WASHINGTON — “Experience true combat gameplay in a massive military sandbox. Authentic, diverse, open — Arma 3 sends you to war.” So goes the battle cry of popular war-fighting video game, Arma 3, which sends its players into military combat between NATO forces and CSAT, an imaginary opposition.
In September, the makers of Arma 3 introduced an add-on module dealing with a subject that has never before been the focus of such a game: international humanitarian law, or IHL. Produced in consultation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the add-on — “Laws of War” — introduces a fictional humanitarian organization to the game to spread understanding of IHL among its 3.2 million players.
To the relief of its producers, the module — which costs about $40 to download — is attracting favorable reviews and considerable gamer interest, with scant pushback from dissatisfied players.
Laws of War grew out of several years of discussion between Arma 3’s Prague-based manufacturer Bohemia Interactive and the Geneva-based ICRC, which provided support and guidance throughout the year-long development process, instructing the developers on the intricacies of IHL and critiquing the storylines and dialogue to make them more realistic. For its part, Bohemia Interactive will donate half of the module’s sales revenue this year to ICRC.