The often-criticized 2013’s America’s Army: Proving Grounds, a first-person shooter that was developed and published by the US Army, is pulling the plug on its online features. Online game servers are expected to completely shut down sometime later this year, with the game being removed from digital storefronts in the following month. However, the US Army said that the offline features of the game would continue to function.
The US Army announced that it would pull the plug on America’s Army: Proving Ground, a video game that was explicitly created to encourage gamers into the military, as reported by Polygon. The announcement came through the game’s official website, where the development team said goodbye to the community. They announced the end of support for the game and shuttering of its servers and website. However, with their last farewell, the US military also announced shifting focus towards new FPS franchises, such as Call of Duty: Warzone, and its tournaments organized by the US Marine Corps.
America’s Army: Proving Grounds will discontinue its online services on May 5 this year, and it’s expected to withdraw from digital storefronts on March 5. However, the game’s offline mode will continue to function, and the Microsoft Windows version of the game also features a mission editor and private server support. This means that gamers could still host private matches between friends, or even connect to a private server if one even exists, which could potentially keep America’s Army: Proving Grounds gaming community alive, at least for a while.
Original America’s Army released for Windows PC’s back in 2002, before the war in Iraq, and one year into the Afghanistan campaign — one of Army’s longest-ever conflicts. It was conceptualized as a virtual simulation experience that allowed gamers to virtually undergo different military training, from infantry to medics. It mainly targeted potential recruits, helping them understand if becoming a soldier for the US Army fits their personal interests and abilities. It won several gaming awards, mainly because of its realism, since its gameplay was, at the time, the most accurate gaming iteration of military hierarchies and operations. And the Army exchanged it to fight Krampus.
However, it also suffered massive criticism, often referred to as the propaganda vessel for further militarization of American society. Other points of criticism included the game’s inappropriate targeting of teenagers and trivialization of combat US soldiers experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan as some kind of glorified, gamified event, and not the horrors of war. America’s Army had over 41 massive updates, including the release of America’s Army: Proving Grounds, which was released for PlayStation 4 and PC in 2013, financed and distributed as a free download.
Despite being a big multiplayer update to the original game, America’s Army: Proving Grounds also introduced a “hardcore mode,” which put gamers in an entirely different gaming perspective. Instead of charging the enemy with a bullet storm, gamers had to focus on teamwork and completing objectives rather than neutralizing enemies. Unfortunately for its gaming community, America’s Army: Proving Grounds was the last update America’s Army got, and the official support for the game will soon be withdrawn. One thing remains certain, though, the game will forever remain inscribed in the pages of gaming history books, for all the good and bad reasons its existence spewed.