Arma 3 alpha goes live next week; get instant access through Steam pre-order

Attention, soldiers! After a uniquely challenging development period, Arma 3 is set to begin public alpha manoeuvres next week. From the 5th March, pre-orders for the military sim will go live on Steam, offering instant access to anyone who purchases either the Alpha or Digital Deluxe editions of the game.

The alpha trial will include four missions ("Infantry, Vehicles, SCUBA and Helicopter"), a limited selection of weapons and vehicles, two multiplayer scenarios, the scenario editor and modding support. All this will take place on the 20 km² island of Stratis, the smaller brother of the full game's 270 km² Atlis.

"The Arma 3 Alpha is a big milestone in the project's development," writes co-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."

A free, limited version of the alpha, titled Arma 3 Alpha Lite, will also be available a week after the purchase edition, from March 14th. The lite version lacks both multiplayer and modding support. A full list of purchasing options and their benefits is available from this handy comparison chart .

Arma 3 Alpha edition will cost €24.99/£19.99/$32.99.

Phil Savage

Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.