Arma 2 is a military simulation video game for the Microsoft Windows Operating System, developed by Bohemia Interactive Studio. It is the official sequel to the Operation Flashpoint-series following its predecessor, ARMA: Armed Assault (ARMA: Combat Operations in North America). ARMA 2 saw a limited release in May 2009, and a wide release from June 2009 through July 2009. An expansion pack titled ARMA 2: Operation Arrowhead was released in 2010. In June 2011, a “free-to-play” version of the game was released, featuring multiplayer and limited single player modes.
ARMA 2 is named after the Latin word “arma”, meaning weapons, soldiers, and war. Due to the fact that the previous game in the series was named Armed Assault, ARMA 2 is often referred to as Armed Assault 2, albeit in error. Although ARMA 2’s title is stylized as ArmA II, it is done as an homage to the previous game in the series, not because the game’s title is a contraction of Armed Assault like the first game in the series was.
ARMA 2 is a tactical shooter focused primarily on infantry combat, however it also features significant vehicular and aerial combat elements. The player is able to command AI squad members which adds a real-time strategy element to the game. This is further enhanced by introduction of the high command system, which allows the player to command multiple squads using the map. ARMA 2 is set primarily in the fictional Eastern European nation of Chernarus, (meaning “Black Rus”). The Chernarus landscape is based heavily on the Czech Republic; the home country of the developer.
During development, Bohemia Interactive stated at the Electronic Entertainment Expo that ARMA 2 was to have a “roleplaying feel to it”, with in-game events affecting the character as well as the entire campaign. For example, terrorizing non-playable characters would result in losing their trust, thus encouraging them to give away valuable information to enemy forces. The entire campaign can be played either offline, as single-player, or online, as cooperative play for up to four players.
ARMA 2’s single-player campaign takes place in September and October 2009, in the province of South Zagoria in the northeastern region of the fictional post-Soviet state of Chernarus, as well as the remote Chernarussian island of Útes.
South Zagoria’s approximately 225 square kilometers is based on actual satellite photos of Ceské Stredohorí, in Bohemia, Czech Republic. The precise location used is the remote area between Decín and Ústí nad Labem. All necessary data is loaded silently in the background, and thus the player is at no time interrupted by any loading screens while traveling about the terrain. There are loading screens between episodes and missions.
ARMA 2’s single-player campaign, dubbed Operation Harvest Red, is set in the then-future of fall 2009, in the fictional country of Chernarus (English: Black Russia), a former Soviet republic. In the fall of 2009, Chernarus is in a state of political unrest, with its democratic government trying to keep from being overthrown by pro-communist rebels. Among the most powerful of these rebels is a group calling themselves the Chernarussian Movement of the Red Star, abbreviated as ChDKZ. Referred to by the locals as the “Chedakis”, the ChDKZ are led by communist revolutionary, Gregori “Akula” (English: Shark) Lopotev. After many months of civil war, the ChDKZ fails to overthrow the current government and set up the Socialist Republic of Chernarus. The Chernarussian government asks the international community for assistance in defeating the rebels, and the United States responded by sending a U.S. Navy Expeditionary Strike Group off the coast of Chernarus, hoping that a presence of an Amphibious Ready Group with hundreds of U.S. Marines embarked on board would calm any tensions in the area. However, the ChDKZ remains undeterred, and by late 2009 the ChDKZ launched a coup d’état against the Chernarussian government, taking control of the northeastern Chernarussian province of South Zagoria. This caused the remaining Chernarussian military forces in the area to retreat towards the coastal town of Zelenogorsk.
On 21 September 2009, as a part of their coup, the ChDKZ invaded the island of Útes (which is home to a Chernarussian military training base.) Overwhelmed, the remaining Chernarussian military forces in the area regrouped at a church in the Útes village of Strelka in an attempt to fight off the tenacious ChDKZ attack. Ultimately, the Chernarussian military forces on the island were overwhelmed by the massive onslaught, and the island fell to the ChDKZ. As a result, U.S. Marines, operating nearby from the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, USS Khe Sanh (LHD-9), launched an amphibious invasion of Útes to liberate the island from the ChDKZ forces. Soon after the U.S. Marines landed on the island, the ChDKZ were routed, and Útes was liberated.
A few days after the liberation of Útes, U.S. Marines on board the USS Khe Sanh (LHD-9) prepared to deploy to mainland Chernarus in support of Operation Harvest Red, whose purpose is to bring an end to the civil war in Chernarus and re-establish Chernarussian sovereignty. Officially, the U.S. Marines are deploying to Chernarus as a peacekeeping force. In reality, they are there to capture ChDKZ leader “Akula”, and to help defeat the ChDKZ once and for all.
