Wildcard, developer of the popular Early Access title ARK: Survival Evolved, announced that an Ovis, or sheep, will be added to ARK: Survival Evolved if the game wins the “Best Use Of A Farm Animal” Award in the Steam Awards.
Valve has been hosting the Steam Awards this past week alongside its annual winter Steam sale, where the community can vote on an award each day consisting of games that include the entire Steam catalog, and not titles released this past year. ARK: Survival Evolved was nominated for “Best Use Of A Farm Animal” Award by Steam users, and is up against Goat Simulator, Stardew Valley, Blood and Bacon, and Farming Simulator 17 for voting this Thursday, Dec. 29.
“If ARK wins the award, we will ensure that our fluffy friend quickly makes its debut on the ARK in the next major version update,” the developer wrote in the post.
The announcement has drawn upset responses both in the post and community subreddits, with players feeling that the act leans too far towards bribery. The discontent follows in wake of recent friction between the studio and community. In a generally unpopular move, Wildcard released a paid expansion pack for ARK: Survival Evolved last September, while it and its multiplayer survival arena spin-off, ARK: Survival Of The Fittest, remain in Early Access. The expansion, ARK: Scorched Earth, contains a whole new landmass, creatures, and items that can be brought back into the base game.
Update: The original announcement post linked above has been deleted since the time of this article, and Wildcard has written a new post stating that the sheep was meant to “celebrate the nomination.” The studio reiterated, “We want to make it clear that regardless of whether ARK wins a Steam Award or not, Ovis will be making its debut in the next major ARK version update!” The original post can be seen here (via Wayback Machine).