NOTE: This article is about the Old Man mini-campaign's storyline events. For gameplay information and a walkthrough, see Old Man (scenario).
Acting on a tip-off, Santiago has vowed to personally uncover the truth behind the sudden surge of a mosquito-transmitted disease within his homeland. But as he will soon find, the "outbreak" is no act of nature and is connected to a wider conspiracy that could threaten to upend the world's balance of power.
Set in 2038, three years after the events of Apex Protocol, a malaria epidemic has spread throughout the Tanoa province in the Horizon Islands. NATO's Safe Horizon exercise has also reached the end of its mandate and NATO forces - unable to assist with the crisis, have made preparations to depart from the country.
Frustrated with their uselessness and neglect of their commitments, the newly-elected government in La Roche has called for the aid of CSAT instead, who have sent their doctors and soldiers to the region.
Remnants of the Syndikat have become 'politique', and now form the muscle behind the "L'Ensemble" movement; a legitimate insurgency fighting against what they see as a CSAT occupation.
In the midst of this turmoil, a retired French Foreign Legionnaire known only by his nickname of "Santiago", has been contacted by an informant - CTRG Captain Scott Miller (codenamed Keystone), who confirms his suspicions about the outbreak's origins. He has asked Santiago to monitor the CSAT encampment near his hometown of Ouméré, keeping track of their movements and placing hidden cameras overlooking the town centre.
While returning to his home, Keystone contacts Santiago again and requests that he access his secured terminal to get the latest intel his team had gathered.
|«||This picture appeared one month ago in the News Today. It's Tobakoro. A village no-one ever heard of 'til malaria wiped it off the map. Here is the same photo, only enhanced. Note the stencil on the side of the container. Look familiar? That symbol was on a cargo truck we caught with our surveillance.
Keystone briefing Santiago on his latest objective
Crates containing a strange red marking had been found in the village of Tobakoro. They had been transported on the same truck Keystone's team had been keeping track of - only a few days prior to the villagers being infected. If the suspicions of his team's analysts were true, it was linked to a supposed CSAT biogenetic weapons programme. But there wasn't enough information gathered to prove its existence yet and Keystone needed more solid evidence.
After resting for a few hours, Santiago woke up the next morning to a loud knocking on his door. A local resident and retired bacteriologist, Dr. Drábek, was at the front and told Santiago that Luganville had been quarantined overnight, and his patients' conditions were deteriorating rapidly from the disease.
|«||The first calls came in last night. Since then, half the village has been infected. There are mosquitoes, but the salient symptom; it's not malarial. In every case, I've seen significant ulceration of the skin. Almost like an allergic reaction...
He was similarly wary of the way CSAT were handling the crisis, and relocated his patients to a hidden location in the jungle nearby out of fear they would be killed or worse, "used" for some other purpose. He also asked if Santiago could meet with a contact of his who was willing to sell proper anti-malaria medications to him.
Before that, Santiago rendezvoused with Keystone in person at his hideout. Keystone tasked Santiago with checking the camp at Ouméré; for whatever reason, the soldiers had packed up their equipment and had completely abandoned it during the night. Furthermore Luganville - as Drabek reported, seemed to suffer the same fate as Tobakoro; trucks were spotted carrying crates with the same symbol. It was paramount that Santiago investigate the camp as soon as possible.
Upon arrival, Santiago began taking pictures with his camera and sent as many images as he could of anything peculiar. Two things especially stood out: a torn document and a hastily brushed whiteboard, repeatedly stated the port of Harcourt by name. Keystone suspected that the port was perhaps being used by CSAT to smuggle their bioweapons into the country, and tasked Santiago with continuing the investigation.
For a mere harbour town used for logistics, Harcourt's port was oddly fortified quite heavily, and numerous medical personnel in hazard suits could be seen entering and exiting the warehouse. Santiago managed to acquire a disguise and infiltrated the port. Inside the warehouse, he discovered numerous hardened terminals and a large medical tent erected.
He quickly took more images of the makeshift facility and downloaded the data from the terminals. Most importantly, he managed to retrieve a folio of documents before exfiltrating from the port. Keystone then requested that he bring back the documents to the hideout.
After handing over the documents, Keystone's team disseminated the data. According to the intel recovered, the military base on Tuvanaka was at the centre of the crisis. A weapons lab - as Keystone had suspected all along, was indeed being used to fabricate weapons of mass destruction; the malaria super-strain which they dubbed "Atrox". If there was to be any hope of stopping CSAT from spreading the epidemic, they needed to destroy the facility as soon as possible.
But the main base was well-protected with numerous autonomous sentry guns, and calling in an airstrike to destroy the lab was simply out of the question with all the bases' anti-air defences. If Keystone's team were going to get in, they needed Santiago to disable the defences. And for that to be possible, he needed the L'Ensemble. Reluctantly, Santiago decided to arrange for a meetup with their contact, using the excuse of obtaining medication for Dr. Drábek to justify the meeting.
