Arma 3: Gameplay Abused in Fake News & Propaganda - How to Distinguish?

Published: Nov. 28, 2022
Updated: Apr. 20, 2023

German English

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues to keep the world on tenterhooks and Czech developer Bohemia Interactive (DayZ, Arma, Y-Lands) is in the middle of it due to misused gameplay scenes. reveals how Arma 3 is being used for propaganda and how you can distinguish real footage from gameplay.

What's going on? The sandbox military simulation Arma 3 is currently coming under fire. Various media outlets and YouTube as well as social media channels are sharing what appears to be real footage from the Ukraine conflict. These are neither images from the war nor from the real world, here gameplay material is packaged as an act of war and sent to said channels. What the material is about, who is behind it, and how you can distinguish Arma gameplay from real videos - now.

Fake News with gameplay from Arma 3 - This is how Ukraine uses mil-sim for propaganda

What can be seen? In the newest videos, which seem to be real (but really are from Arma 3), air strikes are shown. Recently, Ukrainian news reported a successful defense against just such Russian airstrikes. The TV channel "FreeDomTV" uses gameplay footage from Arma 3 to illustrate this. However, they are not necessarily deliberately spreading fake news. Diligent research and a lack of fact-checking may also have led to this result. Nevertheless, this not only negatively affects the credibility of the nation, it especially affects the developer of Arma 3 -- Bohemia Interactive.

What do the developers say about it? The team behind Arma 3 comments on the current situation. So PR manager Pavel Křižka takes a stand and makes the following statement:

[...] we are certainly not pleased that (Arma 3) can be mistaken for real-life combat footage and used as war propaganda. It has happened in the past [...] 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 [...]. With every video taken down, ten more are uploaded each day. We found the best way to tackle this is to actively cooperate with leading media outlets and fact-checkers [...].

The developers also explain in their statement that this is not the first time that Arma 3 has found itself in this unfavorable position. There have already been attempts from various sides in the past to recreate modern conflicts like in Syria, Afghanistan, or Palestine with the gameplay from Arma 3 and to use them for their own questionable purposes. Whether through carelessness in research or for propagandistic purposes is unclear. In this case, there are usually no statements from the TV stations or other disseminates. Here you can find the most recent case of fake news with Arma 3. In the first scene, we see helicopters being shot down, but the scenes are from the game:

How can you tell fake video footage from Arma from real scenes?

  • Low resolution: An extremely low resolution of the video indicates that it is a fake scene. If you bought your smartphone in the last 10 years, you don't film pixel mush!
  • Shaky camera: The shakier the image, the more noticeable. Thus, developers say that spreaders of Fake News often film their videos from computer screens. This creates unnaturally shaky images to create a dramatic effect.
  • Videos at night: to hide typical telltale video game graphics. Fake News scenarios are filmed in a night setting in Arma 3.
  • No sound: typically, but not always, the video is shared entirely without sound, as fans of the series and experts might immediately recognize these as settings from a video game.
  • No people: There are almost never people in the fake videos of conflicts. If there are, they stand far away from the camera and don't move. This is to avoid the characteristic animations that could expose the lie.
  • HUD elements: In many videos about Ukraine or the Middle East conflict, HUD elements from Arma 3 are still in the picture. For example, ammunition displays or control indications can hang in the image.
  • Unnatural particle effects: Particles flying through the image are just as treacherous as explosions and smoke. The rendering in Arma, and video games in general, are artistic representations of the real world. Dust and smoke clouds are the easiest to distinguish, they are dense, black, and not affected by the environment (wind).
  • Unrealistic vehicles & equipment: The military equipment in Arma 3 is not from our modern world, but is an attempt to recreate the equipment of the year 2035. Weapons and also vehicles and airplanes/helicopters are based on prototypes of various military units. In short: they do not exist in reality.

Bohemia Interactive has also published a short explanatory video, where they go into the points mentioned:


By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

We hope we can help the developers of Bohemia Interactive with this article. We would be happy if you share this article with friends, acquaintances, and family so that propaganda in this form doesn't stand a chance. You can read the developers' OG statement via this link that leads to their website.

The interest in digging deep into the gaming industry stems from the DayZ Mod for Arma 2 in 2012. Kevin started working in the gaming industry in 2016. First as a trainee at Survivethis, the biggest German Survival-Games-Site at that time. Only half a year later, he got accepted at Gamestar and later MeinMMO. Now, on he implements all his Knowledge to deliver comprehensive news, guides, interviews and more unique topics.
Notify of
Please read our Privacy Policy

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram