While it has only been months since the developers behind Ark: Survival Evolved caused somewhat of a shitstorm on the net by announcing a paid for DLC for their Early Access title (yes, that actually happened), it seems that they are not content with the controversial limelight etching too far away from their stage, so have managed to pull out another trick from their tricky sacks.
The trick in this instance is what could arguably be considered a 'bribe' in the form of new content for their base game, in exchange for votes in Steam's new and wildly talked about Steam Awards. The game was nominated by players for the 'prestigious' "Best Use Of A Farm Animal" Category, and shares the nomination stage with Stardew Valley, Goat Simulator, Farming Simulator 17 and Blood Bacon. A heavy counter argument has been put forward that while ARK does boast a wide range of animals, it doesn't actually feature any prominent or traditionally recognized farm animals.
Enter: The ploy for greatness.
ARK: Survival Evolved / Studio Wildcard
This would be perpetrator is the promised gift to players, should the game win the title in it's nominated category. In a post released on 26/12 by the developers, it was stated "Head over to http://store.steampowered.com/SteamAwards/ on Thursday the 29th of December, as you’ll have the opportunity to come show your support for ARK by voting for us! 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!". To the surprise of absolute no-one, it didn't take long before the post did a monumental lap of forums, leading angry fans and gamers alike to flood the post with comments, pleas for change and inevitably text effigies of dicks. After receiving this unsurprising, yet still seemingly unexpected flow of negative feedback, the developers updated their statement to omit the previous entry, and instead include "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!"
While this seems to have sated the taste for blood that some fans were so eagerly keen for, it does beg the question of why the developers couldn't have possibly foreseen the backlash in the first place. Offering incentives as a bribe for votes to win a category is certainly nothing new by any standards, even outside of the industry, but asking fans to vote for something that isn't in the game yet does seem like a stretch, and a weird one at that. Perhaps they had better faith in the reception of their proposition, or it could well be that the developers perceived mild controversy as an inexpensive way to market their game, and have it trend again on social media, forums and entertainment news sites.