Arriving at the warehouse, the contact was nowhere to be seen but Santiago suddenly received a message from an unknown caller. The man refused to identify himself, and told him that if he wanted to get medication, he'd have to agree to help the L'Ensemble. First, Santiago would need to demolish a house in Vagalala that government forces had seized for evidence, and rescue one of their own being held captive. Santiago managed to accomplish both tasks, and the L'Ensemble contact was pleased with his successes.
|«||Salut, Képi. You do good, eh? Time government learn no-one beyond our reach. I will be in touch. L'Ensemble need a soldier-man like you.
The man now revealed himself as "Samjo", a former high-ranking Syndikat lieutenant turned freedom fighter. Samjo offered Santiago plentiful access to the medication Drábek desired, and insisted he join them in their fight against the occupation.
Santiago continued to support Samjo's cause, stealing millions of dollars worth in military hardware, while joining them in raids against the CSAT garrison and getting a steady supply of medication for Drábek's ailing patients. Eventually with their help, Santiago is able to assault a major CSAT base and steal network structure plans that detailed the location and an electronic access point into Tuvanaka's defensive systems.
Returning to Keystone to pass on the plans, the Captain handed over a flash drive containing a virus that could cripple the automated sentries electronically. To do that, he needed to upload it to a terminal with direct access to the system. However, he would also need the ID card of a high-ranking officer to bypass the security clearance lockout measures. Yet again, Santiago infiltrated his way into one of the CSAT bases, assassinated the base's officer to retrieve his card, and discretely began uploading the virus.
With the defences knocked offline, all that had to be done now was to sneak into the base and blow it up. Santiago would be left responsible for demolishing the lab, while Keystone's team would assault the facility after his distraction to clean up and hopefully, retrieve the biological counteragent used for CSAT's "special" medications.
Distracted by the destruction of facilities on the other islands and constant raids by the L'Ensemble, the base defenders were caught completely by surprise. They were cut down to the last man, and CSAT's nefarious lab had finally been razed to the ground. Keystone later called Santiago to inform him that his team had successfully managed to retrieve a sample of the counteragent.
|«||The mission's over, we were able to find a sample for a cure. But, it's just that: a sample. Bottom line is, we just can't spare any to help the people here. The long game's the only thing that matters, we have to have a solution for the future. There is no point giving up what we have to save so few. Try to focus on the bigger picture!
Unfortunately, there wasn't enough of the sample to spare and they had precious little time to flee before CSAT would follow his team's trail. Furthermore, Dr. Drábek and Samjo had both called him earlier to tell him that they knew he held the cure to the WMD. Both of them urged (or in Samjo's case, "politely" threatened) Santiago to pass on the counteragent to them.
Santiago was now left at an impossible crossroads. Would he protect the people of the Horizon Islands and give it to Drábek to cure the infected immediately? Or prioritise his own personal safety while satisfying his greed by selling it to Samjo? ...or would he choose to allow Keystone to leave with the counteragent, believing that as Keystone stated, having a solution for the future was the only way forward? For Santiago, every option was a gamble with an uncertain outcome.
As Keystone directed him towards the extraction point, he made his choice...
Deciding to agree with Keystone's plan, Santiago followed him back to the extraction point where the rest of Keystone's team awaited. With CSAT hot on their heels, they quickly boarded the submersible and returned to CTRG's mobile base of operations.
Eventually after many failed trials, a vaccine for Atrox would be successfully developed. Because of this, the evidence Keystone gathered could be used to expose CSAT's conspiracy at long last, putting an end to their occupation and perhaps, the coalition itself.
However, Santiago's friends and neighbours were long gone because of his decision. One must wonder: was the vaccine worth the cost in all the innocent lives lost?
Outraged by Keystone's casual disregard for the lives of his friends and neighbours, Santiago shoots him in the back before he can leave. Before the rest of his team members can respond, he quickly retrieves the counteragent from Keystone's corpse and flees, making his way back to Drábek's hideout.
Unfortunately, Drábek and his patients were being held hostage by Samjo's men. To "persuade" Santiago, Samjo had pre-emptively rounded them up as leverage. But that was of no concern to the old Legionnaire; he eliminated the fighters and quickly freed Drábek and the others.
|«||Bad move, Képi blanc. You petit homme - we will find you. And when we do, you crocodile food, papi...
Samjo's ominous warning before hanging up one final time
Tanoa was no longer a safe place for Santiago. He needed to get out of the country, but the question remained as to how? CSAT were locking down the entire province, and hiding was no longer an option with L'Ensemble pursuing him.Luckily, Drábek had overheard one of the guerillas talking about a CSAT submersible docked at the harbour in Tavu. Alternatively, he could hijack a plane that the L'Ensemble were using to smuggle contraband. Regardless, Santiago made his getaway and escaped from the country.
As for Drábek, the old doctor passed on the counteragent to the Global Health Initiative. Thanks to him providing both data and the sample, the organisation was quickly able to develop both a cure and a vaccine, allowing all patients in the region to recover.
However, without the evidence gathered by Keystone, CSAT's complicity behind the entire crisis and the development of Atrox would never be exposed to the world.
Santiago may have saved his friends, neighbours and countless others but the occupation would continue. CSAT would rebuild the laboratory, quietly resuming their deadly programme once more.
