Cover art of ARMA 3
|Engine||Real Virtuality 4|
|Release date(s)||Early Access (Alpha)
|Genre(s)||First-person shooter, tactical shooter|
|Distribution||Optical disc, digital distribution|
ARMA 3 is an open-world, tactical shooter video game developed by Czech studio Bohemia Interactive for Microsoft Windows. It was released on September 12, 2013. ARMA 3's storyline takes place in the mid-2030s during the fictional Operation Magnitude, a military operation launched by NATO forces fighting in Europe against "Eastern armies" referred to as CSAT (Canton-Protocol Strategic Alliance Treaty) led by a resurgent Iran with a coalition of other Middle Eastern and Asian nations.
Set more than 25 years after the events of ARMA 2, in 2035, NATO forces deployed to islands of the Aegean Sea are trying to hold off a massive CSAT's offensive from the east. During the singleplayer campaign, the player takes on the role of a US Army soldier, Corporal Ben Kerry. Initially, the player must survive on his own after friendly forces are defeated in a failed NATO operation. During the campaign, the player will face everything from lone wolf infiltration missions to the commanding of large scale armored operations. The player will be able to choose different objectives and weaponry (such as UAVs, artillery, and air support) according to their play style.
ARMA 3 takes place on the Aegean islands of Altis (formerly Lemnos) and Stratis of Greece, in the Mediterranean Sea. The islands feature photo-realistic terrain and water environments. Altis is the largest official terrain in the Arma series with ground area covering approximately 270 km2. The smaller island, Stratis, expands over an area of 20 km2. The islands also feature over 50 villages with buildings that are both penetrable and destructible.
In 2030, civil war erupts on the Mediterranean islands of Altis (formerly Lemnos) and Stratis, killing half of the civilian population, rendering thousands of them homeless, and causing a refugee crisis. Under harsh conditions, NATO peacekeeping forces deploy to the region to secure peace and establish joint NATO–Altian Armed Forces (AAF) bases on the islands. Five years later, with NATO investment in the Aegean dwindling, the Canton-Protocol Strategic Alliance Treaty (CSAT), a military alliance of eastern hemisphere countries, begins subsidizing the AAF and mobilizes its own forces in the Pacific. Facing political pressure to withdraw at the end of their peacekeeping mandate, NATO begins reducing their forces causing tensions to rise between AAF and NATO forces.
Episode 1 – Survive
By July 2035, the AAF have control of most of the two islands. NATO is nearly finished in dismantling their equipment and bases and a few infantry units and a helicopter group are left in Stratis. The NATO commander is called to the Kamino Firing Range for unknown reasons. While working on the island, U.S. soldiers Corporal Ben Kerry and Staff Sergeant Adams are also sent to Kamino by the commander of the nearby Camp Rogain. Eventually, they find their commander dead and AAF forces suddenly attack the remaining NATO forces, causing command elements to fall and severing communication with the outside world. Before they can rally with other survivors, Adams is killed by a landmine, forcing Kerry to continue alone. After arriving at a decommissioned NATO camp, British special forces led by Captain Scott Miller takes command and the survivors attempt a number of missions on the island, but are met with limited success. Miller manages to contact NATO MEDCOM and arranges for a re-invasion of Stratis. He splits his forces into four squads, Alpha through Delta, and begins a mission to clear a path for the invasion. The operation appears to be a success as AAF forces retreat, but it goes wrong when CSAT forces arrive to back them up. Captain Miller reveals the operation's real goal was never to retake the island, but instead, to evacuate the survivors from Stratis. Surviving NATO forces escape Stratis by boat and make for the island of Altis. Kerry is frustrated by Miller's deceit, but Miller only divulges that on arrival they will link up with a local loyalist group called the FIA. Suddenly, AAF attack jets arrive and capsize the boats.
Episode 2 – Adapt
On Altis, Kerry wakes up and finds himself in a skirmish between the FIA and the AAF-CSAT forces. He later reunites with Miller and his team and is taken to the FIA. He is given charge of a guerrilla squad and he does numerous missions in Altis. Later on, they learn that NATO will be invading the island through the main airport. The FIA plan to assist NATO by attacking a smaller airfield, drawing forces away from the main one. Meanwhile, Kerry's squad destroys a nearby artillery site controlled by CSAT special forces before withdrawing back to airfield which the FIA had managed to capture. En route, they witness NATO gunships fire upon the airfield and Kerry is informed that NATO forces have mistakenly engaged the FIA in the airfield. Confused, Kerry approaches a downed gunship, the pilot of which is shocked to hear they had been firing at friendlies. The pilot radios his superior which promptly orders NATO to disengage their attack on the FIA-held airfield. The NATO commanding officer meets with Kerry and tells him that they were unaware of the FIA's activities on the island. When Kerry asks about Captain Miller, the officer responds that he has no knowledge of a 'Scott Miller' and tells Kerry that British soldiers moved off from Stratis many months ago. Confused by what he has heard, Kerry boards a helicopter to be debriefed.
