The lumberyard sits steaming in the jungle and my unit, a special operations task force consisting of me and two guys, has orders to destroy bandit supplies hidden within. I open with some rifle shots, taking out a couple of sentries, before the bandits catch on and start laying down a withering blanket of fire into random terrain features. My buddies shoot at an idling cargo truck. I don’t think they’re following the plan any more. An enemy runs down the road, goes prone, spins on his belt buckle, then runs back only to get flattened by another truck going the other way. I die thanks to a lucky shot, but I kill everyone by respawning as a grenadier and lobbing explosives into the encampment. I run between stacks of logs and shoot the last enemy as he stands arms-outstretched in a Christ-like pose while slowly sinking into the concrete floor of a garage. My partners split up so one guy can kneel and stand up, kneel and stand up, kneel and stand up, while the other moron watches a rock. Thanks for the help guys. We leave, me on foot, my team by teleporting. I’m dumped to a mission end screen showing that I killed 23 bad guys by myself. This is Arma 3: Apex.
100 square kilometers of South Pacific Generation Kill, after the break.Continue reading →
That’s Tanoa, the new fictional playground coming to Arma III. Bohemia Interactive presented the trailer for the new terrain during the E3 PC Gaming Show. The developers have released some more tidbits. First, the island of Tanoa is going to be a premium expansion that requires purchase unless you bought the Supporter version of Arma III that included “all” DLC. Second, the 100 square kilometer island is inspired by Fiji. It’s not an exact recreation, but certain geographic elements and the character of the location is being used as a blueprint. Third, vehicles and other equipment including a new fixed-wing aircraft and a waterscooter are coming with the terrain. Finally, Bohemia is working on improvements like better water reflections, lighting, and shoreline interactions. These engine improvements will be coming to every Arma III owner, even if they don’t buy the DLC.
Arma III’s Tanoa expansion is a work-in-progress and is scheduled for release in 2016.
Arma III launched back in 2013 with a lot of guns. The NATO and enemy forces had their own handguns, assault rifles, carbines, sub-machineguns, and sniper rifles. Don’t ask me to name any of them. The weapons felt generic and unmemorable, but apparently what Arma III needs is more of them. At least, that’s what Bohemia Interactive is offering in the upcoming Marksman DLC. Seven spiffy new weapons, focused on augmenting team firepower, are coming in the expansion. Alongside the DLC, the developers are releasing a free update that adds bipods, weapon resting, a new multiplayer mode, and single player scenarios for everyone to use.
Weapon resting means that players will benefit from an accuracy bonus whenever they are near a stable surface, while weapon deployment will enable players to use bipods for a more steady shot. Together with improvements made to the simulation of recoil, and improvements to enemy AI suppression, this should provide a more tactical, intuitive, and rich experience
Bipods and weapon resting are features that have long been requested by the community. Depending on the execution, these changes could do a lot for making small arms fire feel more distinctive. The Marksman DLC for Arma III will be available on April 8th for $15.99, or as part of the Arma III DLC bundle.
Meet Guy. He’s the lamest character I could come up with in Arma III’s virtual arsenal. Look at him! He’s got a cigarette behind his ear, a bandanna that was too weak for Call of Duty: Ghosts, and he’s wearing white cowboy boots. That’s a starter pistol in his hands, so he’s useless in combat as well. I wouldn’t buy a used car from this person, yet he’s ready for (in)action in Arma III. I can’t wait to make a mission using the in-game scenario editor in which the players will have to escort Guy through a battlefield. Or maybe a hot tub sales convention.
The wardrobe and infantry testing area is part of the free Bootcamp Update that came out earlier this week. Besides the dress-up module, Bohemia Interactive added VR training missions and a prologue to the single player campaign to ease newbies into the particular style of infantry gameplay the Arma series offers. The developers have also revamped the fatigue and weapon sway mechanics as well as crushing a few bugs.
