Back in October, a video clip started doing the rounds on social media, showing what appeared to be the Ukrainian artillery attacking Russian tanks. The footage was shared thousands of times across social media platforms.
There was just one small problem; the footage in question was not real.
It was, in fact, a video of gameplay from Arma 3, a military simulation title made by Czech studio Bohemia Interactive.
This is far from the first time the game has been used to fake footage of warzones. In the past, Arma 3 has been used to spoof videos of conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria, as well as military action between Israel and Palestine. It’s even been used to fake videos of a fictional war between India and Pakistan. This isn’t even the first time that footage of the Ukrainian war has actually turned out to be Arma 3 footage.
Bohemia decided enough was enough. In November, the studio decided to publish a blog post outlining how the general public and media could tell whether warzone footage was real or whether it had been created in a game. This was the first time the studio had publicly addressed Arma 3 being used in this way.
We’ve been dealing with these videos for a very long time,” PR lead Pavel Křižka tells GamesIndustry.biz. “They’ve mostly been from Arma 3 and previously from Arma 2. Arma 3 has been heavily used, mostly on social networks, to make videos that look like footage from real-life combat situations. We’ve been dealing with that very often.
“But nowadays, of course, because of the war in Ukraine, these videos are gaining huge traction. We felt like we needed to react officially to show that we knew about the problem, and that we are dealing with it. We also wanted to educate the general public and even the media, which sometimes take this footage as real as well.
“The blog post was mostly to show that we are aware of the problem and we are not happy that our game is used to spread fake news and is used in war propaganda. Some people might think it’s a big promotion for the game, which is true, but certainly, it’s mostly negative for us.
“No developer wants their game to be used in such a way.”