BIS On “Private Military Company” For Arma 2

By Jim Rossignol on October 14th, 2010 at 2:56 pm.


We’ve got the scoop on the second bit of DLC for Arma 2, right here. Following on from British Armed Forces (BAF), it introduces another playable faction and campaign along similar lines. It’s called Private Military Company, and features the activities of a team of private military contractors within the Arma 2 world, or what BIS are call the “Armaversum”. It’s designed to be both single player and two-player co-op, across ten missions. Needless to say, there will new weapons and vehicles, as well as a new map. It’s going to hit on November 24th for £7.99/€8.99/$9.99.

For further, exacting details you should check out our chat with the authors of the DLC, Karel Moricky, senior designer, and Jay Crow, who is the creative lead, below. (And there’s even a trailer.)

RPS: So then, it’s a topical subject for the second Arma 2 DLC: “Private Military Company”. What to explain what you have planned?

JC: Sure. For a start, we were really pleased with BAF – it offered some unique gameplay, and had a different ‘feeling’ from Operation Arrowhead or Arma 2 (A2). It garnered a positive reception, and so with PMC we’re again looking to move forward with the core gameplay experience. It’s about constantly re-evaluating our design and analysing what might have been missing from some of our previous instalments; yet, also retaining – or indeed returning to – the roots of what made the original game so successful.


RPS: What do you mean by “core gameplay experiences”?

KM: A2OA focused on the ‘big picture’, but it’s good not to forget that the people who are actually fighting have souls. Soldiers on ground, directly experiencing combat situations – rather than political ties and strategic manoeuvres – their most pressing daily concern is the enemy patrol hiding behind a hill. They’re comrades in arms. They live and feel the war together.

JC: It’s same for soldiers, marines, and private contractors alike – the visceral experience. Sure, being a piece of a greater – perhaps faceless – war machine, yet still inescapably personal, and we intend it to be the same for you and your friend while playing the PMC multiplayer campaign.


RPS: So we could play the campaign co-op?

KM: The whole campaign is co-op multiplayer compatible. Instead of creating set of loosely connected campaign, single player and multiplayer scenarios, we focused solely upon a cooperative campaign. All missions will be playable in two-player co-op, giving you the opportunity to invite your friend and share your progress. Missions
are built upon a broad range of different gameplay elements which enforcing team play, like sniper/spotter or helicopter pilot/door gunner situations.

JC: Multiplayer was certainly a popular feature in both Arrowhead and BAF. PMC is primarily designed to be played and enjoyed in singleplayer; yet, we’re looking to see where a cooperative campaign can take us from a gameplay perspective. It’s about looking at what was a success in BAF, and taking that forward through PMC.


RPS: So is this new DLC quite similar to the way BAF was executed?

JC: A lot of the feedback from both Arrowhead and BAF was that players enjoyed the campaigns, but were left wanting a little more – in terms of length, or narrative depth, or characterisation. That’s partly a product of the increasing complexity of each individual mission, of course; for example, it’s just not appropriate to compare A2 missions with Cold War Crisis (CWC) missions. Saying that, PMC – like CWC – sets out to focus much more upon the campaign experience – unfolding across thirteen missions.


RPS: So it’s more like Cold War Crisis has influenced the design of this second DLC?

KM: In some ways, yes. Another aspect reminiscent of CWC is fact that in majority of these missions you’ll be just squad member, not leader. When you don’t need to babysit AI subordinates, you have more time to absorb what your in-game character thinks and feels.

JC: Yea, like CWC, it’s a character-centric linear narrative; however, there are splits – decisions to make that will change the upcoming missions. We feel this is important as, firstly, it provides replayability and, more importantly, offers a truer sense of interaction with the story.

KM: Of course, the missions themselves are largely atomic – separated from cut-scenes and fundamental story elements where it’s appropriate – so when you decide to replay them, you needn’t be hamstrung by the conversations and plot.

RPS: Private contractors seem fairly, uh “of the moment”. Do they really fit with your military simulation themes?

