Arma 3

(Redirected from ARMA 3)

Arma 3[a] is an open world realism-based military tactical shooter video game developed and published by Bohemia Interactive exclusively through the Steam distribution platform. It is the third main entry in the Arma series, and the eighth installment overall. Arma 3 was released for Microsoft Windows on September 12, 2013, and for macOS and Linux on August 31, 2015.[4]

Arma 3
Arma 3 logo
Developer(s)Bohemia Interactive
Publisher(s)Bohemia Interactive
Director(s)Joris-Jan van't Land
Jay Crowe
Producer(s)Marek Španěl
Programmer(s)Ondřej Martinák
Vojtěch Hladík
Artist(s)David Zapletal
Composer(s)Ondřej Matějka
Grigorij Tolkačev
Nathan McCree
SeriesArma
EngineReal Virtuality 4
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows,[3] Linux, macOS
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows
  • WW: September 12, 2013[1]
OS X, Linux
  • WW: August 31, 2015[2]
Genre(s)Tactical shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Arma 3 primarily takes place in the mid-2030s, on the fictional islands of Altis and Stratis in the South Mediterranean Sea. The game's expansions are set on the South Pacific island of Tanoa; the Mediterranean island of Malden; the European country of Livonia; the Western Saharan country of Argana; and several real-life locations, including parts of Mainland Southeast Asia, Germany, and Eastern Europe. The game's maps feature photorealistic terrain and water environments. The game features multiple singleplayer and co-op campaigns, most of which follow various perspectives before, during, and after a conflict fought in the fictional Republic of Altis and Stratis.[5][6][7]

Arma 3 was released to generally favorable reception, with praise toward the visuals and immersive realism, but criticism toward the difficulty for new players and the lack of singleplayer content on release.[8] Arma 3 has been actively maintained and expanded by Bohemia Interactive and publishing partners, with almost twenty significant updates and downloadable content (DLC) releases since 2014. Almost a decade since its release, Arma 3 maintains a substantial playerbase and an active modding community.[9]

GameplayEdit

Arma 3 is a realistic tactical shooter featuring accurate and deadly weapons that can kill in very few shots. Weapons are heavily affected by external ballistics and recoil, forcing players to fire in bursts to maintain accuracy.[10] Gameplay is set on expansive maps (known as "terrains") featuring photorealistic land and water environments that can cover hundreds of square kilometres of ground.[11] Many of the game's campaign missions and individual scenarios are centered around smaller sections of terrains, such as a town or military outpost, though some campaign segments feature open world gameplay or cover a wider area. Certain campaigns change gameplay elements or add unique features; for example, the Old Man mini-campaign is set in an interactive open world that greatly centers around the player's ability to wear enemy uniforms and disguise themselves as part of a specific faction, a feature absent from other campaigns.

Arma 3's gameplay is similar to previous titles in the series, but with more refinements and customization, including a refreshed HUD. Most aspects of gameplay—such as player guidance assists like map markers and enemy locations, NPC behavior like radio callouts and shooting accuracy, and HUD elements like crosshairs and player status information—vary depending on the set difficulty level, which can be freely customized to suit the player's desired experience.[12]

The game's campaigns and scenarios place the player in a wide variety of situations, from infiltration and reconnaissance missions to the commanding of large-scale combined arms operations. Arma 3 primarily focuses on infantry, but a wide selection of usable vehicles, including combat vehicles, armored fighting vehicles, military aircraft, motorboats, and civilian passenger vehicles, are essential to gameplay and are frequently expanded on in the game's DLCs.[13] Arma 3 also introduces diving to the series, with diving equipment and a purpose-built underwater firearm implemented for underwater frogman operations.[11] Though most scenarios have specific objectives, for the most part, players are encouraged to choose their own approach to achieving them, ranging from silently eliminating targets as a lone marksman, to leading a multirole squad into battle from multiple flanks.[10] In several scenarios, various resources are at the player's disposal, including UAVs and fire support from artillery and mortars.[6]

Arma 3 and its DLCs contain over 50 unique weapons of varying type, caliber, and purpose, consisting of assault rifles, submachine guns, machine guns, designated marksman rifles, sniper rifles, handguns, and rocket launchers, with additional carbine, long-barrel, underbarrel grenade launcher, and camouflage paint variants of certain weapons.[13] Weapon attachments mostly consist of scopes, though suppressors, flashlights, laser sights, and bipods are also available.[10] Equipment such as fragmentation grenades, smoke grenades, landmines, flares, chemlights, medkits, binoculars, rangefinders, and night-vision goggles can be used to varying effects. Standard tools such as maps, GPS satnavs, compasses, and radios operate basic in-game functions that are disabled if they are removed from the player's inventory; for example, dropping the radio disables NPC radio messages and multiplayer communication. The player's uniform, vest, backpack, headgear, and eyewear can be customized; vests and backpacks in particular allow for additional gear to be carried, and most vests and headgear provide ballistic protection.[10] Carried weapons, munitions, equipment, and accessories add weight to the player, which decreases movement speed and total stamina, thus preventing multirole "jack of all trades" loadouts, encouraging proper inventory management, and forcing players to choose between faster movement or higher effectiveness.[10]

Multiplayer servers, hosted officially and by third parties, offer various PvP and PvE modes, ranging from wide combined arms battles across an entire terrain to custom roleplaying servers that simulate civilian life.[14] Arma 3 also features "units", the community's official multiplayer clan system.

Arma 3 includes a scenario editor that allows players to create custom singleplayer and multiplayer scenarios using assets and scripting. Scenarios created in the editor can be uploaded directly to the Steam Workshop.[15]

SynopsisEdit

OverviewEdit

 
Flag of Altis and Stratis

Arma 3 is set in the Arma universe, specifically the near future of the 2030s. The main plot events are mostly set in the Aegean Sea island nation of Republic of Altis and Stratis,[b] and take place primarily in the period of 2034–2038, with the non-canon First Contact campaign set in 2039 and the Beyond Hope mini-campaign set in 2026.

