Arma 3′s Single-Player Is Episodic, Released Later

By Craig Pearson on August 7th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

Bohemia prepping for the community reaction
I already sort of consider Arma 3 to be out, but I’ve sunk 40 hours into the alpha/beta/whatever, so that’s skewed my view of it. To me, it’s out, even if there’s more to come. To Bohemia, the real launch will happen sometime in September. This will bring with it the full island of Altis, with 12 showcases and 3 faction showcases, 10 challenges, 9 multiplayer scenarios, but it won’t bring the single-player campaign. That’s been delayed, and will be episodically delivered. The first episode, Survive, will be out within four weeks of the initial release. The following two sections arrive in the following months.

The blog post that announces this explains the reasons in great detail. The imprisoning of two of the developers was a big set-back, as was releasing an alpha and beta. The problems those releases exposed has left the company with a backlog of fixes. And they also want to have time to make a decent single-player campaign.

Being in from the start has set me into a pattern of watching the alpha update with content, then the beta with more content, and it feels like part of the process for me. I’ve been indoctrinated. So I’m happy to wait for the single-player bits to slot in when they’re ready, particularly because I’ll be spending most of my time in co-op and multiplayer, or just messing with the editor. And this is the world I’ve found more and more of my games in: a wobbly, nebulous state where they’re never really finished.

But I can see why people would be angry at this: releasing a game without a main component that was promised is a bad thing to do, even if it will eventually arrive. I’m glad they’ve announced it fairly early, but I also think they’re asking a lot from the community. I know Arma 3 is considered a platform more than a game, and there will be content, but I don’t imagine they’d dare do this without an engaged community that happily makes stuff for their game.

I have some questions: who has bought into the game. How does this make you feel about the money you’d put down? And if you haven’t yet bought the game and were waiting for the launch, has this changed your mind to buy it?

Meanwhile, here’s Arma 3′s official video maker Dslyecxi being angry about another bit of Arma 3.

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46 Comments »

Top comments

  1. Skull says:

    The single player on the ARMA games have been pretty rubbish so far. I often lament the Battlefield series as that has a single player campaign that it really doesn’t need and is just wasted resources. I think it would be unfair to complain about ARMA leaving it out.

    Don’t really know why they are so boring though. I remember having loads of fun with the single player in Operation Flashpoint and must have played the demo for hours every day before getting the real game and playing it to completion. Maybe I was too young back then to know what made a good computer game (I still think Op: Flash is my favourite of theirs though).

  1. Skull says:

    Why is that count down not actually a count down? Does it turn into one when an actual date is announced? I feel misled :(

  2. Gallimaufry says:

    I’m actually fairly surprised there hasn’t been more of an uproar than what has happened, considering most of the Steam community likes screaming their heads off about refunds.

    But I think it’s fine as well, I don’t mind the extra wait as long as it eventually will arrive. I’m already having loads of fun with the editor and multiplayer.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      I bought Arma 3 with the express intent to play SP. (Yes, I’m one of those). I’m a tad exasperated by it, but I’m not annoyed. I’ll just imagine that the “release date” is actually just a Beta 2 release.

      Luckily there are a lot of other games to play while I wait.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      I am hoping someone makes a dynamic mission campaign generator. Like the ones made for the previous two Arma games.

  3. Robbert says:

    I didn’t buy Arma 3, but I don’t think I’d be angry at them. At this point they only have two choices, release what the have and release the single player campaign later on or release everything later on. The latter is a lose:lose situation for both the community and the developers.

  4. gibb3h says:

    Didn’t even realise it was meant to have single player, I own Arma 2 and I don’t even know if THAT has single player :|

    • Alfius says:

      It doesn’t, not really.

      One of the reasons I bounced off the first ARMA was that I expected it to have a decent, well written, character driven campaign like the original Operation Flashpoint did. Bohemia make some of the finest games around but by god do they need to hire some actual writers and voice actors. Playing the ARMA 2 campaign you’re left with the impression that the voice acting was done by coders on their lunch break putting on poor-as American accents.

      • SooSiaal says:

        That arma 2 description you gave sounds exactly like operation flashpoint tho

        • Alfius says:

          Well, it’s been a while since I played OpFlash but I remember the writing a voice acting been hugely better than either of the ARMAs – I suspect this was Codies’ influence, sadly lacking after the parting of ways. Voice acting is a minor issue I know, but easy to fix if you have the will.

          • wengart says:

            Operation Flashpoint had a better campaign the Arma 2. That is for sure. It was more interesting and they got you doing a bunch of unique stuff for each mission. In the course of 4 missions you could be a grunt participating in a botched assault, flying an attack helicopter, leading a tank company, or sneaking into an enemy base in the dead of night to blow up their tanks and steal a helicopter. The missions also tended to have less fail states. As long as you survived the mission you could continue playing. However, the voice acting was most certainly not better.