JC: Right now, there’s no better gaming platform for military simulation than A2 and A2OA. Authenticity, moddability, extensibility, all of that remains at the heart of A2 and certainly guides our design decisions in PMC as well. We’re not talking about a balls-out Hollywood rendition of contractors; PMC is a legitimate faction to add, and are a – perhaps unfortunate – reality of modern theatres of war.

KM: Technically, no. But the PMC faction is set as Independent, which means in the editor, you can make it either friendly to or enemy of NATO forces. Also, contractor’s models and vehicles will have space where you can put a company logo. It will be fully customizable, not limited to our own ION Inc. For your missions, you can create whole new PMC companies with long questionable histories.

JC: Introducing another OPFOR to Takistan really was something that we looked closely at doing, with several interesting concepts drafted. Right now, though, PMC offered us the best way to provide interesting content and expand upon the scope and depth of the ‘Armaversum’, supporting our ongoing development of engine features, stability improvements and optimisations.


RPS: HmmmmMMMMMmmmmmm. This website recently appeared. What’s all that about then?

KM: Sorry, our agreement with them forbids us to disclose any details.

JC: Although, apparently, AAN-online has an exclusive feature on the company…

RPS: Thanks for your time.


Cor.

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73 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Kelron says:

    Sounds good. As much as the scale of Arma 2 impresses me, I seem to have a lot more fun with the solo or squad member missions where I don’t have to babysit a group of AI.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yeah, two-player co-op in those huge landscapes sounds great.

    • Baka says:

      As long as it’s actually playable this time around.
      My buddy and I tried the first campaign mission a total of maybe three times, but it always bugged out for us. We skipped that mission and tried the next one, only to get another broken script right before the end of a LOT of running.
      A shame, everything before that was pretty enjoyable.
      We picked the game up at ony of it’s sales, so it was fairly patched up (or so one would have assumed) at that point.

    • mlaskus says:

      I never had luck with Boehemia’s games. They are always bugged to the point of unplayability for me. I managed to play Operation Flashpoint relatively bug free about a year after the release, no such luck with either ArmA though.

  2. BAshment says:

    i like the sputnik chopper drone.

    • EthZee says:

      Ah – but does it play Yankee Doodle and America the Beautiful on regular rotation, is what I’d like to know.

  3. jackflash says:

    Looks great. I hope they package Operation Arrowhead with all the new DLC into some kind of bundle later on, as I still haven’t splurged on OA yet.

  4. Dejoh says:

    The Bis studio’s are busy beavers.

  5. RadioactiveMan says:

    I find the inclusion (and glorification/legitimization?) of military contractors in this game much more objectionable than playing as Taliban in Medal of Honor… but maybe thats just me.

    • Bluester says:

      I don’t think i’d ever accuse BIS of glorification on any level.

    • Turin Turambar says:

      The addon for Arma 1 were already protagonized by a “merc company”.

    • Dominic White says:

      If the teaser trailer is any indication, then glorification is pretty far from what we’ll be seeing here. Paranoid, angry men, in it purely for the paycheque.

    • DrGonzo says:

      The ominous text made it pretty clear they will be portraying them in a negative light.

    • The Juice says:

      It’s obvious by your comment that you don’t know what contractors do.

    • Dodgene says:

      Or he knows perfectly well what contractors do, and simply doesn’t approve of it.

    • Tei says:

      Well.. I don’t know why these men exist and are on these conflicts. Can anyone detail that for me? even if is a opinion.

  6. pipman3000 says:

    i’m not buying another goddamn game about mercenaries unless it’s called jagged alliance.

  7. Malleus says:

    “in majority of these missions you’ll be just squad member, not leader.”

    That’s bad, but otherwise it sounds good.

    • Premium User Badge

      El_MUERkO says:

      I’ll be happy to be honest, I spend far too much time wrestling with the UI to get my unit to do what I want on most missions.

  8. Greg Wild says:

    hah, I had a lecture given by one of the British generals given the task of *ahem* “planning” post-war Iraq yesterday.

    He didn’t like PMCs.

    • Unaco says:

      “I had a lecture given by one of the British generals given the task of *ahem* “planning” post-war Iraq yesterday.”

