Bohemia Interactive has announced that alpha testing of Arma 3 will begin on March 5.
The studio says the alpha release will feature "a limited amount of playable and sandbox content, receive regular updates and remain accessible until Arma 3's beta starts" later this year.
Early players will get to test out four showcase missions (Infantry, Vehicles, SCUBA and Helicopter), a limited subset of weapons and vehicles, two multiplayer scenarios, the scenario editor and modding support.
For access, players will need to purchase Arma 3 for £19.99 or the Arma 3 Digital Deluxe Edition for £34.99 on Steam. The Digital Deluxe Edition include a soundtrack, digital maps, digital tactical guide, and a Steam Gift of Arma: Cold War Assault (formerly known as Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis).
Both versions include access to the Arma 3 beta plus a digital copy of the complete game upon release. The price of each edition will increase once the Arma 3 beta and final game become available.
Bohemia has also said it will release a free, limited version of the alpha called 'Arma 3 Alpha Lite'. It will be available on March 14 and does not include a multiplayer component or modding support. Access is invite-only, with keys set to be distributed to pre-order customers, and to others randomly via the Arma 3 social channels and through giveaways conducted by selected media outlets.
Arma 3 Alpha Lite will expire on June 15, won't provide access to the Arma 3 beta and does not include a copy of the final game.
Arma 3 will be exclusive to Steam when it is released later this year.