The two primary factions in Arma 3 are the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the opposing Canton Protocol Strategic Alliance Treaty (CSAT), based on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.[16][c] Other factions seen in the main campaigns include the Altis Armed Forces (AAF), who govern Altis and Stratis under a military junta; the Freedom and Independence Army (FIA), a loyalist militia led by Altis and Stratis' democratic government in exile; the International Development and Aid Project (IDAP), a non-governmental organization specializing in humanitarian aid; the Combat Technology Research Group (CTRG), NATO's classified special forces unit tasked with carrying out black operations; the Gendarmerie, the Horizon Islands' gendarmerie and defense force; Syndikat, a Tanoan paramilitary criminal organization that eventually reforms into L'Ensemble, a rebel army officially fighting against CSAT influence in Tanoa but otherwise no different from Syndikat; and the Livonian Defense Force, Livonia's NATO-equipped military responsible for defending the country from external threats. Factions are divided into three categories: BLUFOR (NATO and allies), REDFOR (CSAT and allies), and INDFOR (independent forces that switch sides, are informal combatants, or are otherwise unaligned).

The story of Arma 3 takes place over a variety of campaigns, showcase missions, and scenarios, which introduce the player to the game's mechanics and universe. The plot of Arma 3 is told in six campaigns:

  • The East Wind and its prologue, following a NATO peacekeeping mission in the Republic of Altis and Stratis after a coup d'état by the AAF, and its rapid decline into open conflict between NATO and CSAT. The East Wind is divided into three acts: Survive, Adapt, and Win.[5] The East Wind was the first campaign to be released for the game, requiring only the core content to be played.
  • Remnants of War, following IDAP and the Altian town of Oreokastro before, during, and after the events of The East Wind, as recounted by an IDAP bomb disposal expert to a journalist. Remnants of War is intended to focus on a "different side of war" and places less focus on combat than other campaigns. Remnants of War is part of the Laws of War DLC.
  • Apex Protocol, following the CTRG and their attempts to stop China from acquiring a seismic weapon of mass destruction in the Horizon Islands. Apex Protocol is designed to be played cooperatively by up to four players, though it can also be played in singleplayer. Apex Protocol is part of the Apex DLC.[17]
  • Old Man, following a former French Legionnaire and his investigation into a malaria outbreak on Tanoa following suspicious CSAT presence on the island, set three years after Apex Protocol. Old Man is set in a persistent world and introduces a unique disguise mechanic. Old Man is a mini-campaign that is part of the Apex Update, a free update released alongside the Apex DLC, and requires the DLC to function.
  • Tac-Ops, a series of three mini-campaigns—Beyond Hope, Stepping Stone, and Steel Pegasus—detailing events set before and during The East Wind. Tac-Ops is the main addition of the Tac-Ops DLC.
  • First Contact, following the deterioration of relations between the LDF and NATO training assistants following extraterrestrial phenomena and the sprouting of root-like organisms in Livonia. First Contact is part of the Contact DLC, and is considered non-canon.[18]

The East WindEdit

SurviveEdit

Following continued fighting between the AAF and FIA, the last remaining NATO peacekeepers, including U.S. Army infantryman Corporal Ben Kerry, are preparing to leave Stratis. Suddenly, the AAF attacks NATO forces unprovoked, and a state of war is de facto declared. Kerry regroups with the surviving NATO soldiers, led by British Royal Navy special forces operators Captain Scott Miller and Lieutenant James, after his commander is killed. The survivors attempt to gather supplies and communicate with NATO through an air station communications facility, but both attempts are unsuccessful. Eventually, Miller succeeds, and informs the others that their orders from NATO are to secure a landing zone for reinforcements. Though they are initially successful, CSAT forces working with the AAF attack Stratis, forcing the survivors to flee to Altis, where they plan to link up with the FIA. While evacuating to Altis, their flotilla of RHIBs is attacked and sunk by AAF aircraft, and Kerry loses consciousness.

AdaptEdit

Kerry wakes up on the shore of Kavala, the largest city in Altis, and is contacted by Lieutenant James, who leads Kerry through a firefight in the city to his position. They link up with the northern cell of the FIA, led by former government agent Kostas Stavrou, and perform guerilla operations against the AAF and CSAT to supply themselves, as their arms dealer, Nikos Panagopoulous, is missing. The FIA eventually rescues Nikos from an AAF camp on Stratis, where he has learned that NATO is planning to invade Altis. The FIA attack the AAF to assist with the invasion, but the landing NATO forces, mistaking the FIA for hostiles, fire on them; Kerry manages to communicate with NATO, resolving the confusion. Now back with NATO, Kerry inquires about Miller, but NATO commanding officer Colonel David Armstrong informs Kerry that there is no NATO register of a man named Scott Miller, and that the British contingent had left the peacekeeping operation months prior.

WinEdit

Kerry returns to NATO's ranks, but is put on tedious and unimportant assignments due to Armstrong's distrust of him, due to his suspicious activity and supposed contact with a special forces operator. Kerry proves his loyalty during an attempted CSAT landing operation, and is eventually permitted to command NATO forces. During this time, an unusually high number of earthquakes are detected on the island, which disrupt NATO operations. Armstrong absolves Kerry of suspicion but orders him to cut all ties with Miller and his special forces unit. With the AAF on the verge of defeat, Armstrong rallies the NATO invasion force for a final push. Kerry is suddenly contacted through a broken transmission by a mortally wounded Lt. James, who provides his location and asks for assistance.

