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Arma 3 fake war footage prompts response from developers

For years, Arma 3 fake war footage has popped up on social media, sometimes even making its way to television news - and Bohemia Interactive wants it to stop

Arma 3 fake war footage: German soldiers ready machine guns in desert-painted armoured cars

For a simulation game that’s by now showing its advanced age, Arma 3 still manages to gain headlines pretty frequently – although, not the kind its developers, Bohemia Interactive, would prefer. Arma 3 fake war footage has been showing up on social media and even TV news for years, often misleading viewers about some ongoing military conflict. In light of the latest round of faked Arma 3 footage that purports to depict action in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Bohemia Interactive has published a statement and offered some tips on how to spot faked footage.

“While it’s flattering that Arma 3 simulates modern war conflicts in such a realistic way, we are certainly not pleased that it can be mistaken for real-life combat footage and used as war propaganda,” says Pavel Křižka, Bohemia’s public relations manager, noting that fake Arma 3 footage has been used to depict conflicts in Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, and India and Pakistan.

“Nowadays this content has gained traction in regard to the current conflict in Ukraine. We’ve been trying to fight against such content by flagging these videos to platform providers, but it’s very ineffective,” he explains. For every video Bohemia successfully flags on YouTube or Facebook and has taken down, he says, ten more are uploaded to take its place.

Instead, Křižka says the more effective method for addressing the spread of fake footage created in Arma 3 is to educate news outlets and fact-checkers on how to spot phony videos made in the game. There are a few red flags the studio says to look out for:

  • Low resolution video, used to conceal the unnatural look of a game
  • Excessively shaky camera
  • Scenes shot at night to hide the game’s lower level of detail
  • Faked videos often do not include sound
  • Lack of visible, moving people in the shot
  • Heads-up display elements visible on screen
  • Unnatural particle effects, such as explosions and dust clouds
  • Non-standard or unrealistic military equipment and uniforms, incorrect insignia

The huge variety of Arma 3 mods (which you can read about over on our sister site Wargamer) can make it tough to spot fake footage in some cases, but there are usually enough tells to raise suspicion.

Bohemia has also asked that Arma 3 content creators share their videos responsibly. “Please refrain from using ‘clickbait’ video titles, and always state clearly that the video originated from a videogame and is not depicting real-life events,” Bohemia says. “We have seen many Arma players pointing out mistakenly identified footage, which helps viewers understand what they’re seeing. Thank you for helping!”

Arma 4 is currently in development, and Bohemia Interactive has recently released Arma Reforger in Early Access – it’s a more compact, multiplayer-only package designed to get players and modders on board with the new Enfusion Engine.