Snail Games USA Acquired Studio Wildcard, Developer of ARK, In December, 2015
You might be wondering why Studio Wildcard has been helping with the development of Dark and Light or why Snail Games announced two ARK spin-offs, the Minecraft-like PixARK and ARK GO, in addition to the free-to-play Chinese release of ARK. Well, it turns out that SDE, Inc, an affiliate of Snail Games USA, which is a subsidiary of Snail Games, bought out Studio Wildcard; the merger was filed for on December 4th, 2015. Officially, the company was merged into "Snail Ark, Inc." Unfortunately, we don't know how much Snail Games paid for the company.
This revelation was made due to the fact that new court documents filed by Insight Venture Management, the parent company of Trendy Entertainment that was recently suing Studio Wildcard over a failure to uphold a non-compete clause, referenced the buyout.
So now you know why ARK is slowly being turned into a major franchise, courtesy of Snail Games. The Chinese game developer and publisher owns Studio Wildcard and, by extension, the ARK franchise. It will be interesting to see what they do with the franchise after this initial burst of games.