Bohemia Interactive is known for its application of realism to its virtual battle simulators. The company does provide national armies with virtual training tools, so it should come as no surprise that the consumer products are about to get a hefty helping of realism added to the gameplay, including adding the Geneva Convention to the rules of engagement.
In a recent update over on the ARMA YouTube channel, the developers at Bohemia Interactive talked about the latest update for the game called the Laws of War. It's a downloadable expansion pack that expands the gameplay mechanics of ARMA 3 well beyond what gamers may be used to, including adding the Geneva Convention ruleset for a whole new level of immersion and realism when applied to the modern combat gaming experience.
ARMA 3 creative director Jay Crowe explained in the video that the update aims to give gamers a far more immersive experience than what they might have been anticipating, including separating -- for once -- the presence of civilians on the battlefield from enemies, and how players will have to adapt to being cautious where they fire and how they engage, saying...
It comes down to just a few basic rules of combat, and the first is maybe the most obvious: Only engage combatants or fighters. Secondly, don't attack anything other than military targets which means that places like hospitals and schools are typically off limits. Thirdly, spare civilians and respect their property. And finally, armed forces should limit destruction to what military necessity requires.
This is actually a really cool feature for the upcoming ARMA 3 expansion, especially considering that this is one of the things that the community ended up heavily criticizing DICE for with the release of Battlefield 3, which opted not to include women and children or civilian characters at all. Some argued that it would make the game too dark adding that level of realism to the gameplay, others argued that given how Battlefield 3 was heavily promoting realism and immersion as a selling point, it should have included the elements that Bohemia is now adding to ARMA.
DICE has actually decided to move further away from the whole realism aspect of the Battlefield series, but Bohemia Interactive has not. The company is renown for its punishing realism in many of its military-themed simulators, and the Laws of War won't change that one bit. In fact, this will open up more opportunities for many other mods to further advance on the game's core principles. Remember, it was DayZ that got its start as an ARMA 2, which later worked as a catalyst for a dozen other copycat clones in the zombie survival genre. It was also ARMA that was the foundation for the original Battlegrounds mod, which has now evolved into the best-selling video game of 2017 so far, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.
According to Polygon, Bohemia Interactive's new DLC will include an all new miniature campaign featuring a playable organization based on the real life ICRC, who they are collaborating with on the DLC. The article notes that half of the sales from the DLC will be donated to the ICRC in 2018.
So, with the Geneva Convention joining the fray, and even more realism being added to the game, I can only imagine what modders might come up with next. You can look to get your hands on the paid DLC right now from the Steam store or from Bohemia's digital storefront.