all come together and survive on this strange land is as of yet unknown.

What is the plot of ARK: The Animated Series?

While some of the characters' specific backstories and motivations still remain a mystery, we do know that they are all tied together by one character, 21st century Australian paleontologist Helena Walker (Madeleine Madden). She is the unfamiliar woman depicted riding a dinosaur in a tense battle during the series' announcement trailer. As for the rest of the characters, there is Mei-Yin Li (Michelle Yeoh), a Chinese warrior from the third century, and the ancient Kor the Prophet (Russell Crowe), who is described as a "dino-whisperer," to introduce a few, as described in the official wiki for "ARK: The Animated Series." 

Helena's story, like everyone else's in the series, begins after her supposed death, when she is resurrected on the strange and wild land that serves as the setting of the animated show. She is forced to battle warlords, the elements, and the many wild beasts that inhabit the islands, all while attempting to find new allies and uncover the secrets of her new home. However, to do so is incredibly dangerous, and she has more than one opportunity to fail. Nevertheless, the promises of knowledge and survival make her adventures worth the effort. Just what secrets the strange island hides will be revealed when "ARK: The Animated Series" is released in 2022.