So I've seen a few people finish the game and ascend. The ending was pretty cool and cinematic, but it didn't try very hard to explain the story of ark. Now, I've also read the day one launch post by wildcard and the way the post was written makes it sound like the devs think there's enough clues to figure out a definitive story of the ark. So, I'm making this list to compile all the observations and conclusions I've made during the tek cave and ascension. Feel free to add your own observations or suggest a theory about arks story.
THIS IS A LONG POST THAT I SPENT A LONG TIME ON SO BE WARNED
If you wanna see my theory on the story of the ark skip to the last paragraph.
The ascension area
After you finish the tek cave you are taken to a room that has a view of each of the boss fight arenas. The question is: why are the arenas here? There are a few possibilities.
Either the arenas in the ascension area are just recreations of the arenas and the actual arenas are on their respective ark/planet, or perhaps these are the same arenas you fought in in order to get to the tek cave. If these are the same arenas you fought In, perhaps you were being watched, your strength and combat ability was being monitored by something, and the ascension area is a monitoring room. Why are you being monitored? Perhaps to determine your survivability. This would be backed up by the fact that your implant says "survivor quotient", so perhaps the creators of the arks monitor your progress in the cave, and if you complete the cave then they Mark you as gamma, beta, or alpha level.
If the creators of the arks are indeed interested in how well you can survive, Why? Perhaps they take the best survivors, gamma, beta, or alpha level survivors, and send them to colonize other planets. Perhaps the creators of the arks want to recolonize a dead and hostile earth, or perhaps they want to colonize mars or some other planet.
(Back to the tek cave)
The planet holograms
In the ascension area, there are a few holograms of planets. One looks like Pangaea, another another is quite clearly modern day earth, and the third shows a strange configuration of the continent's. It is unclear whether this third hologram shows earth or another planet altogether. If it is earth, then the third hologram most likely shows the current earth at this point in ark's story, and the three holograms are a general history of the earth continents. However, if the third hologram is not earth, then perhaps it is scorched earth. However I'm not sure why scorched earth would be a planet and not an ark, therefore I believe this hologram is of earth.
Next to the Pangaea hologram there is a terminal. The terminal has a hologram of a DNA model on it's left as well as a hologram of an unknown image made of hexagons (perhaps it's a futuristic coding system like binary). In front of the terminal is a hologram of a dino. The hologram shows images of the creatures of the ark, and the image changes every few seconds. That, coupled with the DNA model on the side makes me think that perhaps this terminal holds all the genetic instructions to make every creature on the ark. I have no significant data to back this up but this is simply my conclusion.
Further down the tunnel, by the second earth hologram, is another console. This console is quite interesting, as it shows a hologram of a human. Much like the other terminal, this terminal has a model of DNA on the left and that hexagon structure to the right. If the first terminal did contain the genetic code for all the creatures of the ark, then I'm not sure why human dna would be stored in a different terminal. Perhaps the creators of the ark realized we were different than the other animals and thus took an extra interest in us and placed us in a separate console. However I noticed something about the DNA models on the two terminals. The human terminal had a clear picture of human DNA, however the first terminal's DNA model was missing the "rungs" in the "ladder" (I forgot the words don't judge me). Perhaps this is why humans have a different terminal. Perhaps the creators of the ark don't have the full dino DNA, hence the missing "rungs". This would also explain why most dinos in the game aren't entirely historically accurate, maybe the creators of the ark do know what the dinos looked like, but they lack the DNA to make a historically accurate dino.
Next to the third hologram is a third terminal. This one has a structure that resembles DNA, but more complex, almost like the DNA itself evolved or was artificially altered to create a more genetically superior organism. And it is most likely altered human DNA since in front of the terminal is a hologram of a human shape. This makes me think that perhaps when you prove yourself strong enough by ascending, your DNA is altered and you are made even stronger. Perhaps ascending can only be done successfully if the organism is strong and durable enough to survive the massive genetic changes that could possibly occur during ascension. Perhaps that is why we are on the ark, the ark is a challenge, a trial, that only the strongest survivors can overcome. And when the strongest survivors do overcome the ark and ascend, they prove their worth to the creator of the arks, so the creators of the arks enhance your DNA and possibly use you for whatever they need.