Two endings are possible, depending on whether the player chooses to respond to James' distress call:

  • "Game Over": Kerry disobeys Armstrong and assists James, stealing a mysterious device from CSAT for Miller. It is revealed that Miller and James are part of CTRG Group 14, tasked with capturing the "Eastwind Device"—a CSAT tectonic weapon of mass destruction that caused the aforementioned earthquakes—which, unbeknownst to Kerry, is the device he stole for Miller. As Kerry, now disavowed as a deserter by NATO, escapes Altis alone, CSAT learns the device is in NATO's possession and launches a massive assault on Altis in retaliation, annihilating the NATO invasion force and sparking World War III.
  • "Status Quo": Kerry disregards James' transmission and continues with NATO orders. Kerry and Armstrong lead the final push to defeat the AAF, whose remnants surrender, ending the Altis conflict. One month later, Kerry, now promoted to Sergeant, is helping NATO stabilize the country. He meets a journalist at Altis' airport and drives him to a nearby town for an interview with Nikos, now the new president-elect of the disarmed Altis Republic, before being called back to the airport to deal with a "situation".[d]

Remnants of WarEdit

Days after the end of the NATO invasion of Altis, Markos Kouris, a mechanic from the town of Oreokastro, returns to his ruined home after learning his missing brother Alexis had been seen at the town's church during a recent firefight. As he searches the church for evidence of his brother's whereabouts, he is killed by a landmine.

Several days later, AAN News journalist Katherine Bishop conducts an online interview with IDAP bomb disposal expert Nathan MacDade, responsible for removing unexploded ordnance in Oreokastro, which was almost completely destroyed during the Altian conflict. Nathan, who has worked in Oreokastro's IDAP camp since the civil war, recounts his experiences through five playable scenarios that follow the town during the war from the perspective of different factions. The player's actions in the scenarios impact how Nathan recounts the story.

  • The first story, "The Peacekeeper", follows NATO soldier Staff Sergeant Thomas Adams, the protagonist of the prologue and a supporting character in The East Wind, helping IDAP direct an airdrop of humanitarian supplies while defending it from the FIA with the help of his AAF retinue. Nathan will comment if the player damages the supplies by misdirecting the airdrop.
  • The second story, "The Guerilla", follows FIA fighter Alexis Kouris, who is tasked with stealing vehicles and planting landmines to build a barricade against an approaching AAF force. Nathan will comment based on what vehicles the player chooses to block the road with.
  • The third story, "The Redacted", follows a CSAT special forces team directing a cluster bomb airstrike on Oreokastro from the nearby FIA-held castle ruins to clear the way for the AAF. Nathan will mention if the player decides to wait for certain characters to leave the blast radius, and which building the player targets, but he is regardless shocked at the negligence of bombing a town with civilians in it. During the ending cinematic of the story, Nathan mentions that NATO casings were found at the site, after which the two CSAT operators in the cutscene briefly flash to Scott Miller and Lt. James, implying that it was actually NATO and the CTRG who were responsible for the airstrike.
  • The fourth story, "The Survivor", follows civilian Markos Kouris, who is shot in the crossfire during the AAF's attack and must limp to the IDAP-controlled church to be evacuated. In this sequence, the player is technically neutral to the AAF, but many actions (including picking up a gun, firing at AAF soldiers, or going too close to combatants) will provoke the AAF, who will view Markos as a hostile. These actions will cause Nathan to muse on the nature of the attack on Oreokastro, and he will further lament the "newfound anger" of Markos if the player goes through with the optional objective of killing the AAF soldiers.
  • The fifth and final story, "The Major", follows AAF Lieutenant Antoniou Dimitriou, who is pushed to Oreokastro with his commander Major Gavras by a NATO-FIA force during the NATO invasion. They deploy a landmine dispenser device in the church yard to defend the position, and successfully withstand the assault. After the player kills one of the FIA soldiers, Nathan reveals that he was Alexis Kouris, and that this firefight is what led Markos to investigate his brother's whereabouts.

After all five sequences are completed, Katherine asks Nathan who he thinks is most responsible for the tragedies of Oreokastro: NATO, CSAT, the AAF, the FIA, or "everyone and no one". Nathan responds with a predetermined justification, and Katherine gives the player access to a draft of her article on Altian conflict, the contents of which change depending on the player's choices in the story sequences and who the player gave as most responsible for Oreokastro's destruction. The player then takes control of Nathan and is tasked with clearing all of the mines in Oreokastro. Once the player chooses to leave, Nathan bids farewell to Katherine and gets in his van to go to his next assignment.

Apex ProtocolEdit

Following an unprecedented tsunami in Southeast Asia known as the Pacific Disaster, Syndikat rises to power in the Horizon Islands' province of Tanoa, overwhelming the Gendarmerie. Suspicious of Syndikat's rapid expansion and supply of equipment, NATO sends the CTRG to investigate, using a peacekeeping deployment as cover.

CTRG Group 15, callsign "Raider", deploys to Tanoa and learns that CSAT member China is supplying Syndikat with weapons. During an operation to capture Syndikat leader Solomon Maru, Raider is ambushed by Viper Team, a high-tech People's Liberation Army special forces unit, and is forced to withdraw. Raider locates and rescues CTRG asset "Keystone", revealed to be Scott Miller. He reveals his true purpose on Altis, monitoring the Eastwind Device (it is also implied he caused the conflict on Altis by committing a false flag attack on Kerry's commander), and informs Raider that he believes China transported the Eastwind Device to the South Pacific, deliberately causing the Pacific Disaster.

