Arma 3 isn't your typical FPS
What makes Arma 3 different from other shooters?
Ivan: I could probably list tons of particular features, but what really stands out is the possibility to employ all kinds of vehicles and infantry in a single scenario over a very large terrain, and still feel the unyielding conditions of battle.
Jay: The sheer scalability of the Arma 3 engine - be it the potential size and detail of a terrain or the huge number of vehicles, soldiers and aircraft populating it - alongside the fidelity of art and depth of simulation, I think still remains without comparison.
Ivan: Our steady focus on real-life rules, too, has delivered gameplay that offers a lot of satisfaction to those who accept the fact Arma games are not just shooters, but very tactical affairs where one has to think to survive.
Jay: Yes, just because the setting has changed to 2035, doesn't mean our previous gameplay is suddenly invalidated. Arma 3 offers a big new feature list, but it’s built upon the strong foundation offered by Arma 2, the significant improvements of Operation Arrowhead and, of course, retains the open architecture that enables unparalleled modification.
Ivan: Not to forget the superbly creative community putting it all to a good use!
What should series fans or vets look out for in Arma 3?
Jay: I know a lot of community vets are looking forward to experimenting with the new technology. Things like Render-to-Texture and the integration of Java to our scripting language, which we saw introduced in Take On Helicopters, will make their way into Arma 3 and into the greedy hands of our mod-makers! :)
Ivan: Veterans will hopefully find the controls more responsive, HDR more accurate, sound more powerful and AI more cunning. There are many new features the community had been musing about for a long time, even since the times of Cold War Crisis, like custom weapons and loadouts or underwater combat. There are also many seemingly minor fixes and alterations made with modders in mind, many new scripting commands and a setting allowing for interesting exploitation by the community mission- and addon-makers.
Is the game a "walled garden" or could new players jump in?
Ivan: We realize that Arma games have always been rather rough on most gamers in terms of controls, merciless simulation or the sheer extent of what one can do in the game. There were certainly many people who simply gave up after being confronted with combat in Arma.
We regard the complexity and relative difficulty as important features contributing to the unique experience of the Arma series, but we try to address the issues which would distract players from immersion into the virtual battlespace: we don't mind sending player into a tense urban battle with enemy armor storming friendly positions, but we don't want him to suffer from the awkward controls preventing him from applying the correct tactics.
Jay: Just 'jumping in' will, hopefully, be easier as compared to Arma 2 or Operation Arrowhead. Part of that hope rests upon improvements to things like the UI, controls, animations and to a return to our roots: integrating 'tutorials' into the Arma 3 campaign. For a lot of players, the campaign will be their first experience. We hope that starting the game in this way will allow players to blast a hole through the wall and get on with the serious business of playing in the garden.
What is Bohemia Interactive trying to achieve with Arma 3?
Ivan: We don't want to just create a game which would be played for a few weeks or months, only to be forgotten and thrown away; we wish to offer up a platform for gamers fond of military tactics and to the community of modders.
Jay: Arma 3 is also an opportunity to create a new generation of the Real Virtuality engine with various and substantial improvements over its predecessors, which may serve as the basis for the next generation of Bohemia's military training tools.
Ivan: Also, we would like to create another game we would enjoy in the next few years. :)
The Arma series is known for its more realistic combat experience; is Arma 3 making any changes that might affect that?
Ivan: Sure, we would like to make the experience even more authentic. :) Despite of what has been said about more accessible controls, military enthusiasts definitely don't need to fear we would turn Arma into an arcade shooter.
Jay: While it is obviously important for us to provide a satisfying experience to potential new players - providing a natural learning curve for the very basics, etc - we're equally aware that Arma has always drawn its strength from what makes it unique. Sustaining or improving the fidelity of the simulation and an adherence to making a serious game for serious gamers guides our design decisions, with features like submersibles, artillery simulation and unmanned vehicles offering new avenues of realistic combat.
Ivan: Also there are those seemingly tiny details which would make a difference to the players more acquainted with the game, like chemlights, and some fresh ideas concerning the campaign and multiplayer game-modes. Overall, I’d say the currently developed concepts will provide a very interesting military experience in both cases.
Currently announced as a PC exclusive, will there ever be a console iteration?