Not for the first time, Russia has used footage taken from a video game and used it in a report on real-life military action. In this instance, a clip from Arma 3 briefly appeared in a segment on the war in Syria.
State-run Channel One TV’s weekly Voskresnoye Vremya program was airing a segment celebrating Russia’s armed forces, to commemorate last week’s Defender of the Fatherland Day.
Roman Filippov, a Su-25 ground attack aircraft pilot killed in Syria earlier this month, was one of those honored. In a sequence showing Su-25 jets in action, one scene contained what appears to be a truck being attacked from the perspective of a sniper. It’s on the screen for less than a second, but a closer look reveals the clip is from the 2015 military simulator game, Arma 3. Check it out below.
After viewers spotted the game’s inclusion and highlighted it on Pikabu, Russia’s version of Reddit, Channel One said that "the use of this frame was a mistake by the video editing director.” They allegedly took it from the video archive, where it came from a previous story on computer games.
But not everybody is convinced that the clip’s inclusion was accidental, especially as this isn’t the first time video games have been used this way. Back in November, Russia’s Ministry of Defense posted images of what it claimed was “irrefutable evidence” of cooperation between US troops and ISIS, but in reality, it was a screenshot from a trailer for a mobile game. And in May 2016, the Russian embassy in the UK posted a screenshot from classic PC strategy game Command and Conquer: Generals to warn of extremist activities.
It’s not just Russia that uses games in this way. In January 2017, CNN used Fallout 4 to illustrate Russian hacking activities, while in 2011, a report by British TV station ITV showed footage of a helicopter being shot down using weapons allegedly supplied by the IRA, but the clip was taken straight from Arma 2.