Raider deploys to a Chinese black site in search of the Eastwind Device, only to find the site attacked and abandoned; they learn Syndikat has double-crossed China and is holding the device as ransom. The team also recovers documents concerning CSAT's "Apex Protocol", a set of plans detailing how clandestine methods such as the Eastwind Device can be used to manufacture crises and make target nations vulnerable to CSAT influence through recovery aid. The CTRG tracks the device to a port on the northern coast of Tanoa, where CSAT is attempting to negotiate with Syndikat to recover it. When Maru unexpectedly arms the device as leverage, the CTRG assaults the port and defeats Syndikat and Viper, killing Maru and securing the Eastwind Device. Following the operation, NATO quietly leaks a redacted version of the Apex Protocol documents to the press, leading to worldwide condemnation of CSAT's expansionism.

Old ManEdit

Three years after the events of Apex Protocol, Tanoa is suffering from a severe malaria outbreak. The Horizon Islands' government, frustrated with NATO's refusal to help, asks CSAT for aid; CSAT sends doctors and researchers, but also military personnel, who build bases and a laboratory on Tanoa and militarize the Gendarmerie, using them against the populace.

Santiago, a retired French Legionnaire, investigates CSAT's activities for Scott Miller and the CTRG; they believe the outbreak has been engineered by CSAT. Their most damning evidence is a convoy of CSAT trucks seen carrying unidentified containers into the village of Tobakoro, whose inhabitants died of malaria shortly after. Santiago is approached by Dr. Drábek, a virologist from Luganville, a town that has also received shipments of the containers. Drábek, who does not trust CSAT and has hidden his patients from them, asks Santiago for help finding a cure.

Infiltrating a CSAT port, Santiago confirms his suspicions: CSAT is developing "Atrox", a malaria super-strain used as a biological weapon. Santiago gathers evidence for Miller, whose plan to assault the lab developing Atrox is hindered by their sentry gun defenses. Santiago is forced to work for L'Ensemble to earn the trust of their unseen leader Samjo, who gives him a flash drive that can disable the sentry guns.

Santiago and the CTRG assault and destroy the lab, and Santiago recovers an Atrox counteragent. However, Miller, Drábek, and Samjo each ask Santiago to give them the counteragent. There are multiple endings to Old Man depending on who Santiago gives the counteragent to, though none of them are confirmed as canon:

  • If Santiago leaves the counteragent with Miller, NATO develops a vaccine and reveals CSAT's complicity, fracturing the alliance and forcing them out of Tanoa. However, by the time the vaccine is made and distributed, countless Tanoans have already died. Though Tanoa is finally at peace, Santiago is now alone, as everyone he knows has died of Atrox.
  • If Santiago kills Miller and gives the counteragent to Drábek, the Global Health Initiative develops a vaccine and a cure. But without Miller's evidence, the public never learns of CSAT's involvement, and CSAT continues to develop Atrox unabated. The occupation continues on Tanoa as Santiago flees to avoid L'Ensemble's wrath, having angered Samjo for not giving him the counteragent.
  • If Santiago kills Miller and sells the counteragent to Samjo, L'Ensemble sells the counteragent on the black market, and it eventually reaches the GHI—without documentation. With no data, vaccine tests are ineffective and a cure is never made, allowing Atrox to spread and worsen. Santiago, paid generously by Samjo for his loyalty, leaves Tanoa to avoid the CTRG and selfishly lives out the rest of his life.

Tac-OpsEdit

The Tac-Ops mini-campaigns follow three plotlines set before and during the Altis conflict, explaining plot elements not expanded upon in other campaigns:

  • Beyond Hope details the exploits of the Government Loyalists, the predecessors of the FIA, and their fight against the AAF during the Altis Civil War in 2026.
  • Stepping Stone details NATO's operation to capture the island of Malden from North African CSAT forces to use as a "stepping stone" for the invasion of Altis.
  • Steel Pegasus details the efforts of a NATO infantry unit to prevent the opening of a second front on Altis during the NATO invasion.

First ContactEdit

In 2039, NATO and the LDF engage in mock combat training, part of Exercise Electron-39, at a Livonian factory. U.S. Army drone operator Specialist Aiden Rudwell attempts to repair a malfunctioning designator for a live fire drone strike, but it inexplicably goes off target, killing several soldiers. As Rudwell and his squad rush to help, a root-like organism erupts from the factory, almost killing Rudwell's friend, Corporal Jack Stype. Electron-39 is promptly called off; two weeks later, amid heightened tensions, the Livonian government orders NATO's departure.

Rudwell and Stype discuss Stype's suspicions of a reported "chemical leak" at the factory, and learn that the LDF has inexplicably issued a shoot-on-sight order for trespassers there. Rudwell and Stype sneak in and learn the LDF is secretly monitoring the roots, of which there are now two. Suddenly, a massive "alien flying object" appears over the factory. Rudwell and Stype retreat to Camp Kresnik, where NATO and the LDF have gathered to investigate. Major Homewood, commander of NATO in Livonia, introduces the soldiers to researchers Dr. Ian Kesson and Šimon Čapek, who inform them that the AFO was sent by extraterrestrials to gather the roots, merely the root caps of a larger network; they also reveal the roots caused the drone strike to go off target by releasing a signal that interfered with its guidance system. NATO and the LDF set out to investigate, Rudwell using repurposed EOD robots, as paranormal phenomena occur in Livonia, including dense fog, floating objects, glowing orbs, and electromagnetic pulses.

Attempts to communicate with the AFO lead Kesson to conclude that the extraterrestrials are deaf. Rudwell attempts to communicate using an electromagnetic spectrum device, and the AFO responds with vivid hallucinations of an alien world, causing Rudwell to seize. The soldiers, believing he was attacked, open fire, but are killed by the AFO's telekinetic powers; though Homewood orders NATO to stand down, the LDF orders an artillery barrage on the AFO. Stype, fearing this could spark an intergalactic war, threatens to destroy Camp Kresnik if the LDF does not stand down, and kills Homewood when he tries to stop him. Viewing this as a sign of open hostilities, the LDF and NATO fight; Rudwell, though appalled by Stype's actions, flees with him. Rudwell, Stype, Kesson, Čapek, and the surviving NATO forces regroup to investigate the extraterrestrials, while the LDF attempts to destroy the AFO and the roots. After finding a group of inexplicably dead researchers near a decayed root and investigating a crashed Russian stealth helicopter, the survivors are briefly captured by a mysterious group of Russians, but are freed by Stype after they leave. Rudwell continues to have increasingly vivid hallucinations, which imply the extraterrestrials are part of a galactic empire that has arrived on Earth to collect their root networks, of which there are apparently multiple.