Bohemia Interactive has released details of the upcoming Bootcamp Update for Arma III. The update adds training scenarios to help new players learn to play the game. Instead of just relying on the typical linear shooter tutorial in which a drill sergeant yells at the player to run through obstacles and shoot at targets on a range, Bohemia is crafting a suite of scenarios encompassing the full range of gameplay that Arma III offers. Included in the update is a set of virtual reality simulations with Tron-inspired assets that can be used with the in-game editor to create new scenarios.
“Because we know that different kinds of players like to learn in different ways, we’ve approached Bootcamp’s content with a fairly open mind. The result is a fairly diverse set of content and features. What binds these modes together is a sense of achievement: we want players to know that – although it may be different from other games – Arma is far from impenetrable.”
The update will also come with adjustments to weapon sway and fatigue, as well as Steam Workshop support for addons, like new vehicles and terrain.
Bohemia Interactive’s April Fools’ joke was a commercial for go-karts in Arma III that parodied the infamous Jean-Claude Van Damme Volvo truck video. Like the Tauntaun sleeping bag, the concept was too good to leave as a joke so the karts are now being offered as DLC for Arma III. Players that purchase the Kart DLC will get a selection of pint-sized race-cars, drivers, a starter pistol, and track objects to use in the editor. Take a break from shooting enemies and zip around the included racing scenario!
With the karts, Bohemia has announced a new strategy for their DLC offerings in Arma III, versus the way they handled DLC in Arma II. In an effort to not split the multiplayer community, mechanical features like new physics, ballistics, AI improvements and so on, will be free to all. Assets like the karts or the upcoming helicopters will be usable by non-buyers, but there’ll be an in-game nag about it and there may be other restrictions. The example used by Bohemia is that a non-owner may not be able to pilot a DLC helicopter, and only be allowed to board it as a passenger. DLC scenarios may be locked off as well to non-owners, but they’ll be able to join multiplayer servers using the new assets and even take part in user-created missions with the new equipment.
To explain the system a bit more thoroughly, while you’ll be able to use premium content everywhere – in singleplayer, the editor and multiplayer – if you haven’t yet purchased it, notifications will be shown. These become more prominent the longer you use an unowned asset – and only when you’re using it – we have no intention to present ‘ads’ to you when you are not actively playing with unowned content.
A DLC bundle that includes Karts as well as the upcoming Marksmen and Helicopters DLC is being offered with a 25% discount on buying the DLC separately.
Arma III’s third and final singleplayer campaign DLC will be released on March 20th. Bohemia Interactive announced that the Win chapter focuses on NATO infantryman Ken Berry’s actions in the Mediterranean as the conflict with hostile forces escalates to “the brink of all-out war”. The free DLC will come with two new fixed-wing assets. NATO will get the A-164 Wipeout, a futuristic version of the venerable A-10, while the CSAT air force will get the snazzy To-199 Neophron pictured above. A separate showcase mission will be included in the update to highlight the new aircraft.
Bohemia Interactive has announced Zeus, a free DLC coming for Arma III multiplayer. Zeus will allow one player to become a sort of “game master” or god of the battlefield, by giving him control of almost all aspects of the game in real-time. The Zeus player can spawn units, issue battle orders, smite troublesome griefers, and basically do anything he wants. Popular YouTube players like Jester814 have already been using similar mods like MCC Sandbox to do similar things since Arma III lanuched, but Zeus promises to have better integration with the basic game as well as official support. Plus, smiting! I mentioned that, right?
The second of three promised campaign DLC installments for Arma III is now available. The Adapt episode puts players once again into the combat boots of Ken Berry as he contemplates his existence on the war-torn island of Altis. He also shoots many enemy soldiers and walks slowly through the mediterranean countryside. Bohemia Interactive says that after the largely linear missions in the first episode, this part of the story uses more of the franchise’s typical open gameplay.
“Episode One helped players get to grips with the basic skills needed to survive. Episode Two introduces a whole new set of challenges, giving players more freedom and responsibility in the wide, open terrain of Altis.”
The Adapt campaign DLC is available for free through Steam to all owners of Arma III.
