Bohemia Interactive recently announced the development of ArmA II: Operation Arrowhead, a standalone expansion to ArmA II which is one of the most anticipated military simulators for PC of 2009.
Three years after the conflict in Chernarus, a new flashpoint in the Green Sea region heats up and coalition forces led by the U.S. Army are sent to Takistan to quickly restore peace and prevent further civilian casualties.
Set into the new, visually attractive environment of hilly central Asia, Operation Arrowhead will offer realistic combat simulation experience in a modern day setting with unprecedented freedom of movement, actions and tactics. Players will enlist into various roles within the U.S. Army, from basic infantrymen, through special operatives, to pilots and tank crew in this new instalment in the award winning line up of military simulators for PC from Bohemia Interactive.
Bohemia Interactive is fully committed to supporting the existing ArmA II user base whilst also working on the expansion pack, this will not only allow us to introduce a new and original theatre of war to the simulation series, but also improve numerous areas of the core game, for both the original game and the expansion, where we can go even further with adding completely new features.
More high resolution images you can find here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please take note that this FAQ is subject to change as Operation Arrowhead develops further.
Will this be a completely new game? As in, will it add loads of new features to ArmA II, or will it just be a new campaign with a few weapons, but we still get charged for it?
BIS: It's more than just a new campaign. Operation Arrowhead contains a completely new environment, US army units, weapons and vehicles and a lot more. At least, there will be some very new features introduced in Operation Arrowhead too.
Will Operation Arrowhead include western forces besides the U.S. Army?
BIS: There will be some more than just U.S. Army Units, yes.
Is there going to be a functional FLIR system out of the box (everything has heat based textures)
BIS: Yes, there will be a FLIR system. We have one of the most sophisticated FLIR simulation systems already done for VBS2 and we will bring it in Operation Arrowhead to fans of ArmA II too.
Will the game have functional IR lasers (PEQ units) like in VBS2? Or Flashlights?
BIS: I'm glad to say: Yes, and yes.
Is the terrain based on Afghanistan? Or is it more of a desert?
BIS: Kind of, it will include dense urban areas and the countryside too.
Who (among BIS and other Developers at IDEA games) has been/will be working on it?
BIS: It's fully under the team of ArmA II makers at Bohemia Interactive.
Who is doing the campaign and what experience are they aiming for as opposed to the free flow Harvest Red format?
BIS: Ivan Buchta proved his skills as Lead Designer in the ArmA II Operation Harvest Red campaign already and he's is the Lead Designer again for Operation Arrowhead. The campaign will be a bit different this time, we want the players to enjoy wider experience, so the campaign will contain parts being played for regular U.S. Army units, pilots and tank commander too. A bit like original OFP was, even if I wouldn't compare it.
How large is Takistan? Can we count on arid surroundings to be more system friendly?
BIS: There are two maps of Takistan in Operation Arrowhead, one presenting the countryside and mountains with villages and small urban areas and the second map of large urban area with the city of Zargabad.
Takistan is a 160 square km map of Central Asia modelled with extremely precision using real world data. Zargabad is a 70 square km map of extremely realistic environment including full areas of dense urban CQB conflicts.
When is the release date?
BIS: Not before 2010. The exact date is not yet decided.
Will they somehow automate the inclusion of ArmA II content for those that have it to encourage people who own it that Operation Arrowhead will be just a huge expansion pack for them?
BIS: This is difficult to say now, as Operation Arrowhead will feature a newer and enhanced version of ArmA II engine.
How performance will be compared to ArmA II and if the system requirements will stay the same? Are there plans to further optimize ArmA II?
BIS: Don't worry that we would throw it away because of making the datadisk. Thanks to the Operation Arrowhead making I believe we will have a better chance to keep an eye on ArmA II too. We plan to bring new patches and continue the support of the game as we did to the present day. The requirements should definitely stay the same for Operation Arrowhead.
Will the future patches/expansions include other parts of Chernarus?
BIS: Interesting question, I don't know honestly.
Will Operation Arrowhead include serious engine changes: ex. armour hit system, flares/ECM?
BIS: Yes, some of them will be included in Operation Arrowhead.
If the "west" side will be represented by U.S. Army, what it would be: "Stryker" brigades or some infantry divisions on Bradleys/M113?
BIS: There will be a variety of roles to play for U.S. Army in Operation Arrowhead.
Who is the enemy? Typical Taliban look alike or a (fictional) regular Army like SLA in ArmA?
BIS: Operation Arrowhead will rather be unsymmetrical kind of war even if it could happen you can face a very tough and well equipped enemy.