            If you want singleplayer in Arma 2 you should checkout the mini campaign. Operation Red Wing or Harvest. I forget the name, but you fly a helicopter. I’ve heard top notch things about it.

  5. Junkenstein says:

    I don’t mind as such because when I bought into the alpha, I realised I was going to be getting everything piece-meal. However, I think ‘releasing’ without this big, promised, component is a bit wrong. They should push back the ‘release’ but still give the beta players Altis and the rest of the toys to play with in September.

    The cynic in me thinks that the reason they’re not doing this is so they can still up the price next month.

    • Misnomer says:

      Well said. This is the best comment in this thread.

      Seriously, what is the difference between “release” and “beta” then?

      They could just keep putting out these improvements to the beta customers and only “release” when the full scale of the promises have been reached.

      Instead they have chosen to “release” at a higher price and possibly on physical media with less content available than originally promised. I certainly hope, if it is on physical media, that the box says on the front in giant letters “Singleplayer content will come eventually.”

      If some studio owned by EA did this we would have a full length Walker rant about promises, consumers, money grabs and the unsustainable cost of AAA game development. While this RPS piece is pretty balanced and reports it fairly, this comment section is prepared to apologize for BIS with the simple excuse that the SP content for ArmA is a bit pants anyway.

      The point is that they just explained why they are going to increase the price and possibly sell an incomplete game on a larger scale. This after they already have been raking in money on earlier incomplete versions.

      Much like the Tim Schafer Kickstarter, this should be grounds for the PC community to start wondering if Alpha funding is really the solution to all our game quality woes.

      So I know it is not EA…but CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE MONEY?

      • wengart says:

        Lets talk about money then. If you bought in at Alpha you paid $30, if you bought in at beta you paid $40. In both situations you were buying an incomplete version of the game and you knew it.

        If you buy release you are going to pay $50 and get a campaign released as free dlc. If you don’t feel like it is worth it without the campaign don’t buy it. Wait for the campaign. BIS thinks that the content they will be releasing is worth $50. It is up to consumers to agree or disagree with that.

        THe only issue here is if the box says that the campaign is included.

        • Misnomer says:

          No. You still haven’t explained the price increase. What happens in that $40-$50 gap you describe that makes it worth the extra 10 and isn’t just something that should be provided as support to the beta users?

          Is $50 not really just a higher price for still another beta? Seems like the real headline here is BIS raises the price of ArmA 3 beta. That’s why both you and I share the concern that BIS needs to let people know that the full game is still a beta, because they need not know their game in incomplete when purchasing a “release” edition.

          That’s the same thing people got up in arms at the War Z (Infestation Survivor Stories) for doing.

          • wengart says:

            The $50 price tag represents the full game. You get all of Altis, you get every unit and faction, at this point the game is done.

            You don’t have a campaign, but lacking a series of scenarios linked together through some narrative doesn’t mean they can’t say the game is released. Release is just some point where it moves onto store shelves.

            As long as they don’t say that there is a campaign in the game at release I see no issue with it.

    • ahmedabdo says:

      This!
      Well said sir. Let alone the limited gears provided on “release”. There is only one jet! WTF!

  6. Skull says:

    The single player on the ARMA games have been pretty rubbish so far. I often lament the Battlefield series as that has a single player campaign that it really doesn’t need and is just wasted resources. I think it would be unfair to complain about ARMA leaving it out.

    Don’t really know why they are so boring though. I remember having loads of fun with the single player in Operation Flashpoint and must have played the demo for hours every day before getting the real game and playing it to completion. Maybe I was too young back then to know what made a good computer game (I still think Op: Flash is my favourite of theirs though).

    • XhomeB says:

      I couldn’t agree more. The campaign in Operation Flashpoint was glorious, so much fun – they never managed to create something equally polished. However, I quite liked the Operation Arrowhead one – it never reached the highs of OpF’s campaign, but was decent enough.

      We can only hope that the episodic nature of ArmA3 campaign delivery will give them enough time to craft something great this time.

    • JavJav says:

      Not to mention, it was such an inspired story, considering it was related through a military simulator of all things. The soundtrack was nice, the characters endearing, and their story arcs did a nice loop around each other until the bombastic finale, all the while teaching the mechanics of each part of the game through the eyes of the field experts. Hell, they even managed a mission where you had to use the stars to guide your nocturnal escape out of a prisoner camp!

      Seriously what the hell happened to the writing staff at Bohemia?

  7. Velko says:

    Well, I guess it’s okay if you consider “releasing” being an arbitrary line somewhere in the development process. That’s how it looks nowadays.