Arma III’s second free campaign DLC, Adapt, will be released on January 21st of next year. Bohemia Interactive’s announcement for the episode explained that the DLC will feature less traditional modern warfare scenarios. Jaroslav Kasny, the content lead for Arma III, said the developers are trying to use more features of the game’s sandbox design.
“Players will find more open and unorthodox scenarios, and with the help of guerrilla warfare, set out to defeat a much stronger enemy.”
Along with the campaign release, Bohmeia revealed that the independent faction (that is totally not a future game version of the Greek army) will be getting a major force upgrade. A new main battle tank, infantry fighting vehicle, and reconnaissance helicopter will be added to the Altis Armed Forces. These assets will be available for use by all scenario makers in the sandbox editor on December 11th. Courageous soldiers can get the new military assets now by signing into the dev branch of the game on Steam.
Bohemia promised to release three free DLC updates for Arma III when it was announced during the beta that the game would launch without a traditional story campaign.
Arma III’s first campaign episode will launch on October 31st. Bohemia Interactive announced that “Survive” the first of three free campaign DLC installments, will drop players into the war-torn Republic of Stratis. Jay Crowe, creative director on Arma III, described the setup by harkening back to the franchise’s roots.
“Our first campaign episode, ‘Survive’, introduces players to Ben Kerry, a regular soldier who’s part of a NATO peacekeeping mission in the Mediterranean. Following a couple of years of uneasy cease-fire, this US-led deployment is now in the process of a staged drawdown. The vacuum left by withdrawing forces is being rapidly filled by the opposing CSAT faction, creating the conditions for, one might say, a flashpoint.”
Along with the campaign scenarios, the DLC will add more vehicles, objects, and animations for use in the game’s editor. In my review of Arma III, I praised the strength of the editor and the tense gameplay that can occur, but I was disappointed by the lack of content and technical issues. Hopefully, Bohemia can shore up the game’s weaknesses with this free campaign DLC.
In the hoo-rah jingoism of Call of Duty and other military action shooters, it’s easy to forget that many of the scenes depicted in the games would be judged contrary to the laws of war. The BBC reports that the Red Cross would like games to encourage their players to adhere to the international treaties governing behavior on the battlefield. Commit a war crime? Face the consequences! The video news story features a lot of Arma III footage to back up the claim that games depicting warfare are getting more realistic.
The story includes Marek Spanel, CEO of Bohemia Interactive, speaking about how they’re incorporating some of the Red Cross recommended concepts into their game. Specifically, shooting a civilian will result in your fellow soldiers firing on you to presumably stop you from ruining the effort to win over the locals’ hearts and minds. Spanel must be talking about the campaign Bohemia promises to add to the game someday since the in-game editor lets you make and share scenarios with any virtual atrocities you want. I tested it in the editor, and you can murder noncombatants all day with nary a word from your soldiers. Still, with the kind of verisimilitude Arma III strives to present about modern warfare, it’s interesting to see some effort to incorporate real-world moral concerns, even if it has to come as free DLC.
My review of Arma III touched on the freedom the editor allows, and how user-made content is mostly what Arma III offers for now.
I’ve been walking for twenty minutes since the mission started, my MX assault rifle swaying in front of me, the Mediterranean sunset over my shoulder, when I spot the enemy about 800 meters away on a hilltop outpost. I crouch next to a bush and command a couple of my NATO squaddies to flank left behind some rocks so they can get a better angle on the enemy. We have to take this point so the area around Camp Rogaine will be secured. One… Two… Pop! Pop! Pop! The sound of small arms fire stutters out from a group of nearby trees. I can hear excited Farsi chatter from the enemy soldiers. We’ve been spotted by a patrol! A firefight breaks out between the Iranians and my team pinned behind the rocks. I slide into a prone position and take careful aim on a target while they’re shooting at my flanking fire team. If I can just pick off a few of these guys, my men can move up to that abandoned shack for some cover so we can call in some support from the Israeli Merkava tanks. That’s when a Greek transport helicopter crashes into the hillside killing everyone. Welcome to Arma III.