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The original PUBG is among the most-played mods for Arma 3

The military simulation game celebrates 4 million owners with a free weekend on Steam

ARMA 3 campaign screenshots Bohemia Interactive
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

To celebrate its community of more than four million players, Bohemia Interactive released a curious new infographic for its hit military simulation game, Arma 3. It reveals that the original mod for the game that would become PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is among the most popular fan-made mods of all time, and the only standalone game mode to make it into the top five.

To celebrate the milestone, the original Arma 3 will be free-to-play all weekend on Steam. The promotion begins at 1 p.m. ET today, April 26, and ends 1 p.m. ET on April 30.

Arma 3 was first released in 2013, conspicuously without a single-player campaign. But that campaign was later added in, along with a host of other pieces of downloadable content. The most recent, titled Tanks, adds several new armored vehicles to the fleet and adds interior spaces to older tanks for the first time.

According to Bohemia Interactive, players have spent more than 600 million hours in-game since it launched, with a peak concurrent playerbase of more than 56,000. The average player has logged more than 150 hours. Of its eight for-pay DLC packs, more than 6 million have been sold. The best-selling piece of DLC? The tongue-in-cheek Arma 3 Karts, an elaborate April Fool’s joke which added go-karts to the game.

But Arma 3 is, like the Arma products that came before it, is more of a platform than a true first-person shooter game. The community that surrounds it spends most of its time creating and playing mods, the most famous of which are DayZ and PlayerUnknown’s Battle Royale, which both began as mods for Arma 2: Operation Arrowhead and were later ported over to Arma 3.

The most popular Steam Workshop items of all time, according to the developer, are as follows:

  • RHS: The product of the community at Red Hammer Studios that has been making mods for the Arma series since 2003. The 9 GB collection includes weapons and other assets for modern Russian and American armed forces.
  • Enhanced Movement: Adds additional movement options to the game, including the ability to jump and interact with vehicles and players in ways not supported by the base game.
  • CBA_A3: A sort of hodgepodge of many different community-generated micro-mods that are features in and of themselves or enable other mods to some extent.
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battle Royale: The original mod, created by Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene, who would go on to make PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The mod is still supported, and Greene told Polygon at last year’s E3 that he personally pays to keep the dedicated servers online.
  • CUP Terrains — Maps: A massive collection of classic geotypical maps from previous games in the Arma series, as well as entirely fan-made creations. They include Chernarus, the setting for the original DayZ, as well as community favorites such as Takistan, Sahrani and Utes.

For more on the Arma 3 community, see our feature story on Shack Tactical, a clan that this year celebrated its 12th year playing the Arma series on a weekly basis.