Shooting noncombatants in Arma III will result in a shrug

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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.