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.