Bohemia Interactive will launch an alpha test of ArmA 3 from next week onwards, which can be accessed if you purchase the Alpha Edition on Steam or manage to score a 'lite' version from a friend.
Details and screenshots below.
The Arma 3 alpha includes four showcase missions (Infantry, Vehicles, SCUBA and Helicopter), a "limited subset of weapons and vehicles," two multiplayer missions and editing/modding support. You'll be able to walk, drive and fly over the 20 km² island of Stratis, which is just a small taste of the 270 square kilometers that the full game will bring to the table.
“The Arma 3 Alpha is a big milestone in the project's development," explains Creative Director Jay Crowe. "Testing early and often puts us on the right track towards improving performance, stability and delivering on our goal of creating a robust final release. It's also a big opportunity to get the game in the hands of our passionate community, which enables them to start work on their own creations, tailored to the fourth generation of the Real Virtuality engine.”
Unlike most alpha versions, however, you'll probably need to put some money down to get involved. An Alpha Edition will launch on Steam from Tuesday March 5th, costing £19.99. This includes a digital copy of the full game on release, while a £34.99 special edition will also include some bonuses such as the soundtrack and a Steam version of Arma: Cold War Assault. Apparently this represents a significant saving compared to buying the game at launch, since prices will apparently increase nearer the time.
An invite-only 'lite' alpha version will also be doing the rounds, which contains no multiplayer options but features the showcase scenarios, weapons and vehicles. Bohemia will be giving these out on social networks, and Alpha version customers can get their friends involved.
The full and final version of Arma 3 is scheduled for release in Q3 2013, prefaced by a summer beta. Will you be getting involved with the alpha or holding off until more gameplay details come to light?