The straight-faced military simulation of Arma 3 will get a little weirder with its next expansion, named Contact, where serious soldiermen will encounter and investigate aliens. Expect strange lights in the sky, unknown aircraft, strange energy signatures, glowing orbs, the lot. It doesn't look like some kooky Stalin vs. Martians nonsense, mind, treating first contact with a suspected alien species seriously. Which sounds pretty great to me. It brings a big new sandbox map, with 163 square kilometres of kinda-real-ish Eastern Europe, for regular Arma activities too. Anyway, here, come meet some aliens in the announcement trailer.
It's official: objects floating mysteriously in Arma 3 is now a feature, not a bug, okay. As for the story of the expansion's singleplayer campaign, 'First Contact', developers Bohemia Interactive explain:
"As Specialist Aiden Rudwell, you are a NATO drone operator taking part in a military training exercise on Livonia. When a massive alien vessel enters the atmosphere, you are sent on a reconnaissance mission to investigate the extraterrestrial presence. The priority: to learn who or what they are, and find out why they are here. However, with our very existence in the balance, different interpretations fuelled by a region-wide blackout quickly prove to be a surefire way to conflict. Over the course of this campaign, you will engage in field science, electronic warfare, and combat recon, in an experience delivered in authentic Arma 3 style."
That does sound a lark. I'm also up for playing with robots and, to quote Bohemia, "a mini UGV sampling laser and CBRN defense equipment to study strange alien anomalies, as well as controlling the electromagnetic spectrum with the aptly named Spectrum Device." Love to control that spectrum.
As is the Arma expansion way, it packs a fair bit for players with no interest in aliens too. The new 163 km2 sandbox map is set in a region of the fictional Polish-speaking country Livonia, which confusingly is named after an actual historical region and kingdom presently split between Latvia and Estonia. Hanging around there are two new factions, Two the Livonian Defense Force and Russian Spetsnaz. Also in there are five new weapons, two new vehicles (the sciencebot and A TRACTOR), and equipment including biohazard suits, blindfolds, and a tin foil hat. Can't go fighting aliens without a tin foil hat.