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Arma 3 wants to send you into a war zone with the Red Cross

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Arma 3 developer Bohemia Interactive and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are raising awareness about the dangers that health care providers face in conflict zones with a special prize for the game's modding contest, "Make Arma Not War," the studio announced today.

In addition to the €500,000 ($680,400) in prizes that Bohemia is giving out, the ICRC is offering the Health Care in Danger Special Award for an entry that best fits the theme "health care in danger." Christian Rouffaer, head of the ICRC's international humanitarian law and video games project, is one of the judges for the prize. In an interview on the Make Arma Not War site, he suggested that Arma 3 modders could build in-game assets like hospitals and ambulances, or create modes focusing on medevac procedures.

The winner will get to spend one week working with the ICRC in a foreign country, with potential missions such as distributing aid, accompanying a medical team for casualties of war or visiting the ICRC in Geneva to see the organization's virtual reality efforts. Bohemia and the ICRC will announce the winners of the Make Arma Not War contest, including the Health Care in Danger Special Award, on Jan. 15, 2015.

The ICRC's Health Care in Danger initiative, which was launched in 2011, aims to make it safer for humanitarian workers to provide health care in armed conflict and emergency situations. According to the ICRC, in recent years there has been an uptick in efforts against the health care sector. That includes the impeding of health care delivery, such as by denying humanitarian workers entry into areas where people need care, as well as attacks on medical personnel and facilities.

For more on the ICRC's efforts to change how video games portray war crimes, check out this report.