This week, Bohemia Interactive is celebrating the tenth anniversary of Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis with a double-whammy of good news for military sim fans. The developer announced Arma 2: Free, a slimline free version of Arma 2, is now available. Additionally, the original Operation Flashpoint is being re-released under the Arma brand.
Arma 2: Free offers a cut-down version of Bohemia's sim completely for free. It comes complete with full multiplayer and the editor, but has low-quality graphics and lacks both mod support and the campaign missions. It's also compatible with regular Arma II servers, as long as no mods or expansions are used.
You'd best download the 960MB Arma 2: Free installer here at Shacknews, as Bohemia's servers seem a little overloaded right now.
The original Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis is being brought under Bohemia's Arma brand, with the name Arma: Cold War Assault. It'll also come complete with the expansion pack Resistance. If you own Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis or the Game of the Year edition, you'll also be able to download Arma: Cold War Assault for free. Bohemia notes that it'll also be released "through various online stores in the near future."
Bohemia's had an unhappy history with the Operation Flashpoint name, so it's good to see the developer able to reclaim the game. Bohemia created and developed Operation Flashpoint, but the trademark was owned by publisher Codemasters. After the two parted ways, Bohemia couldn't use the name and so called its new franchise Arma, even though it was essentially an OpF sequel.
Bohemia told Shacknews that the rebranding and re-release comes now partially as a celebration of its tenth anniversary, but admits that "it became possible only recently by a contract expiration."
Codemasters has gone on to publish its own internally-developed games under the Flashpoint name, releasing Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising in 2009 and Operation Flashpoint: Red River this year. Bohemia protested having these games presented as sequels to the original Operation Flashpoint.
"After all these years of continuous support and improvements we are delighted to be able to unite our lineup of military simulators for PC under the Arma brand," Bohemia CEO Marek Spanel said in today's announcement. "This step will not only avoid potential confusion amongst users and the wider gaming public, but it will also preserve what is now a classic PC game for years to come as it could no longer be available under its original name."