We've had a glut of solid, modern era shooters over the last seven to ten months including great games like Call of Duty:Modern Warfare 2 and Battlefield:Bad Company 2. Another game that seems to be sneaking up on people is Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead. After seeing the first footage
of the game last month we were lucky enough to score the following interview.
Please introduce yourself and talk about your role on the project? What kinds of things do you do on a daily basis? How did you get into the game industry?
My name is Ivan Buchta and I am lead designer of Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead. I work mainly on the high-level design of the game content, setting and the related art assets.
Before I started working for Bohemia, I did some community projects for Bohemia Interactive's Operation Flashpoint. One of my projects grabbed Marek Spanel's attention and he offered me the chance to turn my hobby into a job.
What's the history of Bohemia? What would you say your area of specialty is?
I can't speak much about the early history of the company, as I saw it only from the fan's perspective for quite a long time. Four years ago, I started working in Bohemia Interactive and took part in the development of its recent titles: Armed Assault (released in 2006), followed by additional content for the game, then Arma 2 (released in 2009).
Bohemia Interactive was established in 1999 and its debut PC game released as Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis in 2001, earned it a worldwide reputation for delivering quality game experiences in the area of realistic military games on the PC, later followed by serious games for military training based on the same in-house technology.
How does this game tie into Arma 2? Will people be able to play it if they haven't played the original game? Why did you decide to make it a stand-alone package rather than just DLC?
Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead takes the player to another part of our fictional gaming universe of Arma, that we interally call "Armaversum", a few years after the events of Arma 2. The story has no direct ties to Arma 2, the new players won't need to know the original game.
Arrowhead provides enough content to work as a stand-alone title: campaign, missions, several new armies and environments, and it's definitely more polished compared to Arma 2 upon its initial release. The playable content has been designed with focus on accessibility and we put much more effort into proper tutorials (there are plenty of those now to explain various aspects of the game).
Naturally, after 11 months of intense development, we don't want to limit the potential audience only to those who own Arma 2, as that would only waste Arrowhead's potential. On the other hand, we designed in a way that it still seamless integrates with the original Arma 2 and in fact it upgrades with loads of new features and additions, so owning both games is a user’s best option and it won’t matter in which order the games are played.
What lessons did you learn from the development of Arma 2 that you applied to the development of the expansion pack? What community feedback did you incorporate into Operation Arrowhead?
We mainly learned to focus more on "selling" the unique gameplay and features in the campaign and scenarios, avoiding weak points of Arma 2, and of course, to deliver less features, but polish them as much as possible. Of course, the experience from development of Arma 2 led to many adjustments in the production pipelines and design of Arrowhead.
Our community is always years ahead when it comes to ideas. Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead contains many features community requested after release of Arma 1 and 2.
Page 1 of 3