How long will it be until another country is targeted in the same way? How long will it take, before CSAT modifies the strain and nullifies the vaccine completely?
It's far too late to consider that now...
What was more important - his own life, or betting on Keystone's insane gamble that would obviously never work? The choice was simple: Santiago gunned down Keystone, and retrieved the counteragent before any of his team members could retaliate.
Samjo smugly applauded his decision, and provided Santiago with a location of where he could leave the sample for his men to collect. He made his way towards the drop point and left the sample, receiving a healthy payout for his efforts.
|«||Your NATO friends, they betray you. After you betray them. CSAT know who you are - 'Santiago'. Tanoa. It no place for you no more. But L'Ensemble? We don't forget our friends. There is a petit submersible at the harbor in Tavu. Take it, use it to escape. Go to La Roche. Go safe. Adieu.
Samjo's farewell "gift" to Santiago
As for Samjo? The L'Ensemble would continue to fight against CSAT, whilst the counteragent was placed up for grabs on the black market.
A buyer - an unknown foreign doctor, would purchase the sample and pass it onto the Global Health Initiative. But without the necessary data to synthesise it properly, an experimental vaccine was tested on only select individuals with little results.
Eventually, it was forgotten and GHI's attempt to procure a vaccine was abandoned. Meanwhile CSAT's occupation intensified, the laboratory was rebuilt, and the disease continued to spread with each passing day, prolonging the suffering of more innocent Tanoans.
Santiago could have prevented this. But who cares about the lives of others when the old man could live out his twilight years in peace and material comfort?
- Demolish the bioweapons facility on Tuvanaka island. This is necessary for completion of the penultimate storyline mission. Note that only the main biodome structure has to be razed (the base itself does not have to be destroyed).
- Complete all necessary main storyline missions, then let Miller keep the counteragent sample and extract with his team. This will lock you into ending A.
- Instead of following the intended path for ending A, shoot Miller when he tells you to accompany him to the extraction point.
- Alternatively, kill him upon arranging a meeting in person or after retrieving the documents revealing the origins of Atrox.
- Fulfil the same storyline missions to achieve ending A (Status Quo) but ensure that all of Dr. Drábek's patients survive (rescue him and the others after Samjo's men holds them hostage).
- You must then kill Miller before returning to save the others and flee from Tanoa in any suitable boat or aircraft.
- Follows the same storyline missions as ending A's requirements but instead of saving the doctor and his patients as in ending B (Man of the People), drop off the counteragent sample at the L'Ensemble's designated stash vehicle.
- You must then escape from Tanoa by any means necessary, whether that be a boat, airplane or submersible.
- Old Man is free content for all players as part of its platform update. Because it requires the Tanoa terrain from ArmA 3's Apex expansion, however, the mini-campaign cannot be accessed without the player owning the DLC.
- It is the first campaign to introduce a trust-based reputation system.
- Though previous campaigns featured dialogue options that affected relations with different factions (i.e. ArmA 2's Harvest Red), they were not adjusted dynamically and only affected certain storyline missions at specific points in the campaign.
- In Old Man, the player can gain a negative reputation but regain the trust of the L'Ensemble later on based on their actions. Depending on how their reputation stands, this can result in either beneficial or unhelpful gameplay effects that can dynamically change the difficulty of missions.
- Old Man is also the first campaign to feature a functional disguise system that dynamically allows Santiago to blend in with other civilians (whilst immediately exposing him should he overtly carry military-grade weapons and gear/outfits).
- Old Man was previously the first campaign to eschew the traditional manual save/checkpoint system in favor of resting at hotels, at safehouses or in (perishable) sleeping bags to maintain progress. Choosing to "save" in this way could potentially result in negative outcomes however, as several missions are time-sensitive and could be missed due to Santiago "sleeping".
- However, following its release, non-scripted manual saving has been re-enabled and can now be selected in lieu of the originally intended system.
- The ability to purchase weapons with money marks the second time that the mechanic has been featured in an official campaign. It is a system that has not been seen in any of the past campaigns to date; not since its introduction in Armed Assault's Royal Flush.
|Cold War Assault||Resistance (1982) • Cold War Crisis (1985)|
|Armed Assault||Armed Assault (2006) • Rahmadi Conflict (2006) • Royal Flush (2007)|
|ArmA 2||Harvest Red (2009) [ Eagle Wing ] • Silver Lion (2010-2012) • Operation Arrowhead (2012) • Operation Crimson Lance (2012) • Operation Black Gauntlet (2013)|
|Tactics||Operation Tempest • Operation No Deal|
|ArmA 3||Beyond Hope (2026) • Prologue (2034) • The East Wind (2035) [ Survive, Stepping Stone, Adapt, Win, Steel Pegasus, Altis Requiem ] • Remnants of War (2034/2035) • Apex Protocol (2035) • Old Man (2038) • First Contact (2039)|
|Mobile Ops||Liberator of Lignos|
|Entries are listed in canonical order from left-to-right.|
[Brackets] denote campaigns taking place concurrently within the same time period.
Italics denote spin-off or non-canon campaigns.