What just happened? As Arma 3 approaches its ninth birthday, Bohemia Interactive has finally unveiled the next step for its military simulation shooter franchise. Arma Reforger will serve as a test-bed to get players and modders acclimated as the company rebuilds the technology behind the game.

Arma Reforger is available now in Steam Early Access and Xbox Game Preview for $30, with a free trial on Xbox. Bohemia Interactive didn't mention PlayStation, but last week's leak said the company plans to support Sony's platform eventually. For now, Reforger contains three multiplayer modes, mod support, and a recreation of a map from the original Operation Flashpoint.

"Conflict" and "Capture & Hold" modes pit teams of players against each other to capture control points. Game Master mode allows one player to edit and create missions for the others. Reforger lets PC players build and distribute mods entirely in-game to PC and Xbox players.

Bohemia describes the Early Access version as a "core package" from which it can gather feedback while Arma 4 starts active development. The company expects Reforger's Early Access period to last around a year, during which it plans three significant content updates.

Bohemia is developing Reforger and Arma 4 on its new Enfusion engine, which it unveiled last December. The new technology replaces the Real Virtuality engine, which the company has used for Operation Flashpoint, Arma, and DayZ games since the 1990s. Bohemia knows rebuilding everything in the new engine will be long and complex, but it should give many game elements a much-needed refresh.