  8. SuicideKing says:

    Man, 30-min long angry video.

    Anyway, I got the Alpha when it was $32 or whatever (kick myself for not getting it cheaper, money doesn’t grow on trees, my friend!), already sunk 40+ hours into it without even touching multiplayer yet.

    Just Alpha/Beta testing it, plpaying showcases, messing around, profiling, benchmarking and providing feedback all this while.

    I never even knew Arma 3 would include a single player campaign, i bought it for MP+community+sandbox+unlimited coop/custom single player. So i really don’t care if it’s delayed, as far as i’m concerned, if they’ll take time to fix the AI and make a really good SP campaign, it’s cool.

    It’s probably the last military shooter i’m buying for the foreseeable future anyway, so yeah. I’m fine with it. I was shit pissed with BF3, still am.

    The thing that’ll piss me off with Arma 3 will be performance issues and shoddy multi-threading implementation, if they don’t fix it by release.

  9. Jerkzilla says:

    I bought Arma 3 and I’m not too bothered about it. While Arma 2 had some nice ideas, like when you have to actually talk to locals to find your objective as a SF team leader, the overall experience was generally poor. OA and Arma 1 were, as far as I can remember, just a bunch of missions strung together with generic narrative. Eagle Wing was a pretty awesome mission though, it felt refreshingly original, showcased the scope of the game and yet it didn’t have that many bugs, no gamebreaking ones at least.

  10. grundus says:

    I bought Arma 3 the same day it was released and I’ve not regretted that purchase one bit, I’m still not. The way I see it, given the choice between getting the game next month with everything except the campaign then getting the campaign in parts over three months OR getting the game in December with everything in one go, I’d pick the former any day of the week. Arma 3 with other people trumps Arma 3 alone. And with Steam Workshop integration I imagine there will be a ton of easy to install player-made missions from day one anyway.

  11. chris1479 says:

    Bottom line is the game was cheaper the earlier you bought it and you got access to all the following updates regardless. I actually bought the game months and months ago, I played it for a few hours but I could see it was a work in progress. I’m simply looking forward to the game maturing more and filling out a bit, I really don’t mind in the least that this is taking time, to be honest.

  12. jamescolon says:

    I have ordered this game, hoping this game will full with updates. Very nice game it is.
    But my opinion is, you may rent the game form Game Rental and first play, if it is complete then buy it. Otherwise just return this game. From this you can save your money also.

  13. fer says:

    For established and aspiring multiplayer ArmAx communities, the delayed SP campaign is not a problem. Some have already made the transition from ArmA 2 to ArmA 3 beta, and even those that have not yet done so are using the alpha/beta releases to prepare infrastructure and other supporting assets (obligatory plugs: Folk ARPS is still focused on ArmA 2, but we’ve been working very hard on the ArmA 3 mission framework, F3). The critical factors that govern when communities like ours make the leap to A3 are unlikely to include the SP campaign.

    However, it’s very easy to forget that the ArmA community is an extremely broad church, encompassing many different play styles and content types. Part of that variety is reflected in how people ‘get into’ the game: not everyone is comfortable leaping directly into multiplayer, especially when the sheer variety of experiences on offer make the task of learning an already complex game very daunting. The SP campaigns in previous games have always offered a nice (and sometimes involving) route to learning how to play. Individual scenarios are a good interim solution for this issue, but it’s reassuring to know that the campaign will still feature.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Yeah i agree with you, i’ve been waiting for Folk ARPS to move to Arma 3 as currently i’m not sure where to start with multiplayer, you folks seem nice for a newbie to play with (because you seem friendly). :)

      • fer says:

        @ SuicideKing – If you have a copy of ArmA 2 OA (or can pick up a cheap copy via Steam), I’d recommend you join us for one of our regular Sunday or Tuesday sessions. You only need a copy of the game and TeamSpeak 3. The setup required is minimal (no mods to install), and if you hop into our Skype perma-chat someone will help you get set-up and connected to the servers, for sure. Playing ArmA 2 with us will ensure your transition to ArmA 3 will be very easy, and there are already impromptu ArmA 3 sessions run by people in our Skype chat. All the links you need to get started are on our home page, and if you encounter any issues please feel free to post in our forum. Hope to see you in game soon.

        • SuicideKing says:

          I tried Arma 2, got a bit overwhelmed by the control scheme. Was some time ago, though. I think i’ll join the Arma 3 sessions…sitting at +5:30 GMT so will have to take that into account.

          Thanks, though!

  14. Frantics says:

    Don’t care at all one bit, good! The longer they take the better.