Will there be Russians?
BIS: Who knows?
What will the really new features be in Operation Arrowhead?
BIS: Completely new story line, new factions, units, vehicles and weapons. New and completely different environment, new simulation features like FLIR, mounted flashlights, HUDs for airplanes and helicopter and even more.
Will it have proper physics implementation for units/corpses (ragdoll) and/or vehicles?
Will walking in and shooting from cargo positions be possible?
Will the hit point system for tanks be changed for some real penetration values?
BIS: I wouldn't expect such huge changes in the game engine without making completely new game instead of the datadisk, though so complex and huge.
ArmA II was originally announced to be released for a console, but we've heard little news since then. Have those plans moved to the expansion? Is a console version planned at all?
BIS: Sadly, I can't confirm anything about console version of ArmA II neither can I do for Operation Arrowhead.
What are the reasons to release it as a standalone game instead of an ArmA II addon?
BIS: At least two reasons there are, which one of these is our wish to make it easier to get the game for players who didn't buy ArmA II previously and that some of the new features require to change both exe and data in order to work properly (e.g. thermal imaging).
Will there be Co-op in Operation Arrowhead's campaign? If so, will saves in Coop work better and be far more stable by then compared to our experience in Red Harvest's Coop saves?
BIS: Most probably yes, as we considered cooperative MP being one of the very favourite features people enjoy in our games, but I can't confirm this 100% yet.
Will the campaign be free roaming open world like Red Harvest?
BIS: What would you expect? The corridor and level based maps as in other FPS?
How will Operation Arrowhead's open world experience be different than in Red Harvest?
BIS: It will be different experience in the meaning of the environment and the role player will take.
Is Operation Arrowhead more like Resistance for OFP (you buy, or you're "out" of the REAL game) or is more like Queens Gambit?
BIS: Yes, I would rather compare it to Resistance too.
What is the price for the expansion?
BIS: A medium ranged price, not a full price like for a regular new game.
Distribution around the world? Digital only? Full box? Any "Gold" Edition?
BIS: Yes, there will be also a copy on disc. And yes, most probably there will be a "Gold Edition".
Will there be functional tank interiors? Like Optics, windows, doors
BIS: Might be, depends on how much time is left.
Will the 3D Editor be further worked on / finished?
BIS: We have some intentions with 3D editor, can't confirm anything yet.
Can we expect more modules for the editor? If so, what?
BIS: There are already some of new, I would expect more of them, or enhanced versions of those already known from ArmA II
Will any of the multiplayer systems be drastically changed? Like net code? Browser? Mission setup GUI? Admin tools? Anti-cheat?
BIS: Some things may change in this area as well as BIS is currently evaluating some options that may significantly influence parts of the MP system.
To what degree do original ArmA II and Operation Arrowhead interact? For example, can Operation Arrowhead units be used in ArmA II and can Modifications be loaded in Operation Arrowhead with copying them all to a new directory?
BIS: ArmA II content can be used in Operation Arrowhead without problems.
Will the movement system feature "vertical leaning?
BIS: This is not decided yet. We are interested in trying things like this but if and when we will achieve it and if it will be in Operation Arrowhead is not yet certain.
Will AI be conscious of their role and act differently depending on it (e.g. machine gunner acts differently than rifleman)?
BIS: The AI already acts differently depending on the weapon they carry in ArmA II.
Will the mission editor get updated to be more user friendly? Like drop down menu for scripts/actions rather than scripting.
BIS: I wouldn't say the mission editor is unfriendly for users, in fact we consider our mission editor being one of the most user friendly and easy to use mission editors you can get across all present games. You don't really need to use a single line of script to design even a very complex scenario.
How can BIS work on two games at the same time?
BIS: There are a lot of people paid every month at BI, and they need to do something.
The FLIR/lasers/flashlights from Operation Arrowhead, will they be included also in ArmA II or are they only available in Operation Arrowhead?
BIS: No, this would be a too serious change in the engine which could also break the content of ArmA II.
Are there rivers in Takistan?
BIS: Many of such features might be or not present. Hard to tell now as we just started the work.
Please take note: How to best transition and integrate ArmA II and Operation Arrowhead is yet to be tested and it is also not clear how well ArmA II content can work with some of the new features as these require major data modifications as well. Also, combined game would require insane quality assurance (just count all the vehicles, campaign time etc.) which all makes a standalone release much more suitable.
The discussion about Operation Arrowhead you can find here. An archived discussion you can find also here