Razor Team is led by Master Sergeant Patrick “Eightball” Miles (listed as a First Sergeant in press releases), the son of a California politician and lawyer. Throughout the single-player campaign, the player controls by Master Sergeant Matt “Coops” Cooper, a college-educated senior NCO from New York, who dropped out of college to pursue a career in the military; he serves as Razor Team’s second-in-command out in the field. Sergeant Chad “Robo” Rodriguez, an orphan with a delinquent childhood, serves as Razor Team’s heavy gunner. Staff Sergeant Randy “Ice Cold” Sykes, originally from Texas, serves as Razor Team’s designated marksman. Staff Sergeant Brian “Scarlet” O’Hara, from San Francisco, California, is a former U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman who transferred to the U.S. Marine Corps; he serves as Razor Team’s battlefield medic. Razor Team ultimately reports to their commanding officer, Captain Shaftoe, who is assisted by MCIA Captain, Carl Dressler, and CDF Lieutenant, Tomas Marny.
In preparation for Operation Harvest Red, elements of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Force Recon are deployed behind enemy lines into Chernarus, to weaken ChDKZ coastal defenses for the invading Marine Expeditionary Unit. Among the Force Reconnaissance Marines is Razor Team, a five-man special operations team, consisting of the main character, Master Sergeant Matthew “Coops” Cooper, Razor Team’s second-in-command, and the team’s leader, Master Sergeant Patrick “Eightball” Miles.
Razor Team’s mission is to conduct a raid on the small Chernarussian town of Pusta, to disrupt ChDKZ communications in preparation for the invading Marine Expeditionary Unit. During Razor Team’s raid on Pusta, the team rescues a couple of torture victims, and subsequently uncovers a mass grave, revealing that the ChDKZ have been conducting acts of genocide and war crimes in South Zagoria.
After the raid on Pusta, Razor Team is tasked with helping to unite the Chernarussian military (CDF) with National Party (NAPA) guerillas, who are led by a man named Prizrak. Originally hostile to each other at the beginning, their subsequent cooperation will help to restore peace to Chernarus.
As the civil war in Chernarus rages on, a terrorist bombing occurs in the middle of Red Square, in Moscow, Russia, killing dozens and wounding hundreds more. The ChDKZ blames this attack on the National Party, which causes the Russian Federation, already weary of the presence of U.S. forces operating near its border, to demand the unconditional withdrawal of U.S. forces from Chernarus. The Russian Federation proposes to the United Nations Security Council that the United States withdraw its forces from Chernarus, whom the Russians see as escalating the conflict. The United States’ mandate in Chernarus expires, and U.S. forces are quickly withdrawn from the country. Shortly after the U.S. withdrawal, the Russian Federation sends a United Nations-backed peacekeeping contingent into South Zagoria, to replace the U.S. forces. However, in the confusion, Razor Team is left behind as the rest of the U.S. forces withdraw from the country, leaving them all alone in Chernarus. Later, it is revealed that the terrorist bombing of Red Square was in fact a false flag attack committed by the ChDKZ to paint the National Party as terrorists. Razor Team is now tasked with finding evidence which will prove the ChDKZ’s involvement in the bombing of Red Square, and prove the National Party’s innocence.
ARMA 2’s campaign has several different endings, which are dependent upon a number of different factors; whether or not Razor Team eliminates Prizrak, who is opposing the alliance between the Chernarussian government and the National Party, and the arrest of Gregori “Akula” Lopotev. The campaign’s endings range from victory for the player, or to defeat, with the elimination of Razor Team by the victorious ChDKZ.
A NAPA member calling himself Yuri Olegich asks for a meeting with Razor Team and they agree to meet with him near the Russia-Chernarus border. Meanwhile, Russian peacekeepers, who are under heavy attack, retreat back across the northern border and into Russia. At the meeting, Razor Team is informed that the entire Chernarussian civil war was orchestrated by a select few in the Russian government were collaborating with the ChDKZ; deceiving their own country. Suddenly, a tactical nuke detonates nearby; killing Razor Team along with anyone else who was present at the meeting. It is revealed that the nuke had been detonated by the Russian military in response to a perceived invasion from Chernarus. In the conflict that soon followed, the evidence of the Russian-ChDKZ conspiracy was destroyed by the conspirators. Razor Team was declared missing in action, and their fate was never revealed.
Under heavy fire and on the run for their lives, Razor Team makes it to an extraction point located at an abandoned church, but are quickly encircled by Lopotev and his band of ChDKZ insurgents. Razor Team, wanting revenge for Miles’ death, attempts to fight them off, but they are swiftly killed. After Razor Team’s death, there is nothing left to stop the ChDKZ offensive and Chernarussian forces withdrew from South Zagoria. The next year, in 2010, the civil war was over with a total ChDKZ victory, and in the summer of 2010, Lopotev installed himself as the dictator of not only South Zagoria, but all of Chernarus. Chernarus was now under the rule of a totalitarian regime and its populace had little hope for the future.
In 2014, four years after the ChDKZ victory in the civil war, Lopotev was killed by an unknown assassin at his summer villa in Chernogorsk. However, his death has no effect on conditions inside Chernarus. The involvement of Force Reconnaissance Marines in Operation Harvest Red post-U.S. withdrawal remained denied by the U.S. government. Razor Team was retroactively declared missing in action at the very moment U.S. forces withdrew from Chernarus, and their true fate was never revealed.
