What's the easiest way to have a new first-person shooter stand out among the glut of competing games on the market? Make it free, of course. Picking back up the strategy proven by the original America's Army, the US Army has announced that America's Army 3 will be available for free on the PC in 2009.
Like previous installments in the franchise, America's Army 3 will primarily serve as a recruitment tool for the armed forces, offering an authentic look at the US Army's training, technology, and career tracks. The game also highlights the US Army's value system, including rules of engagement and the warrior ethos.
Still very much a game, however, America's Army 3 features a host of weapons, gameplay missions, and career archetypes. Initially, recruits begin the game as infantry soldiers, capable of specializing as a rifleman, an automatic rifleman, a designated marksman, and a grenadier. The Army plans to augment this list with more career paths in the future, with the combat medic and combat engineer slated to be among the first new classes.
Like the original game and its sequel, America's Army: Special Forces, America's Army 3 will receive a steady stream of updates. The game/recruiting tool will also be powered by Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3. That fact is unsurprising, given that Epic's president, Mike Capps, spearheaded development of the original America's Army, released in 2002.
The wargame franchise also saw several console spin-offs, most recently Ubisoft's less-than-stellar America's Army: True Soldiers.