ArmA 3 is Bohemia Interactive's open-world tactical shooter that's built on three core ideas: survive, adapt, and win. At Gamescom 2012, we saw exactly how each of these practices will play out during a walkthrough of one of ArmA 3's massive landscapes.
ArmA 3's story centers around a NATO and Iranian conflict in the Aegean in the mid 2030s. You play as Captain Scott Miller, a member of the United States Army's 7th Infantry Division who's caught in a fight for survival after his unit is killed in a mission.
The game's described as a realistic military sandbox, and with the updates to Bohemia's own Real Virtuality engine, players will be able to experience armed combat in ways they never have before. Our demo took place on the island of Stratis in the Mediterranean, an absolutely huge location that expands over 19 km. And that's the small island.
Limnos, the other island in ArmA 3, is the largest terrain in the entire ArmA series, spanning around 270 km. Both of them were modeled according to real-life data, and thanks to the Real Virtuality engine you'll be able to see up to a 20 km view distance all around you when playing.
In addition to increased view distance and the ability to create such large terrain, the improvements to the Real Virtuality engine allow ArmA 3 to include ragdoll physics, better vehicle handling, aircrafts, more character customization, volumetric clouds, improved lighting, and underwater environments and combat.
Underwater environments are new to ArmA 3 and they're coming along beautifully. As soon as you submerge underwater with your special diving equipment, the world around you changes from gritty to serene. That is, until a bullet darts past you. To protect yourself underwater, you get a special rifle that shoots super cavitating bullets, and there will even be underwater vehicles.
Out of the water, ArmA 3 tries to depict war in an authentic way. Not only is the terrain realistic, forcing more realistic battles, but the game has a full day/year cycle and weather effects that will alter tactical conditions. At one point in our demo, we were attacking enemies with the sun blaring right in our face, and it was extremely difficult to see and shoot them from that position. These kinds of conditions are what real soldiers have to deal with, so we maneuvered our way out of the sun in order to get a better vantage point against our enemies.
Another mission had us setting up an air strike to take out an Iranian base. As we called in for the missiles, they launched in a realistic manner and landed in real-time, further showing off ArmA's dedication to realism.
So far, we’re really optimistic about the single-player portion of ArmA 3. Bohemia is a studio known for its high-quality simulations, and thanks to all of the features in the revamped Real Virtuality engine, you'll be able to make your way through the battlefield in ways that you've probably never seen before.
ArmA 3 goes into alpha exclusively for the PC late in 2012.