    I think the single players of ARMA games are great as hell and the more broken and dynamic/open the better by me tbh. Calling the single players bad is ignorant! Esp after a couple patches. You can do SO MUCH in those games too it’s rediculous. Campaigns/scenarios/editor/etc… Just playin the editor and slapping down stuff with no scripting is funner for me than 99% of games. You can do what you like in it too – just make a car and drive around peacefully, install a single player zombie sandbox mod and run around trying to survive, all kinds of stuff. Amazing stuff tbh and v grateful that there’s a dev team out there putting so much work into this crazy game. It’s more than just the options as well… the realism leads to a great game pace – tense and slow, lots of buttons and options, longer ranged than most fps – good stuff! Very great psychedelic graphics too like old RAGE/MICROPROSE etc. flight sim stuff. Also Arma 3 they’re really putting in the work on polish and the general solidity of the weapons and vehicles and stuff and it’s just amazing! Ridiculously impressed with it so far – how cool are those picture in picture things in cockpits/cars? You can even turn the thermal on in the PiP in the cars without zooming in! Wow!

    So yeah hope they take as long as they want and do what they like, what is good enough anyway. I don’t think money entitles me to anything at all tbh and whining about what developers should deliver pisses me off. Just lucky there’s some dudes out there making stuff like that. Anything they deliver will be great and I’d pay 40 quid just for the editor and the alpha content. Only cost 20 for most people anyway. Long as I can smoke to it.

  15. sinister agent says:

    The single player for Arma 2 was atrocious, but I hope they fix it for the third, not because I want to play it, but because to fix it they’d have to make AI mooks useful, and commanding them even remotely reliable. That would be a great thing.

  16. Blue_Lemming says:

    I would like to see them fix this, yes the video is 30 mins of grumbling but its true, they’ve never moved on from this really poor action menu that selects your pistol/places a satchel charge if you move out of view of the door/ladder/vehicle you’re trying to use.

    Many times (including in Dayz) did i die because the context menu wouldn’t do as its told, at that important “jump in the biplane to escape the zombies” moment.

    Not too bothered the single player is late either, there’s so much in Arma 3 to play with i don’t mind at all, and all I paid woz 20 quid for all this! bargain!

  17. Vorrin says:

    totally fine with it, glad they release alpha and beta beforehand, rather than keep us waiting for all this time, this just means the wait for a specific component will be a bit longer, but there’ll be plenty to do in the meantime, fine by me.

  18. Vagrant says:

    Here’s what I don’t quite get: The game has been out and playable for a while now. What even qualifies for a release anymore? Is it just the day they ship boxes to stores or something?

  19. Relnor says:

    I loved Operation Flashpoint’s campaigns too – Especially Resistance, I was younger, so maybe it felt better/more dramatic to me than it actually was, but I remember thinking the inter-mission cutscenes were quite cool.

    In the first OpF campaign they even had a little bit of branching early on. Every ARMA campaign after that just felt bleh in comparison.

    Also, does anyone know how Dslyecxi did the camera thing in the editor while looking at that APC ?

  20. Synesthesia says:

    It’s ok. ARMA’s campaigns were never really good. (I loved OPFlashpoint’s, though, though maybe that is nostalgia speaking.)
    If they need more time to get it done in proper fashion, so be it. They’ve been doing a fantastic job with arma 3 so far.

    With the exception, of course, of the action menu. now THAT is a problem.

    Everybody needs to see that video, the action menu needs to be fixed immediately. Too many times have i gone into a 3 second uninterruptable animation to switch weapons when trying to pick someone up under fire. It is old, broken, obsolete, and it needs to GO. Thanks for giving it more views! Let’s hope the devs do something about it.

  21. Thirith says:

    To be honest, I don’t see any functional difference between them moving the release date and releasing the full game once the SP is done and releasing the MP game, with SP campaigns being a free add-on later… other than people being able to play MP, as well as the SP showcases, earlier on. What is it people are missing out on, compared to a later release? Because those are the two scenarioes: either the whole thing is released at later date X, or MP plus SP showcases are released at earlier date Y and the SP campaigns are released by later date X.

    It’d be different if this were a game where SP is much more central and the PR was largely focused on the SP campaign, but it isn’t. And I’m saying this as someone who will play 10% MP and 90% SP.

  22. scorcher24 says:

    Fine by me if it is good. Just sad that nobody wants to play Arma 3 with me.

    • ahmedabdo says:

      Man!, Servers are available all day with allot of players!
      Or I don’t understand what you mean.

      • scorcher24 says:

        I dont like playing public

        • ahmedabdo says:

          I see. However I guess you know there is a good number of private servers that is really good and friendly. Anyway, I can’t recommend one since I mostly play SP missions and campaigns.

  23. mesic says:

    just bought this, someone kindly enough can tell me where i can find good coop missions to play with my buddies? thanks in advance