Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis, commonly referred to as Operation Flashpoint and abbreviated OFP (officially renamed ArmA: Cold War Assault as of June 2011), is a tactical shooter and battlefield simulator created by Bohemia Interactive Studio and published by Codemasters in 2001. The game depicts a secret war between American and Soviet forces on the fictional Malden Islands in 1985. Two expansions were released: the "Gold Upgrade" add-on featured a Soviet campaign designed by Codemasters and a host of new weapons and vehicles; the Resistance expansion pack (2002) added a new campaign following the resistance movement on the island of Nogova three years before Cold War Crisis, featured numerous graphical, sound and multiplayer improvements, and added sidearms to the player's inventory. The game is the chief medium of Thorvald's machinima cartoons, and the source of some subtle references.
Cold War Crisis is set on the island-republics of Malden and Everon and the devastated Russian-held Kolgujev. (A fourth, featureless desert island is also included but not used in the campaign.) Each island is at least a dozen square kilometres in size, and technically the entire area is open to the player during missions. Resistance adds the island of Nogova, which features more urbanized townships, an expansive northern wilderness, and a vast desert in the southwest.
In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev's Glasnost and Perestroika have garnered widespread disapproval by Communist hardliners. Aleksei Guba is one such dissenter, determined to bring down Gorbachev and install himself as the leader of the Soviet Union. In command of the Third Army stationed on Kolgujev, Guba launches an invasion of Everon.
NATO forces on the nearby island of Malden, under the command of Colonel Blake, attempt to investigate the situation, but two helicopters fail to return from the mission. With the hostile force as-yet unidentified, Blake orders a full-scale invasion to re-establish contact.
After initial success, the American expedition is repelled, and the Soviets push into Malden. Guba delivers an ultimatum to withdraw from the Malden Islands, but Blake stays his ground as a carrier group is en route to lend support. At the same time, Corporal David Armstrong is rescued from Everon, where he was captured by the island's resistance, the "Everon Freedom Alliance". Acting as liaison on behalf of NATO, he paves the way for collaboration between the rebels and U.S. special forces led by James Gastovski.
The situation reaches a crisis point when Guba readies a nuclear-tipped SCUD launcher aimed at Malden. Gastovski is put in charge of a strike team and given clearance to call in combined-arms support to destroy the launcher. But even after the success of the operation, Guba arms a second missile and attempts to flee the island, prompting a full-scale assault on Kolgujev. Gastovski is again dispatched to destroy the second SCUD and apprehend Guba.
The aftermath of the war is downplayed by both governments, with Washington describing the incident as a poorly-executed terrorist raid. A local Everonian remarks that "The story will never be told." Years later, Gastovski arranges a get-together with Armstrong, Robert Hammer and Sam Nichols, the four player characters during the course of the campaign.
The Soviet campaign follows Dimitri Lukin, a former Spetsnaz operative demoted to grunt after an incident in Afghanistan. Through meritorious service, he is eventually reinstated as Spetsnaz by Guba. He is tasked with assassinating a key resistance leader, only to discover he is an old friend who convinces him that Guba has betrayed the Soviet Union. Lukin then switches sides, helping the Americans fight Guba. After the war, Lukin returns to Russia and becomes commander of his own Spetsnaz unit.
Red Hammer was criticized by the community for numerous bugs, difficulty ("Alamo", anyone?) and a disappointing storyline. In amelioration, a Russian mod team created "Retaliation: Peacemaker", which re-enacted the original campaign from the Soviet side while taking a novel twist on the story.
Serving as a prequel to Cold War Crisis, the campaign follows Victor Troska, a retired special forces operative who served with various armies around the world and helped overthrow Nogova's pro-Soviet régime in 1974. In 1982, internal conflict leads to the collapse of the government just as Soviet forces under the command of Colonel Guba invade the island. Troska reluctantly finds himself leading an outgunned and underequipped band of partisans to liberate Nogova from its Soviet occupiers.
By the end of OFP's development, relations between BIS and Codemasters had soured. A legal dispute granted Codemasters the "Operation Flashpoint" trademark, and BIS released its spiritual successors under the "ArmA" title with an improved Real Virtuality game engine. ArmA: Armed Assault was released in 2006 in the Czech Republic and 2007 in the rest of the world. Its expansion pack, Queen's Gambit, was released 2007. It was followed by ARMA 2 in 2009, and the expansion Operation Arrowhead in 2010.
Codemasters released Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising in 2009 using Codemasters' own EGO engine. A further installment, Red River, was released in 2011.