      What?? 7 years after the invasion and they were only getting round to planning yesterday? No wonder it’s a bit of a mess over there.

    • Greg Wild says:

      @Unaco

      Oh, he was part of the team headed up by Jay Garner to plan the post-war reconstruction… they were given 1 month before the war started to plan. Just one of a catalogue of errors in that farce of a war.

    • DrGonzo says:

      All wars are a farce man. Peace.

    • Demon Beaver says:

      Call me a cynic, but I believe planning for after the war at any point before or during the war seems to be more foresight than warring factions usually display.

    • Jad says:

      If any of you are interested in the post-war planning process and how a mess it was, check out “Imperial Life in the Emerald City” by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. Brilliant book.

      (ignore the crappy Matt Damon movie “based” on it that turned an already-damning historical account into a your standard Hollywood conspiracy thriller)

  9. Gap Gen says:

    I’m looking forward to an ArmA campaign reminiscent of Operation Flashpoint’s. Arrowhead came pretty close, other than being short and having no recurring characters that I can recall. Hopefully we’ll get a good mix of production values (ahem) and interesting, varied missions. I stopped playing Red Harvest a few missions in – it was an interesting idea, but way too big a project for BIS to do properly, being way too sparse and buggy.

  10. Rosti says:

    Crikey, this has got me all interested in ArmA now. I assume it’s only a matter of time before we organise an RPS PMC op on Takistan, yes?

  11. Premium User Badge

    harvb says:

    Regards that other company, if you check the small print…

    “ION Inc. is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to companies, persons living or dead is purely coincidental.”

    Surely it’s an ARG or a backstory, much like the private journal was prior to ArmA?

    • Demon Beaver says:

      I think you’re on to something with the ARG. They say the following on their legal disclaimer:

      ION Inc. content has been proofread for accuracy. All deviations to standard conventions are the Senior English consultant’s own.

      And then you have things like:

      No two experiances are the same, yet our approach enables us to build upon our experiences

      Maybe it’s my bad English not getting a wordplay, but I believe that is an intentional error, thus a riddle.

    • westyfield says:

      “Make no mistake, we always keep an ION the prize.”

      Oh, oh my.

    • Tacroy says:

      Well maybe the fact that all their images are computer generated would have something to do with that?

      I might just have a finely tuned ‘shoop detector, but very few of the images on that website made me wonder if they were real or not for more than a moment. I mean just look at the Careers page Sam C. linked to down there – human wrists do not work like that.

    • R3D says:

      i called the job line no for a look see and in australia its the line for nicobate Quit smoking hotline, it is a bit funny because if you where a privvate contractor you would probably need the smokes for the stress.

  12. Sam C. says:

    http://www.ion-inc.com/careers
    Oh look! Jobs! With odd codes next to them! And a log-in page! Hmm.

    “Should not be deployed in media-sensitive locations.”

    • Sam C. says:

      Maybe I was a little too subtle. At least some of the logins to the “Client” section are hidden in plain sight on the Careers page. And if the info obtained this way is any indication, it certainly won’t be a glorification of PMCs.

      “Dixon has grown hardened in the execution of his contracts, and displays a cold attitude towards those outside of the company.”

  13. Premium User Badge

    El_MUERkO says:

    AA-12 you say…

    SOLD

  14. Artist says:

    Yay, let the cash cow roll on, basterd$! Im sure they will roll out the DLCs content as a low texture patch again, so you suddenly have very, very ugly units next to you in multiplayer. A joker who will think that you could feel forced to buy the next useless DLC cos you like GOOD visuals… ;) Nobody will ever force you to buy a DLC, right…?
    Anyway, the crowd will cheer! There are still problems in A2 while the devs waste time on more toys for the crowd… Never thought its so easy to herd monkeys… ;)

    • Bascule42 says:

      Its quite easy to herd monkeys. You just give ‘em something to moan about, a small banana and watch ‘em flock to the scene. Bless ‘em and thier little semi opposable thumbs.

      If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Most players of Arma 2/OA are happy to buy extra content produced by BI.

