Arma3 developer Bohemia Interactive sent over a rather lengthy explanation regarding two of its employees currently being detained in Greece. The studio claims that rumors of espionage are completely false, that the situation is "unfortunate" and a "deep misunderstanding." Even the detainees, Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar, are calling their arrest "completely absurd."
Last Sunday, the two Bohemia Interactive developers were arrested on the Greek island of Lemnos for photographing and filming a local military base. The two were reportedly in the area researching locations for Arma 3 which will take place on that specific island. However reports claimed that the two were being accused of espionage, and could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.
"It's been rumored that they entered restricted military areas or gathered photographic references of military bases in order to improve the visual fidelity of Arma 3, a PC game currently under development by our company," Bohemia Interactive said on Monday. "Far in advance of any formal charges - only hours after they were detained by the local police - many media outlets immediately suggested spying and, only one day later, specifically referenced Arma 3."
According to the studio, Buchta and Pezlar were visiting Lemnos on their vacation as tourists, not as game developers. Their holiday was a product of an interest in the island, triggered by work done on Arma 3 over the past two years of development. They did not enter any military areas, sand they did not take pictures of any military objects to be used in Arma 3... at least, that's what Bohemia claims.
"They took photographs and videos in public areas, as countless tourists arriving to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of Greece may well do," the studio said. "These included a short video as they drove through the main road passing around the international airport, where in one short part of the video off in the distance some hangars and other buildings of the complex can be seen. It's very likely that many tourists may have pictures similar to those taken by Ivan and Martin in their own family albums, without being aware that they put themselves or their families at risk."
The actual in-game Limnos is close to completion, the studio added, and it's far from an identical replication of the real place. "It was heavily modified to fit the game's backstory, a purely fictional 2035 setting," the studio added. "It was rescaled to only 75% of the real island, and it does not attempt to display any real world military installations situated on the island of Lemnos."
Currently the two developers are being detained in Mytilene. "The conditions are tough, but the people we meet treat us fairly and correctly," they said in a message to friends and family. "It is all a completely absurd misunderstanding that will certainly be quickly explained. We mainly think of you, our families; you have to stay calm and not to worry about us. We hope we will meet soon."
Bohemia said that any form of support for its imprisoned colleagues and friends will be more than welcome. "Having traveled there, and after meeting personally with them both, as well as their lawyer who is fully acquainted with the Greek authority's investigation file in detail, we can assure you that these insinuations [of espionage] are completely false and without substance." the studio said.