Arma developers Bohemia Interactive today launched Project Argo [official site], a 5v5 multiplayer tactical FPS built upon Arma 3, as a free public prototype. It’s one of the first games from their Bohemia Incubator label, also launched today, under which they’ll tinker with experiments and prototypes. Some of these Incubator games will be scrappy and some may never be finished, which is why Bohemia plan to make many of them free. Bohemia have also put Ylands, their Minecraftbut, into the Incubator. Ylands is not free but does have a free trial.So! Bohemia Incubator will be the label for prototypes, experiments, and other oddities that may or may not be worked on and released as full games. They want to let people in to find out if what they’re working on is any good, see. That’s what makes it different to Steam Early Access, where Bohemia have been slowly building DayZ for almost three years. It’s a bit like what Rust and Garry’s Mod studio Facepunch do with their prototypes, only everyone’s invited.
Project Argo is a standalone game born as an Arma 3 mod, a crack at making something smaller and leaner than Arma’s sprawling simulated warfare. It’s made for 5v5 play with three round-based modes, including territory control and something CTF-sounding, which should take 15-30 minutes for a full match. As a nice touch, it’s set on a new version of Malden, the island from dear old Operation Flashpoint. But hey, why listen to me when you could hit up Bohemia for a free Steam key?
As for Ylands, it looks like a Minecraftbut where the ‘but’ is a scenario editor to easily set up fun little situations. That’s not a bad but. It’s pretty too. Though Ylands is an Incubator game, Bohemia say they’ve already decided it will be made into a full game (eventually) so they’re charging £7.99 for it right now. You can download a trial from the store.
Sooo how come Ylands isn’t on Steam Early Access? I’m guessing it’ll be scrappy for long enough that they don’t want to hit Steam and face upset and negative reviews from impatient players. Bohemia have surely learned from DayZ that this process can go on far, far longer than either they or players expect or are happy with.