Rudwell and the survivors meet with the Russians, who reveal they are a Spetsnaz unit tasked with monitoring the roots. They reveal a decayed root was accidentally ruptured in Russia 19 years prior, causing a massive explosion; fearing the LDF's attack on an entire living root network could inadvertently destroy Livonia, if not all of Eastern Europe, Spetsnaz teams up with the survivors to stop the LDF. Together, they repel a massive LDF assault on the now-uprooted root network, allowing the AFO to safely leave Earth. The Russian military eventually arrives as backup, forcing the LDF to stand down. In the aftermath, the world grapples with the realization that they are not alone, as global efforts are launched to communicate with the extraterrestrials.

DevelopmentEdit

 
Jay Crowe was the game's creative director and provided some voice acting for the game.

Bohemia Interactive officially announced the development of Arma 3 on May 19, 2011.[19] In June 2012 an alpha version of the game was demonstrated at E3.[20] In August 2013, Bohemia announced that they would release three downloadable content episodes for free after the game's initial launch.[21]

An alpha version of the game was released on March 5, 2013. The beta version was released on June 25, 2013, and anyone who owned the alpha had their copy automatically upgraded to the beta version.[22]

The final version of Arma 3 was launched on September 12, 2013. At its launch, Arma 3 featured more showcase missions and the large island of Altis.[23]

Arma 3 uses a new version of Bohemia Interactive's Real Virtuality game engine. Arma 3, like its predecessors, uses the SQF Syntax scripting language.

Downloadable contentEdit

In Arma 3, downloadable content falls under two categories: "platform content", which is present in the game and can be partially tested before purchase; and "expansion content", which is not preloaded and must be purchased and mounted to the game to be accessed. All Creator DLCs and most of the Contact DLC are considered expansion content, and are mostly considered non-canon in the Arma universe.

Platform contentEdit

ZeusEdit

Zeus was released on April 10, 2014 as a free DLC update for Arma 3. The first DLC released for the game, Zeus was announced in February 2014. Zeus allows a player to take control of a gamemaster entity (the titular Zeus) that has full control over the battlefield of a particular scenario. The interface allows Zeus to place, delete, and modify soldiers, vehicles, and static objects, as well as manage game logic, command enemy forces, and control the flow of a mission.[24]

KartsEdit

Karts was released on May 29, 2014 as the first paid DLC released for Arma 3. The DLC added over 20 types of go-karts to the game, as well as racing outfits, time trial scenarios and a wide range of static props for creating race tracks. Karts was not initially intended to be released: it originated as an April Fool's Day joke in 2014, when Bohemia Interactive released a fake trailer showcasing the then-fictional Karts DLC, featuring a parody of Jean-Claude Van Damme's Epic Split starring campaign character Scott Miller. However, its popularity in the Arma community led Bohemia Interactive to officially announce the actual release of the Karts DLC.[25]

HelicoptersEdit

Helicopters was released on November 4, 2014 as the second paid DLC released for Arma 3. The DLC added two new helicopters, the NATO CH-67 Huron (based on the CH-47 Chinook) and the CSAT Mi-290 Taru (based on the Ka-226), as well as new singleplayer scenarios and time trials.[26] The Helicopters DLC debuted with the Helicopters Update for Arma 3, which was a free platform update that added features such as firing from vehicles, cargo hooks for helicopters, and an advanced helicopter flight model based on Bohemia's Take On Helicopters flight system.[27]

MarksmenEdit

Marksmen was released on April 8, 2015 as the third paid DLC released for Arma 3. The content added was focused at improving long-range sniper gameplay, and features new weapons and weapon attachments, outfits such as ghillie suits, and singleplayer scenarios.[28] The Marksmen DLC debuted with the Marksmen Update, a free platform update which introduced new weapon mechanics such as weapon stabilization and bipods, improved AI and suppression mechanics, enhanced soundscapes, and a new multiplayer game mode, "End Game".[29]

ApexEdit

Apex was released on July 11, 2016 as the first full content expansion for Arma 3, adding content to most aspects of the base game. Originally announced as part of the Bohemia Interactive Roadmap for 2015–2016,[30] Apex added the Southeast Asian island of Tanoa, part of the Horizon Islands, a former French colony. Tanoa spans roughly 100 km2 (39 sq mi),[31] making it the third-largest terrain in Arma 3. Apex introduced a multiplayer story-based campaign called Apex Protocol, and numerous new vehicles, uniforms, factions, weapons, and editor props. Apex debuted with the Apex Update, a free platform update that introduced a new lighting system, improvements to rendering and performance, the Old Man mini-campaign, and a variety of other content.

JetsEdit

Jets was released on May 16, 2017 as the fifth paid DLC released for Arma 3, and the first to be produced jointly with another developer, being co-developed by Bohemia Interactive and Bravo Zero One Studios. The added content was focused around expanding fixed-wing aircraft gameplay, most notably featuring new fighter jets: the NATO F/A-181 Black Wasp II (based on the F/A-18E Super Hornet), the CSAT To-201 Shikra (based on the Su-57/Su-35), and the AAF A-149 Gryphon (based on the JAS 39 Gripen). The DLC also introduced new aircraft-focused objects, including a NATO drone (Sentinel UCAV, based off the X-47B), a variety of air defense systems, such as radars and anti-air weapons, and aircraft-focused props for placing in the editor, including a Gerald R. Ford-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier named the USS Freedom. Jets debuted with the Jets Update, a free platform update that introduced a variety of new content alongside an improvement of game performance. The update overhauled the existing sensory system, affecting targeting and tracking, as well as plane systems, introducing a dynamic loadout system for most aircraft and an improved aircraft damage model.