Despite the pro-ChDKZ Russian peacekeeping contingent withdrawing from Chernarus, Razor Team fails to help the Chernarussians recapture South Zagoria from ChDKZ clutches. Barely escaping with their lives, Razor Team and a small group of surviving Chernarussian soldiers plans to escape South Zagoria via truck, by driving west and into safer central Chernarus, when the route they’ve planned to take is blocked off by ChDKZ forces. They come up with a different plan, diverting onto a different road with a plan to escape the country via boat. Under heavy fire, Razor Team makes it to a boat in a harbor on the Chernarussian coast and escapes the country; they have failed their mission completely.
Chernarussian forces suffered a terrible defeat during the civil war and were pushed back into the southwest, out of South Zagoria. South Zagoria suffered for a year under harsh ChDKZ rule. However, Chernarussian forces eventually recaptured the province in 2011, in a bloody a violent epilogue to the Chernarussian civil war. An international United Nations peacekeeping contingent, comprised mostly of Russian and European forces, was deployed into Chernarus, in an effort to help stablize the country.
The Russian government suffered a minor crisis in 2009, when several high-ranking Russian officials were charged with treason and sentenced to death for their role in the Chernarussian conflict. General Shagarov of the Russian Ground Forces was awarded the Order of Saint Andrew for his role in uncovering the origins of the Russian-ChDKZ conspiracy and capturing Gregori “Akula” Lopotev; he would die in a car accident in 2012.
Razor Team successfully escaped South Zagoria and their involvement in the Chernarussian civil war post-U.S. withdrawal became a well-kept secret. None of them would ever set foot on Chernarussian soil again.
After helping the Chenarussians take back South Zagoria from the hands of the ChDKZ, Razor Team captures Lopotev at a hideout on a remote island off the Chernarussian coast. They are then ordered by their commanders to transfer him into Russian custody, an order that Razor Team resents due to the possibility of a ChDKZ-Russian conspiracy, but ends up heeding anyway. During the prisoner transfer, Loptoev is freed in an ambush orchestrated by rogue Russian Spetsnaz GRU soldiers. Razor Team fights back and kills all of the ambushers, identifying one of them as “Karelin”, a rogue Spetsnaz soldiers that was responsible for several war crimes, atrocities, and the deaths of several U.S. Marines, including that of Ian Simmons, one of Razor Team’s colleagues who helped free them when they were captured by the ChDKZ earlier on in the campaign.
Despite Lopotev escaping, the ChDKZ is essentially defeated, with the Chernarussians tracking down the stragglers, and Chernarus becomes a powerful, free, and stable democracy, even sending their armed forces on United Nations peacekeeping missions into neighboring Takistan a few years later, in 2012. Razor Team’s mission in Chernarus is considered successfully accomplished and they are extracted from the country via a MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter and to the USS Khe Sanh (LHD-9), which is awaiting their return off the coast of Útes island. After arriving on board, Razor Team is greeted to a hero’s welcome and a steel beach picnic celebration held by the USS Khe Sanh’s sailors and Marines. General Armstrong, the commander of the local USMC MEF contingent, congratulates Razor Team on a job well done and reminds them that their valiant achievements will be classified as top secret, thus remaining unknown to the general public for years to come. The CDF and NAPA announce their new joint partnership, Russian peacekeeping forces are withdrawn from Chernarus, and several years later, Lopotev is killed by an unknown assassin outside his summer villa in Chernogorsk in 2014.
After the end of Operation Harvest Red, Rodriguez is killed during Operation Fiery Mountain in Zargabad, Takistan in October 2010, and his heroics during the Takistani conflict become legendary throughout the U.S. Marine Corps. With six years of service to his name in the 27th MEU, O’Hara is discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps several years later and returns to his native San Francisco, becoming a doctor of medicine. Sykes is severely wounded during Operation Fiery Mountain in Zargabad, Takistan in October 2010, but makes a full recovery, becoming an instructor at the Marine Special Operations School at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; putting his wartime experience to use in training his fellow Marines. Cooper is put in charge of Razor Team and retires from the U.S. Marine Corps after a deployment in Takistan. After his retirement, Cooper becomes a security consultant for various government agencies and travels to Chernarus regularly.
A hidden ending occurs early on in the campaign; Razor Team raids a warehouse, capturing Lopotev and several of his associates. Razor Team is then tasked to transport their newly captured prisoners via truck, when they are ambushed and captured by ChDKZ insurgents, after Nikola Nikitin, a CDF officer and secret ChDKZ mole, betrays Razor Team. Miles is summarily executed by Lopotev, and although Razor Team is rescued by Force Recon Marines shortly therafter, it is too late to save Miles’ life. Razor Team’s commanding officer, Captain Shaftoe, feels sympathy for his men and offers to end their mission, sending Razor Team to Germany for liberty. Razor Team reluctantly obliges, boarding a C-130 transport out of the country later that evening. Several months later, the former members of Razor Team reunite at a diner, where they express their disappointment at ending their mission early, which left Chernarus abandoned by the international community and in complete shambles. The team discusses a possible conflict emerging in Takistan, and Cooper walks off in disgust.