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"Conditions Are Tough" For Game Dev "Spies"

| 17 Sep 2012 17:25
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The Arma 3 developers arrested for spying in Greece say they're being treated "fairly and correctly," and don't want their families to worry.

The Bohemia Interactive employees who were arrested last week for espionage in Greece remain in custody, but in an update released today the studio said it remains hopeful that the situation can be resolved as just "an unfortunate and deep misunderstanding." The duo, Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar, were arrested after a search of their camera and camcorder revealed images of military installations on the Greek island of Lemnos; they claimed that they were researching the island for the upcoming military shooter Arma 3, which includes among its locales a fictionalized version of the island.

In a statement released today, Bohemia Interactive reiterated that the claims of espionage are "completely false and without substance." The developers were on the island as tourists, inspired to visit it by their work on Arma 3, and as many people do, took photos and videos in public areas.

"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," the studio said. "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 studio also reiterated that the in-game version of the island, renamed (very slightly) to Limnos, is almost complete and "far from an identical recreation of the real place." It's been heavily modified to fit the game's 2035 plot and "does not attempt to display any real world military installations" on the island.

The detained developers passed on a message saying, "The conditions are tough, but the people we meet treat us fairly and correctly. 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 worry about us. We hope we will meet soon."

Bohemia Interactive apologized for not being able to provide more information, but also invited members of the Arma/Operation Flashpoint community and anyone else who wants to join in to show their support for the imprisoned pair at helpivanmartin.org. A Twitter feed is up as well at @HelpIvanMartin.

"Ivan and Martin are no spies, but passionate community members, dedicated to the game and its experience for the player. Many of us have witnessed Ivan talking in interviews passionately about the progress of Arma 3 and all the new features, also developed by Martin," the site says says. "It's time to show our support, not only as a community, but as players and concerned citizens, for two developers, who now face a lifetime in prison for an unfortunate misunderstanding."

Source: Bohemia Interactive

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