The next area is almost like a cavern. The floor is made of tangled, root like structures, and in between the roots is a glass floor allowing you to see an ark below you. On the sides of the cavern are unmistakably loot drops being dropped down into the ark below. This area is interesting for two reasons. One, we now know where those strange drops are coming from. Two, considering that we are looking down at an ark, it's quite obvious that this is not a cave anymore, we are above the ark. Upon entering the boss room, you can see three arks in the background. If you look closely at the ark on the right, you will see that it is surrounded by three pillars, and connected to one of these pillars, is a structure that juts out over the ark. I believe this is the station you are in. You are on a control room high above the ark. And if you look at the ark in the middle, you can see one of the pillars is destroyed. This is most likely the ark that the new dlc, Aberration, will take place on.
The boss room
The next room is simply an observatory where you fight the final boss, the overseer. The name of the boss suggests something. Since it is an overseer, it most likely observed our journey on the ark. It is most likely an AI made to monitor people's progress towards ascension, and ultimately be the final boss for the survivors.
Quick sidenote: is it just me, or do the flying defense units look a lot like watchers from halo 4?
The end cinematic
After you defeat the overseer, a large hologram moves around the room. At first I had trouble recognizing what the hologram was, but then I realized its a hologram of our solar system. However, it only shows the Sun, the earth, and perhaps mars. Most importantly however, the hologram shows what can only be a bunch of arks floating around the earth. Next, the screen fades to white and the end game cinematic plays. You are suddenly outside the station, and quickly fly past the island ark. Then you fly past multiple other arks while your survivor implant glows and activates something. You can see that all the arks are orbiting a strange, brown planet, and there are no obvious continents or bodies of water to easily identify the planet as earth. However, I believe it has to be earth since we already saw that the arks orbit the earth (the hologram of the solar system told us). It looks as if something happened to the earth to make it brown, dead, and uninhabitable. I also noticed a large asteroid, around half the size of the earth, behind the planet, with smaller rocks around the asteroid. Perhaps multiple asteroid strikes destroyed earths ecosystem, forcing humans to evacuate the planet. The next important detail is all the hexagons around the planet. The planet seems to be surrounded by hexagons. The next part of the cutscene has you zooming towards the planet, particularly one of the hexagons surrounding it. Your view becomes obstructed, then is clear for about half a second. In that half a second, you can see that you're being teleported to another ark, possibly scorched earth due to the arks brown color. The fact that this new ark was one of the hexagons around the planet, I think the arks are arranged In a hexagonal field around the earth. When you finish zooming towards the ark the screen goes black and the credits play, signifying the end of the game.
A few notes
I have not played the end of the game so I have no first hand knowledge of what the cave has. Instead, I watched Thickfreedom's video as well as parts of GG Fizz's video in order to make these observations.
What do I think the story of ark is?
Earth was made uninhabitable by something (war, asteroid impacts, environmental changes, or pollution). Then the arks come in. It is unclear who made the arks (humans or aliens), but I believe they are a sort of training grounds for the survivors. The survivors attempt to survive in the harsh, artificial world of ark, and the strongest survivors have a shot at ascending. After defeating all the bosses (the creators of the arks use the bosses as a way to determine a survivors strength), survivors must defeat one final challenge to prove their strength, the tek cave. Once a survivor makes it through the tek cave and defeats the overseer, they have shown their strength and have proven that they can survive in a harsh environment. The creators of the ark then reward the survivor by enhancing their DNA, making the survivor even stronger. Next, the survivor is teleported to another ark (scorched earth), where they are tested once again. I believe the creators of the ark wish to make the best survivor, perhaps so they can send the survivor to colonize another planet (or recolonize a dead earth).
Let me know if you agree with my theory or if I missed any important information. I love ark and I think it's pretty cool that it has a story.