Malden 2035Edit

Malden 2035 was released on June 22, 2017 as a free DLC update for Arma 3. Its primary inclusion was a total remake of the fictional Mediterranean island of Malden, featured as the primary setting of Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis, the first game in the Arma series. Malden's overhaul was originally developed for the now-defunct free-to-play competitive FPS Project Argo, but was ported to Arma 3 and released alongside Project Argo on the 16th anniversary of Operation Flashpoint's release. The update also included a new dynamic gameplay scenario titled "Combat Patrol", which was retroactively ported to the rest of Arma 3's terrains.

Laws of WarEdit

Laws of War was released on September 7, 2017 as the sixth paid DLC released for Arma 3, focusing on the human impact of war and humanitarianism. Laws of War was developed by Bohemia Interactive's studio in Amsterdam under the codename "Orange". The DLC was created in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, with a portion of its initial proceeds going to the ICRC. The DLC added a variety of new content focused around humanitarian aid, with new props and equipment themed around the fictional humanitarian NGO the International Development and Aid Project (IDAP). The DLC includes the Remnants of War campaign, a mostly non-combat campaign following the aftermath of the NATO invasion of Altis, shown through scenarios following all sides of the conflict, as told from the perspective of an IDAP aid worker.[32]

Tac-Ops Mission PackEdit

Tac-Ops Mission Pack, also known as the Tac-Ops DLC, was released on November 20, 2017 as the seventh paid DLC released for Arma 3. The DLC adds three mini-campaign scenarios—Beyond Hope, Stepping Stone, and Steel Pegasus—that follow events that occur before and during The East Wind. The scenarios, designed to challenge the player's tactical skills, feature unique "after action reports", consisting of videos from Bohemia Interactive's military consultants giving insight about the missions and about Arma 3 in general. The Tac-Ops Mission Pack was released alongside a free platform update that added Steam achievements and introduced a major overhaul to the game's SQF scripting system, giving content creators greater freedom and ease of use.

TanksEdit

Tanks was released on April 11, 2018 as the eighth paid DLC released for Arma 3, and the last piece of content to be developed for Arma 3 by Bohemia Interactive's Czech studio. The DLC, focusing on armored warfare, introduced three new armored vehicles, primarily intended to be competent at competing with other armored vehicles: the NATO Rhino Mobile Gun System tank destroyer (based on the Rooikat), the CSAT T-140 Angara main battle tank (based on the T-14 Armata), and the AAF AWC Nyx light armored fighting vehicle (based on the Wiesel AWC). The DLC also includes up-armored variants of several base game vehicles and a mini-campaign titled Altis Requiem, following an AAF tank commander's experiences fighting the FIA and NATO. Tanks was released with the free Tanks Update, a platform update that introduced a variety of improvements to armored combat, including new anti-tank weapons, an improved vehicle handling and damage system, a multiplayer mode titled "Vanguard", and other content.[33][34]

Expansion contentEdit

ContactEdit

Contact was released on July 25, 2019 as the ninth paid DLC released for Arma 3. Set in the 163 km2 (63 sq mi) terrain "Livonia",[35] Contact adds two factions, the Livonian Defense Force and Russian Spetsnaz,[36] along with new weapons and equipment. Contact's campaign, First Contact, depicts a hypothetical first contact scenario in the Arma universe, where the player, part of a NATO infantry unit, is tasked with investigating an extraterrestrial threat after an alien invasion disrupts a joint NATO-LDF training exercise and throws Livonia into chaos.[37] Due to Contact's departure from the traditional realism of the Arma series, the events of First Contact are considered non-canon. Though most of Contact is expansion content, some aspects of the DLC, such as the weapons and equipment, are treated as platform content.

Global MobilizationEdit

Global Mobilization was released on April 29, 2019 as the tenth paid DLC released for Arma 3. It includes a 10-mission singleplayer campaign, 4 factions (West Germany, East Germany, Poland, Denmark), 70 vehicles, 30 weapons, new infantry clothing and gear, 17 multiplayer scenarios, and the 419 km2 (162 sq mi) terrain "Weferlingen". Set in 1983 during the Cold War, Global Mobilization's campaign, State Scarlet, follows West Germany's attempts to defend against an East German invasion in a "Cold War gone hot" scenario.[38] Global Mobilization was the first entry in Bohemia's "Creator DLC Program", consisting of DLCs created by the Arma modding community and third-party developers. Global Mobilization was developed by Vertexmacht.[39]

S.O.G Prairie FireEdit

S.O.G. Prairie Fire was released on May 6, 2021 as the eleventh paid DLC released for Arma 3. It includes a 6-mission co-op campaign with up to 14 players, 5 singleplayer scenarios, 4 factions (MACV-SOG, People's Army of Vietnam, Viet Cong, Army of the Republic of Vietnam), 54 vehicles, 55 weapons,[40] 41 different uniforms,[41] and the 300 km2 terrain "Cam Lao Nam" (a combination of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam). Set during the Vietnam War, the S.O.G Prairie Fire campaign follows the actions of MACV-SOG Spike Team Columbia throughout the war.[42] Part of the Creator DLC Program, S.O.G. Prairie Fire was developed by third party studio Savage Game Design, created to develop Vietnam War games.[40][43]

