After more than four years of post-release development, the Arma 3 team is gradually moving onto new projects here at Bohemia Interactive. This includes the development of new games, as well as the development of the technology and tools that will power our future projects. Of course, we've not yet reached the final destination on the current Arma 3 roadmap, and with Tac-Ops and Tanks DLC on the way, there's still a lot to look forward to!
Beyond that, as we'll be investing our resources into the longer-term future, it means that Arma 3 Tanks will most likely be our final, official, DLC release. Of course, we'll still be supporting the Arma 3 platform with updates afterwards. However, these should not involve major changes to the game's core architecture, which also makes it less likely for such updates to cause compatibility issues, and helps us to ensure a more stable platform overall. Regardless, thanks to our dedicated community, we're convinced that Arma 3 will remain active and relevant for many more years. Yet to help Arma 3 continue its life as a constantly evolving platform, there's one other idea that we wish to pursue. Namely, we'd like to work with external development teams, including the splendid developers in our community, to publish their Arma 3 projects as third-party premium DLC on Steam.
As most of you probably already know, Arma 3 Jets DLC was the first opportunity for us to become familiar with third-party development partnerships. This DLC was developed together with BRAVO ZERO ONE STUDIOS (B01) - an external team led by Make Arma Not War winner Joshua "Saul" Carpenter. To put it simply, B01 developed the premium assets like the new jets and carrier, while our own development team took care of the related free platform features such as the sensor overhaul. It was a very challenging, but also satisfying and successful project. And even though we don't have the resources to directly support the development of any future third-party DLC (unlike the more cross-collaborative approach to Jets DLC), the overall experience has made us confident about extending this opportunity to other external developers.
Furthermore, this opportunity also connects with our belief that quality content creators, including the talented developers in our community, deserve a financial reward for their hard work - and facilitating this would eventually lead to many benefits for everyone. At the same time, we're also very keen to preserve everything that makes community content and modding such a beloved component of our series. For this reason, let us already point out a few things:
We'll be looking to select and publish new projects, but also existing projects that would be able to scale up in quality/quantity as a result of being published as a premium DLC. However, we'll always insist that any existing free Arma 3 addons and mods remain free. In other words, third-party DLC we publish should never replace something which was previously free.
Different from Arma 3's official DLC so far, this new third-party premium DLC would always be an optional installation. This means you only download the DLC data after you've purchased the third-party DLC pack - and so if you didn't purchase and install the additional content, you wouldn't see it listed in Arma 3's main menu or in the Editor's content browser.
As mentioned earlier, we'll not be able to offer development support for third-party DLC. However, we will provide guidelines on technical and quality requirements, assist with the Quality Assurance process, help with promotion and deliver the tools for mastering.
Lastly, we know from experience how difficult it can be to bring a project to completion. With that in mind, we currently anticipate that probably only a few third-party premium DLC packs will get published each year. Our intention is to ensure a steady flow of exciting new Arma 3 content over the next few years, while also making sure not to clutter the game with an excessive amount of premium DLC.
For now, we're mostly looking to get the ball rolling by inviting those who are interested in a collaboration to send us their DLC proposal. To do so, please send us your pitch (which should already include a working in-game prototype delivered as an Arma 3 mod) to firstname.lastname@example.org. After we've evaluated your concept and if we see potential, we can start discussing the details of the agreement, the development schedule, and anything else that might be relevant to your project.
All in all, we know you'll have many more questions, and quite honestly, we might not have all the answers just yet. We're currently in the process of formulating the basic guidelines, and forming the team of people who will be guiding the entire process. We'll probably also be making some mistakes and all be learning as we go. However, in the end, our ambition is straightforward and clear: to establish a third-party publishing framework which benefits our content creators, our players, and our longer-term future. In the meantime, if you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, we welcome you to share them with us. Thank you for your interest - we'll keep you informed as things progress!