Episode 3 – Win
Kerry meets with the NATO commander Colonel Armstrong, call sign "Crossroads", and learns they failed to capture the Altis airport. Crossroads says that Captain Miller is to be considered hostile until further notice, and he sends Kerry to the front line on Altis. While on patrol one night, CSAT launches a counter-offensive against NATO positions near the airport. After receiving Crossroads' approval, Kerry links up with the FIA and leads a squad. After repelling the counter-offensive, NATO launches an assault on the airport and secures it right before an earthquake hits the island. Tectonic activity increases, and NATO continues their assault on Altis, taking the capital before launching a final effort to wipe out the AAF. Crossroads again warns Kerry to avoid Cpt. Miller or any of his team. While NATO is on the brink of defeating the AAF, Kerry is contacted by Lt. James, one of Miller's squad members. Here, the player must make a decision: join NATO for the final offensive or disobey and find Lt. James.
If the player chooses to regroup with NATO, Kerry scouts and marks artillery and CAS supports so friendly forces can move in. Shortly after the assault begins, the AAF unconditionally surrenders. Six weeks later, life on Altis has returned to normal, albeit with heavy NATO and private military company presence. Kerry is tasked to escort a journalist. On the way, the journalist asks Kerry about his involvement in the Stratis incident. Hiding what he knows about Captain Miller or anything that had happened, Kerry tells about his behavior during the NATO withdrawal. Shortly after arriving, Crossroads calls Kerry back to base to help deal with a 'situation', and the story ends.
If the player chooses to look for James, Kerry finds him alone and wounded. Just before dying, James orders him to find a truck loaded with a special device and take it to Miller. Fighting through CSAT special forces, he brings the device to Miller. The device is revealed to be a tectonic weapon responsible for the recent tremors, and it is implied that Miller had caused the incident on Stratis. It is also revealed that he provided misinformation to the FIA, and caused the failure of the first NATO invasion attempt on Altis, all in an effort to buy time to acquire the device. Just then, CSAT launches a massive invasion and Crossroads orders all NATO forces into tactical withdrawal. Miller tells Kerry that he will come back for him and to stay put while he and his team take the device off the island. After some time, Kerry contacts Miller, but Miller replies that with the invasion it will be impossible to come back for him. Kerry's fate is left in the hands of the player: he can either escape from the island with friendly forces, or be permanently killed.
- Ben Kerry – The main protagonist of the game, a US Army corporal from Oregon deployed on Stratis. He becomes a member of Alpha squad led by Sergeant Conway. He later joins the FIA and fights against CSAT on both Altis and later Stratis, leading Omega squad, before returning to NATO on Altis and leading Nomad squad.
- Scott Miller – A British captain who is the sole surviving NATO officer on Stratis in the first episode of the campaign. He leads NATO soldiers against the AAF and later helps the FIA. His team's callsign is Falcon.
- Kostas Stavrou – The leader of the FIA during the events of Adapt, who cooperates with Miller and Kerry.
- Colonel Armstrong – The commander of NATO forces deployed to the Republic of Altis & Stratis after the events of Survive and Adapt. His call-sign is Crossroads.
- Nikos Panagopoulos – An important member of the FIA responsible for the unity and supply of the organisation. He is last seen in Episode 3 as the new leader of the FIA.
- Lieutnant James – Second in command of Miller's Combat Technology Research Group.
- Staff Sergeant Adams – Kerry's superior officer and a friend. He fights the AAF with him when the flashpoint starts.
- NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is a military alliance and has a peacekeeping mission on Stratis. Decades of economic and political turbulence across member states has left NATO weakened and facing a strategic paradigm shift. The peacekeeping forces on Stratis are planned to be withdrawn, with British forces said to be pulled out before the events of the game, as the US focuses more on the Pacific theatre, amid increasing tensions with CSAT in the east.
- CSAT – Canton-Protocol Strategic Alliance Treaty is an alliance of states with the goal of mutual defense, expanded global influence, and sustained economic growth. Set against the context of foundering economies and civil unrest across the west, CSAT has risen in prominence over the last decade. Its forces support the Altian government. It is reminiscent of the real-life SCO, but according to their speaking language and design of their assault rifle (named Katiba and similar to Iranian KH-2002 assault rifle), they seem to be Iranian Armed Forces and their allies.
- AAF – Altian Armed Forces are loyal to the Altian government. Although it officially operates under the observation and training of international peacekeepers, the force remains loyal to the new, hard-line Altis government and acts with de facto judicial and executive authority. However, it is debilitated by an inexperienced command structure and is blighted by widespread corruption.