On September 30, 2021, a free update for S.O.G. Prairie Fire was released, adding 3 factions (MACV-SOG Naval Advisory Detachment, U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Team), 31 uniforms, new helmets and vests, 9 weapons, 6 vehicles, new diving mechanics, and the 225 km2 terrain "Khe Sanh".[44][45] A second free update, released July 12, 2022, added 2 campaign missions, 6 new factions (Australia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, U.S. CIA, Pathet Lao, Royal Lao Army), 20 uniforms, new accessories, 8 weapons, 13 vehicles, and the 25 km2 terrain "The Bra", a section of the Ho Chi Minh trail.[46][45]

CSLA Iron CurtainEdit

CSLA Iron Curtain was released on June 16, 2021 as the twelfth paid DLC released for Arma 3. It includes 9 singleplayer scenarios, 9 multiplayer missions, a singleplayer showcase, 3 factions (United States Armed Forces, Czechoslovak People's Army, Czech FIA), 30 vehicles, 35 weapons, new uniforms for all factions, and the 256 km2 terrain "Gabreta". Set during the Cold War in the mid-1980s at a border region of Czechoslovakia, the 15-mission Iron Curtain campaign[e] follows a Czech FIA rebel fighting the Czech communist government during a "Cold War gone hot" scenario. Part of the Creator DLC Program, CSLA Iron Curtain was developed by third party studio ČSLA Studio, a Czech development team composed of Arma modders.[47][48]

The release of CSLA Iron Curtain was met with criticism from the community, who claimed the DLC was unfinished, poor-quality, and lacked enough content to justify its price. On June 24, 2021, Bohemia Interactive released a statement saying that they "recognize that [they] did not do enough to ensure the appropriate quality of this particular Creator DLC" and that they would be offering no-questions-asked refunds for the next 36 days up until July 30, 2021.[49]

Western SaharaEdit

Western Sahara was released on November 18, 2021 as the thirteenth paid DLC released for Arma 3.[50] It includes a co-op campaign, 2 multiplayer scenarios, a singleplayer showcase, 4 factions (UNA Peacekeepers, Sefrawi Freedom and Independence Army, Tura, ION Services), 9 variants of existing vehicles, 9 weapons, new equipment (including a ballistic shield and a usable ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft turret), new uniforms, and the 100 km2 terrain "Sefrou-Ramal". Set in 2036 in the Arma universe, the DLC's Extraction campaign follows Team Sword and Team Shield of the private military company ION Services,[f] who are hired to rescue a kidnapped journalist from the Tura insurgency in the midst of an internal conflict in the Saharan country of Argana. Part of the Creator DLC Program, Western Sahara was developed by Rotators Collective.[51]

Other content updatesEdit

The Bootcamp Update, released on July 14, 2014, added training content, a Virtual Reality terrain, and a short campaign. The Bootcamp Campaign serves as the prequel to the main game and follows Sergeants Conway and Adams one year prior to The East Wind. The goal of this update was to introduce new players to the game's mechanics.[52]

The Nexus update, released on December 1, 2015, added an improved version of the official multiplayer mission "End Game", a spectator mode, and multiple improvements to soldier protection, stamina, and audio.[53]

The Eden update, released on February 18, 2016, added an in-game 3D editor, making the creation of missions easier. It also included launcher and server browser improvements, and an update to the audio system.[54]

A Visual Update was released with the 1.60 update, in May 2016, in advance of the Apex update.

The 1.84 update was released on August 1, 2018 alongside the Encore content pack, which contains additional anti-air assets, fixed-wing armaments, and the fictional Liberty-class destroyer.

The 1.86 update, released on December 8, 2018, added the "Warlords" multiplayer mission, based on a capture the island (CTI) scenario.[55]

ReceptionEdit

Arma 3 has received favorable reviews, garnering a score of 74 out of 100 on the review aggregation website Metacritic based on 38 reviews, and a user score of 7.6 based on 1048 ratings.[8]

Praise was directed toward the gameplay, game engine, graphics, physics, and sense of realism, but criticism was directed toward the game's difficulty, unfriendliness toward new and inexperienced players, and complex controls. Many reviewers noted the game's heightened focus on user-generated content compared to older Arma titles, complimenting the ease of installing content through the Steam Workshop. Significant early criticism focused on the lack of singleplayer content on release, with some critics calling the game unfinished due to its initial lack of a campaign.[8]

PC Gamer selected the game to be their simulation game of 2013.[58] Arma 3 won the Technical Contribution to Czech Video Game Creation Award at the 2013 Czech Game of the Year Awards, and the Czech Game of the Year Award at Boom 2013.[59][60] Rock, Paper, Shotgun placed Arma 3 16th on their list of best FPS games of all time, and 10th on their list of best simulation games of all time.[61][62]

The islands of Altis and Stratis received much praise. The Guardian included them along with Chernarus (the setting of Arma 2 and DayZ) in their list of top 10 most beautiful video game environments.[63]

In 2022, Arma 3 was among the military video games featured in the Imperial War Museum's "War Games" exhibit.[64][65] Exhibit curator Chris Cooper highlighted Arma 3's realism, the freedom and agency of the sandbox-like gameplay, the social engagement of the team-based multiplayer, and what that engagement teaches players about conflict and teamwork.[64][65]

It was announced on May 28, 2014 that the game had sold one million copies. In October 2015, sales had reached two million units, and by March 2017 it reached 3 million sales.[30][66] The game has sold 5 million copies as of June 2019.[67]

ControversiesEdit

Espionage arrestsEdit

 
The Greek island of Lemnos, on which the island of Altis is based

On September 10, 2012, Greek media reported that two Czech nationals working for Bohemia Interactive were arrested on the Greek island Lemnos and charged with espionage.[68] The two men took photographs and recorded videos of Hellenic Armed Forces installations on Lemnos, allegedly to use in the development of Arma 3.[68][69] Under Greek law, taking pictures and recordings of defense installations is prohibited for reasons of national security.[70] Prior to the incident, the issue of the game causing potential threats to Greek national security was discussed in the Hellenic Parliament in 2011.[71]

