Arma Reforger is a stepping stone toward an eventual Arma 4, and fans of the series should manage their expectations by keeping that in mind. Although it is presented as more of a tech-demo than a fully-fledged Arma sequel, the release of Arma Reforger has important implications for the future of the franchise.
The Arma series has roots going back as far as 2001 with the groundbreaking milsim game Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis. The Operation Flashpoint series eventually evolved into today’s Arma series, though the formula has remained the same. The Arma games are hardcore military simulators, players taking on a variety of roles and execute them with unparalleled realism. From basic infantry, tank crews, and helicopter pilots to battlefield commanders and scout snipers, many real-life combat roles are depicted with unforgiving authenticity. The franchise is very popular among groups of military veterans and role players who stick to realistic military-style radio communications and tactics, but it also has a massive modding scene that famously gave birth to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – originally an Arma 3 mod.
Arma Reforger is the next step for the franchise after nearly a decade of Arma 3‘s firm grip on the milsim community. However, despite its $30 price tag, it’s important to note that Arma Reforger is not intended as a true sequel or indeed a full game at this point. With only one map and two modes, it’s a sign of what’s to come for the future of Arma. Showcasing Bohemia Interactive’s new proprietary Enfusion engine, Arma Reforger breathes new life into the island of Everon which first appeared in 2001’s Operation Flashpoint. Players take the side of either American or Soviet forces in a 1980s Cold War setting. Its main highlight is the Game Master mode, which is based on Arma 3‘s Zeus system and incorporates a D&D-style story improvisation operated by players.
One of the most important additions along with Arma Reforger‘s new engine is support for Xbox. The franchise has been most popular on PC for over 20 years, largely due to the complexity of the controls requiring a full keyboard even during basic infantry operations. Bohemia has clearly been working on streamlining and modernizing the controls, shifting toward a control scheme based on contextual actions. Although the game has been made more controller friendly, the brutal realism has remained untouched and players will still be using a compass to navigate rather than magical glowing waypoint markers. Fans of the franchise can rest assured that console support for the Arma series doesn’t necessarily mean the game will be dumbed down in turn.
Arma‘s impressive modding community might be the biggest draw for Arma Reforger, giving modders a chance to bring their creations into the new engine ahead of Arma 4. Modders have introduced new game modes and transformed Arma into entirely different games due to their innovation, and it will be interesting to see what the community can pull off with Arma Reforger‘s new systems.
Arma Reforger is available on PC and Xbox Series X|S.