America's Army 3 preparing for deployment in 2009

The U.S. Army has chosen Inauguration Day to announce the latest major installment in its self-developed FPS series, America's Army. Slated for release on PC within the year, the free game -- which focuses on a realistic portrayal of Army life, in and out of combat -- is pitched as offering players "a greater understanding of the Army and its values." That and shooting. Lots of shooting.

After some 25 different updates and iterations of the series, its development team seems confident tagging this one with the big Number Three. In addition to a visual overhaul (the game is being built on Unreal Engine 3), players will be able to cross-train in various specialties (such as field medicine and combat engineering) to give them added perks both before and during combat. While the Army states that the game -- or recruitment tool, depending on your take -- will let players experience how "the Army has influenced their lives" as virtual soldiers, there's no mention of whether it will tackle more controversial aspects, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. We're going out on a limb to predict a big "no" on that one.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.