Boy, Atlas Is Having A Rocky Launch

Atlas, the latest game from ARK: Survival Evolved’s developers, is meant to be a large multiplayer experience about being a pirate in a strange new world. But as reactions and discoveries trickle in following the game’s early access launch, the supposedly swashbuckling adventure sounds like one big mess.

Atlas was announced at The Game Awards on December 6th and released in early access on December 22nd. An initial countdown clock teased a December 13th release before a smattering of delays pushed the game’s launch back. Since its debut last week, the massively online adventure game has been met with largely negative reaction from players due to issues like severe server lag and an extremely hostile world. Players can build settlements, but apparently, a small percentage of launch players have claimed important coastal areas for their own. The results have been shaky for other players, since it is hard to survive too long. Numerous Steam user reviews—which currently place the game at a “mostly negative” reaction—talk about just how damn rough it is. Our own Mike Fahey has spent time with the game and had a similar reaction.


“It feels a whole lot like ARK,” Mike told me this morning over Slack. “The character creation is definitely ARK. My first time in game I spawned in the middle of the ocean, ran out of stamina trying to swim to shore and died. I respawned and was immediately murdered by an eel.”

Not only does Atlas feel like ARK, there are some questions about just how much of it is ARK. Twitch streamer mukkayo apparently found a way to access a hidden menu in Atlas that’s literally just a menu screen from ARK.


Atlas’s developers have not yet responded to Kotaku’s request for comment, but this ARK menu screen’s presence is likely due to the use of the same engine. Still, between similar gameplay loops and the game’s overall choppiness, players have been saying Atlas feels like little more than a glitchy reskin. While some players are posting positive reviews, many more are warning their fellows away.

“I have never uninstalled and asked for a return on a game quicker than this before,” one Steam review states. “Take that as a warning.”

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Heather Alexandra

Staff writer and critic at Kotaku.