    • Premium User Badge

      wengart says:

      I’m pretty sure mission designers, writers, artist, etc… aren’t working on the patch.

    • Dominic White says:

      Artist – let me get this straight. You’re angry because they AREN’T splitting the playerbase with addons? You’d rather that you be locked out of people playing missions with content you’ve not bought? Because that would be very bad

      Having low-res versions of the stuff for non-paying users is a really clever solution.

    • Dodgene says:

      I’m going to have to agree with Artist in that I too wish they would continue fixing vanilla ArmA 2 before they started pumping out all sorts of DLC. BI themselves said that they are going to focus on patching OA and DLC before they go back to fixing ArmA 2. I don’t really like that.

  15. Warduke says:

    Speaking of BIS I really wish they’d give some kind of update on Carrier Command :( What was it 2 years ago they first announced it? I think there was a trailer a year ago and then crickets since then.. I really hope that game lives to see the light of day.

  16. Simon Dufour says:

    I’m gonna try to play Arma 2 tonight because of this post.

  17. westyfield says:

    Motherf*cking AA12, motherf*cker.

  18. Artist says:

    Sry Dominic, but you misunderstood me. Im not angry at all, cos Im one of the guys who will buy the DLCs anyway. My point was either this little sideeffect. One could say that the patch without the DLC is degrading your gaming-experience – from a certain point of view, of course.
    Of course, its also a neat way not to split the community, too. Thats the thingy with the two sides of a medal, hehe.

  19. Artist says:

    Ah, Carrier Command… Im sure they are working on it already. What else should they do, beside fixing bugs and working on the next big title. Ok, might be that they are busy with upgrading the professional war engine, too.

  20. Gosh says:

    so will the campaign only be two player co-op or can my third friend join as well?

  21. phried says:

    @harvb I think it’s an ARG… there’s a log in screen that you can try to log into, presumably the first puzzle.

  22. Tom says:

    They really should make a big nice Bundle with everything Arma2, not just the combined operations.

    And they i’ll end up buying it. From their Sprocket or steam or whatever!

    Even on Play or Zavvi we can’t get a decent sales opportunity to buy them…

  23. Psyk says:

    Found this page so far

    http://img834.imageshack.us/img834/4124/55399482.jpg

    Who ever redacted the info is going to get fired imo ;)

  24. Minicow says:

    I hope it’s just you. I’d be very sad if it’s a widespread feeling that security guards are more objectionable than extreme right-wing terrorists.

  25. oktane says:

    Sprocket gives them the most money, as they are Sprocket. :) (it’s a part of IDEA games) I got OA and BAF from there, and I’ll just use that from now on for any future BIS products.

    The Sprocket versions are nice, as they are a simple download and can be installed where you choose. In the case of the main game, this is somewhat important, as there’s a bit of a mess with the steam versions running ArmA2 + OA together.. (because steam wont let you install to different directories) You probably wouldn’t have too much of an issue with Steam Combined Operations though.

    If you don’t like the securerom (it only bothers you once when you first install anyways), you can use the beta patch (released almost weekly) to avoid that.

    But again, check the forums for ‘steam issues’ before you go that route.. BIS and Steam do not seem to coexist peacefully. (and steam issues tend to take a bit to get ironed out, whereas people with DVD and Sprocket versions are fine and can use official patches.)

    Cheers!

  26. Dwarden says:

    Dear Oktane,
    while it’s true that Sprocket means most revenue for us …
    Note: We don’t use Securom for BAF on Sprocket
    Note: BIS and STEAM coexist peacefully otherwise there would be no STEAM release ;)
    … each distribution chain has it’s own ilnesses which needs to be cured
    and that’s we and in case of STEAM i do :)

  27. Dwarden says:

    i would like to correct bit the comments here

    all owners of A2: OA, A2: CO and also A2: BAF gets engine features updates for free,
    patches are and will be released and again free
    and also they got the A2: BAF map Shapur for free ;) to play it in multiplayer w/o issue
    you can follow the progress on updates
    beta releases http://www.arma2.com/beta-patch.php
    in forums http://forums.bistudio.com/forumdisplay.php?f=82
    community issue tracker http://dev-heaven.net/projects/cis/roadmap

  28. Dominic White says:

    Oh yeah, to all the people complaining about the lack of patches for Arma 2, and how they have the nerve to work on expansions without focusing on patches?

    http://www.arma2.com/beta-patch.php

    They have been patching the HELL out of the game consistently since launch. They hold off of doing major releases until they reach certain milestones, but whenever something new is fixed, it goes into the latest beta patch build.

