Ark: Survival Ascended’s new custom cosmetic system will allow you to ‘unleash your inner architect and fashionista’ starting this week

Ark: Survival Ascended players fighting a dinosaur.
(Image credit: Studio Wildcard)

Studio Wildcard has released more details about Ark: Survival Ascended’s upcoming ‘Custom Cosmetic’ modding system, and it’s been confirmed that it’ll start rolling it out this week.

In case you missed it, Studio Wildcard first teased the Custom Cosmetic system earlier this month. To put it simply, once fully integrated, the visual mods which players apply to things like structures, dinosaurs and themselves will be automatically downloaded by others in the background as they’re encountered. This means that, in theory, everyone can see the different mods that fellow players are using, meaning that things like bases are constantly going to look varied.

“The new ‘Custom Cosmetic’ system allows players to dynamically apply player-generated costumes to players and dinos, end-user-created skins to armors and weapons, and end-user-created skins to all the game's structures,” a new post on Steam explains. “These can have endless client-side functionality, including network messaging and limited persistent replicated data storage. For structures, this effectively enables infinite visual variety and functional enhancement through player-created cosmetics, which do not require any server-updating or loading onto the server.”

It’s now been confirmed that this system will launch in two separate phases, with the first one set to release this Thursday, February 1. Mind you, in this phase, users will have to manually install Custom Cosmetic mods in order to use and see them on the game’s official servers. The main feature, the automatic downloads, will be rolled out in phase two on April 1. 

If you don’t like the idea of your game being filled with random mods, don’t worry. You’ll be able to switch them off entirely, or stop specific mod IDs from showing up. Players’ servers will also be able to block Custom Cosmetics altogether or use a whitelist in order to give mods the thumbs up before putting them, that into action. An ‘official’ whitelist that the game’s official servers use will be set as the default, and this will be updated daily by Studio Wildcard and Overwolf in order to stop any “exploit or issue-causing cosmetics” from slipping through the net. 

For more games like Ark: Survival Ascended, be sure to check out our list of the best survival games. You can also check out more games with huge worlds to explore in our roundup of the best open-world games on PC

Catherine Lewis
News Writer, TechRadar Gaming

Catherine is a News Writer for TechRadar Gaming. Armed with a journalism degree from The University of Sheffield, she was sucked into the games media industry after spending far too much time on her university newspaper writing about Pokémon and cool indie games, and realising that was a very cool job, actually. She previously spent 19 months working at GAMINGbible as a full-time journalist. She loves all things Nintendo, and will never stop talking about Xenoblade Chronicles.