- FIA – Freedom and Independence Army is an loyalist army joined NATO fighting against the Altian government and CSAT. Believed to be chiefly composed of former and defected members of the AAF, disparate fragments of opposition to the 2026 Kavala coup d'état joined together in the grind of bloody civil war. The FIA have begun to gain traction among the largely displaced population of Altis and has found international support in the west.
Bohemia Interactive officially announced the development of ARMA 3 on May 19, 2011. In June 2012 an alpha version of the game was demonstrated at E3. In August 2013, Bohemia Interactive announced that they will release three downloadable content episodes for free after the game's initial launch. An alpha version of the game was released on March 5, 2013, allowing players to experience the game during development, as well as assist in development by reporting bugs and giving feedback on their experience. The beta version was released on June 25, 2013 and anyone who owned the alpha would have their copy automatically upgraded. 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.
ARMA 3 uses a new version of Bohemia Interactive's Real Virtuality game engine.
In February 2014 the first DLC for the game titled Zeus was announced. It allows players to use the game's Zeus mode in multiplayer where the player becomes god-like and can control scenarios in real time. Zeus was released on April 10, 2014.
On May 1, 2014 the studio announced that two DLC are in development along with new expansion. The first DLC ARMA 3 Helicopters will feature new transport helicopters and new flying mechanics. This DLC is scheduled for second half of 2014. The second DLC is ARMA 3 Marksman. It will include new weapons and shooting mechanics. It was also scheduled that in late 2015 the studio will release expansion for ARMA 3 that is currently in pre-production.
Bohemia Interactive featured an April Fool joke video on April 1, 2014. It announced a DLC Karts that would add a Go-kart racing into the game. The video was a parody of Jean-Claude Van Damme Splendid Split video with character of Scott Miller. The video became popular and fans liked the idea so Bohemia Interactive decided to release the DLC on May 29. The DLC added 20 types of Karts, objects useful for creating tracks and driver models. ARMA 3: Karts is the first paid DLC for ARMA 3.
Bootcamp Update was released on on July 14, 2014. It features training content, a terrain Virtual Reality and a short campaign. The Bootcamp Campaign serves as the prequel to the main game. It follows Sergeant Conway and Sergeant Adams one year prior the East Wind Campaign.
ARMA 3 has received generally favorable reviews, garnering a score of 74 out of 100 on the review aggregation website Metacritic based on 38 reviews. Some reviewers praise the modifications Bohemia Interactive have done with the engine, animations and sound. However, others criticised the lack of singleplayer content on release, namely a campaign.
PC Gamer selected the game to be the simulation game of the year. ARMA 3 also gained Czech video game of 2013 Award for technological contribution to Czech video game output and was elected to be best Czech video game of the Year in Booom 2013.
The islands of Altis and Stratis also received much praise. The Guardian even included them along with Chernarus (the setting of ARMA 2 and DayZ) in its list of 10 most beautiful video game environments. Other video game worlds in the list included Skyrim, Los Santos, Empire Bay etc.
As of May 28, 2014 the game has sold one million copies.
The Greek media reported on September 10, 2012 that two Czechs were arrested on the Greek island Lemnos and charged with espionage. According to Greek media reports, the two men claimed to be working for Bohemia Interactive in an official capacity, recording videos and taking photographs for the development of ARMA 3. Under Greek law taking photographs of military installations and the like is prohibited for reasons of national security. Prior to the incident, the issue of the game causing potential threats to Greek national security was discussed in the Greek Parliament in 2011. The two were initially identified as David Zapletal and Pavel Guglava, although it was later confirmed that the two were actually Martin Pezlar and Ivan Buchta. The duo's employee status under Bohemia Interactive was confirmed, but the company later stated that they were on the island "with the sole purpose of experiencing the island's beautiful surroundings". Buchta and Pezlar refuted 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 video or photographic recordings were intended for memorabilia purposes and that they would have little or no use in the game's development. After being held in custody for 128 days, the Greek government released the arrested developers from jail on January 15, 2013.
While the two were in jail, Bohemia Interactive shut down access to one of the threads on their official forums titled Greek Military which was created on August 1, 2012. Bohemia Interactive has since made several statements regarding the situation on their official forums, discussing legal matters and warning users regarding the problems arising from photographing Greek military installations. As a result of the incident, on February 2, 2013, Bohemia Interactive announced that the name of the main island 'Lemnos' would change to 'Altis'. The Greek island of Lemnos was chosen as inspiration after Bohemia Interactive CEO Marek Spanel had visited the place on vacation. According to Bohemia Interactive, the name change is meant to emphasize the game is fiction. The game's smaller island named 'Stratis' will remain unchanged.
Ban in Iran
Lukáš Veselý, The Associate Producer on ARMA 3, speculated in an interview for HerniMag magazine that ARMA 4 could be released in 2017. He also said that he is pretty sure that the sequel will be produced in future as ARMA series "still proves to be a strong brand and a viable project and we will take care of it."
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