The two men were identified as Martin Pezlar and Ivan Buchta after an earlier misidentification.[72] Bohemia confirmed their employment, but stated that the pair were on vacation in Lemnos and were not sent there by the company in an official capacity.[73] Pezlar and Buchta denied the charges of espionage, maintaining that they "went just to a holiday [...] to enjoy the beauty of the island", noting that the layout of the virtual island in the development studio "was practically done" prior to their arrival, and that any photos or videos taken by them were intended as memorabilia and would not be used in the game's development.[74] After being held in custody for 128 days, the Greek government released the pair from custody on January 15, 2013.[75]

While the two were imprisoned, Bohemia shut down their "Greek Military" thread on their official forums[76][77] and made several statements regarding the situation, discussing legal matters and warning forum users regarding the legal issues of photographing military installations.[78] As a result of the incident, on February 2, 2013, Bohemia announced that the name of the main island "Lemnos" would be changed to "Altis". The Greek island of Lemnos was chosen as inspiration after Bohemia CEO Marek Španěl had visited the place on vacation. According to Bohemia, the name change is meant to emphasize that the game is fiction. The name of the game's smaller island, "Stratis", remained unchanged.

Ban in IranEdit

On September 19, 2012, the Iran Computer and Video Games Foundation and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps denied Bohemia Interactive's license to sell Arma 3 in Iran and banned the game's sale in the country for its depiction of the Iran Armed Forces. In Arma 3, Iran is portrayed as a member of the CSAT faction, a rival to NATO and one of the story's main antagonists; early builds of the game also allegedly did not feature CSAT and instead featured the Iranian military as the sole antagonists.[79][80]

Combat footage hoaxesEdit

Gameplay footage of Arma 3 has frequently been mistaken for actual combat footage, deliberately misrepresented as such in fake news, or used in propaganda. In-game footage is edited or modified to prevent easy identification of the hoax. Arma hoaxes typically consist of shaky low-resolution footage of anti-aircraft warfare in nighttime settings, with land or people rarely visible, often depicting the unrealistic application of military assets (such as American C-RAM systems destroying American aircraft). Some hoaxes may also unintentionally leave in gameplay features, such as visible HUD elements or in-game sound effects.[81]

In September 2018, Russian state-run news channel Channel One Russia aired footage from Arma 3, claiming to show Russian Su-25 attack aircraft conducting an airstrike on a military convoy during the Syrian Civil War. Channel One claimed the clip was accidentally reused from an archived report about computer games.[82][83] Following the announcement of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in April 2021, a Facebook post claiming to show the Taliban shooting down an American military transport plane received millions of views; however, the video was actually taken from a demonstration of a Phalanx CIWS mod for Arma 3.[84] In May 2021, supposed footage of Israeli anti-aircraft missiles being used against Hamas was sourced to Arma 3.[85] In September 2021, Republic TV broadcast footage purportedly showing a Pakistani anti-aircraft tank supporting the Taliban by firing at an American A-10 Thunderbolt II. Several sources, including journalist Mohammed Zubair, noticed the clip was from Arma 3; Republic TV promptly deleted their online posts of the video.[86] In August 2022, amid tense Chinese military exercises around Taiwan, a video of "military helicopters from China attacking Taiwan" was found to originate from an Arma 3 livestream.[87]

Arma 3 has been used to produce hoax videos claiming to depict events in the Russo-Ukrainian War since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, when a video of a Ukrainian anti-aircraft gun shooting down a Russian military jet received hundreds of thousands of views before being exposed as a hoax made in Arma 3;[88][89][90] parts of the clip were previously used in January 2020, under the similarly false claim that it was an American anti-aircraft weapon destroying an Iranian missile.[88][91] Other hoaxes related to the Russian invasion have claimed to depict a drone attack on Russian naval vessels,[92] an attack helicopter destroying a Russian convoy,[93] Ukrainian soldiers ambushing a Russian tank with an NLAW,[94] and Russian missiles destroying crewed NATO tanks traveling to Ukraine.[95]

Bohemia Interactive is aware of the frequent use of Arma games in military hoaxes, and has confirmed Arma 3's use in several hoaxes.[86] Bohemia CEO Marek Španěl told PC Gamer in 2012 that he was "surprised" that Arma gameplay could be confused for real footage so easily.[96] In November 2022, Bohemia officially acknowledged the use of Arma games in combat footage hoaxes and published an official guide to help viewers identify hoaxes made in video games.[81][97]

SequelEdit

Arma 4 was announced on May 17, 2022. Arma Reforger, a standalone preview using the new Enfusion engine, entered early access on the same day.[98]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Stylized as ARMA 3, Arma III, ArmA 3, or ArmA III.
  2. ^ Other fictional settings seen in expansions and campaigns are the Horizon Islands Republic; Everon and Malden; Livonia; and Argana. Some Creator DLCs are set in real locations, but they are considered non-canon.
  3. ^ Only three member nations of CSAT are depicted in Arma 3: Iran, China, and various North African states. Russia, a founding member of the SCO, is explicitly depicted as non-aligned in the Arma universe, though they have technology sharing agreements with CSAT and assist NATO in the First Contact campaign.
  4. ^ "Status Quo" is considered the canonical ending to The East Wind, as other plot events set after the Altis conflict contradict the events of "Game Over". The "situation" Kerry is called to deal with is never shown, though in-game dialogue implies it has happened before.
  5. ^ Not included with the DLC itself, but available as a separate optional modification on the Steam Workshop.
  6. ^ The same organization seen in ArmA: Armed Assault and Arma 2.

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External linksEdit