Bohemia Interactive has unveiled an all-new "spin-off expansion" for Arma 3
, its ultra-realistic first-person military combat simulator. Entitled "Contact" (a play on the first word Arma's automated soldier voices utter when they spot an enemy), the expansion will see players take on the role of a NATO drone operator in Eastern Europe during humanity's first contact with aliens. Wait, what?
That's right, aliens
, as in weirdos from another planet: "When a massive alien vessel suddenly enters the atmosphere, you are sent to investigate the extraterrestrial visitors and determine their intentions. However, amid the tension and chaos, armed conflict inevitably unfolds. Over the course of the campaign, players will engage in field science, electronic warfare, and combat reconnaissance, in an experience delivered in authentic Arma style." There will be shooting, as you'd expect from Arma, but much of the campaign will be focused on other, more cerebral activities, including studying alien anomalies with a mini UGV sampling later and CBRN defense equipment, and using a new Spectrum Device tool to control the electromagnetic spectrum for navigation, intel, and deception purposes. "Many of us have wondered if humanity is alone in the universe. I, for one, want to believe we are not. The premise of intelligent life visiting Earth from outer space has fascinated me since childhood, and combining that with the military authenticity of Arma 3 always seemed like it would make for a very cool and unique experience", project lead Joris-Jan van ‘t Land said. "After our team’s previous project—Laws of War DLC—proved that players enjoy gameplay that’s a little different, our team felt motivated to go for it. I am personally very grateful for the opportunity to explore this theme, and I want to thank all Arma 3 players for their support and making it possible for this dream to come true." Arma 3 Contact will add 163 square kilometers of new terrain in the fictional Eastern European nation of Livonia. The Livonian Defense Force and Russian Spetsnaz factions will join the party with new weapons, vehicles, and gear including the Promet Assault Rifle, RPK-12 LMG, AKU-12 carbine, CBRN clothing, masks, and backpacks, and a tractor—this is Eastern Europe, after all. There will also be new multiplayer scenarios set on the new terrain, and free bonus content for all players including NATO woodland camouflage, civilian clothing, and more than 100 props and terrain objects. Encountering aliens in the world's most popular military sim is unexpected, but as van ‘t Land said, Arma 3 is not a straight-up shooter: The Laws of War DLC
released in 2017 set players up as members of a non-combat NGO and focused on the consequences of warfare rather than the combat itself. Sales of that DLC raised nearly $177,000 for the ICRC