    • Nullill says:

      I’m aware of the beta patches. I am also aware that BiS THEMSELVES made it very clear that the fixes in the patches – beta or otherwise – are intended to improve the Operation Arrowhead experience first and foremost. Which is okay if you’ve already completed Harvest Red, and have no intention of going back to it any time soon. But for those of us who have not only NOT completed it, but who have consciously decided NOT to play it until it had been patched up the ass until it’s actually playable; that decision sucks ass.

  29. EBass says:

    Erm yea I can’t think of a company less apt than BiS to level the accusation “You aren’t supporting the game.”, perhaps Oleg Maddox and his flight sims but thats about the only one I can think of. BiS have always been absolutley fantastic in supporting the game, hell I actually had one of their staff walk me through the finer points of a certain script once, and I’m an absolute nobody in the community.

  30. Artist says:

    Stuck in takistanian rocks, Dwarden! Stuck in damn rocks….

  31. Jaffo says:

    Wow, that voice acting was awful, even for BIS!

  32. Dwarden says:

    Work in Progress ! … Work in progress maaan ! :)

  33. OH58KFTLewis says:

    The legitimization? It is legitimate – who do you think protects almost all transports now? Or provides personal escorts and protection?

    Hell, Army convoy’s are protected by private security.

    Private Security is former military with bigger paychecks and less regulation. Despite the media spin on larger firms and some smaller ones there are many who operate within the boundries of what law is placed on them. A great look into mercs in modern warfare would be the book Big Boy Rules – Its a great read.

    All we need is some flyboy mercs with the NSDQ attitude and Delta muscle.

  34. david says:

    Hmmm… contractors have a role to play and to say that they are all ‘bad’ is a bit simplistic. They provide security to groups that don’t want to be associated with a standing army for a variety of legitimate reasons. In Iraq, for instance, the State Department has several thousand people working in hostile territories doing diplomatic / reconstruction work, and the State Department is not interested in asking the Marines for security. First, the Marines aren’t interested in the work – they have their own jobs to do. Second, State and the military don’t always agree on tactics or objectives – this is a political battle. If you are a State diplomat your project can be torpedoed if the Marines refuse to provide security, or provide late or insufficient security, or if the Marines are ordered to report on what you are doing up the chain of command to leadership that wants to see you fail. So State refuses military security and hires it out to mercenaries who in general are former Special Ops guys who are tough and smart. No State people were kidnapped or killed in Iraq. That success is hard to argue with.

    NGOs prefer mercs too as they don’t want to be associated with the military – that makes them a target and makes it hard to appear neutral in the conflict, which is pretty important if your job is humanitarian relief. Nevertheless they’d be suicidal to travel about without armed and experienced security.

    Of course these people do need to be held to account for excessive collateral damage and any other misbehavior but thats true of regular soldiers – its just that the army and marines have an effective disciplinary system in place that the mercs need to emulate – with outside oversight.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      It struck me as a little creepy that the provisional government in Iraq issued an order saying that PMCs wouldn’t be bound by Iraqi laws.

      Presumably there’s some context that makes it sound less skullduggerous..

  35. Ginger McAle says:

    Very interesting informations provided in that interview. And this information has ultimately convinced me to buy this DLC (new tech for OPFOR (very important for MP (warfare for example)) and as it seems a good campaing with also coop possibility). Nice one.

    Guys you should update your page (arma2.com) with this informations.

  36. Dejoh says:

    Just curious. What kind of new weapons-assets are being offered?
    Sound very intresting

  37. joe says:

    cant wait to see what they will do with arma in the future. hopefuly more coop based gameplay