UPDATED: ArmA Devs Arrested on Spying Charges While Researching for New Game
Bohemia Interactive’s CEO, Marek Spanel, sent out a press release regarding the arrests, claiming that the two employees were, in fact, only sight-seeing:
“We can confirm that two Bohemia Interactive employees, our colleagues and friends, were arrested during their holiday trip to Lemnos. They visited the island with the sole purpose of experiencing the island’s beautiful surroundings.
Since its establishment in 1999, Bohemia Interactive has created games based only upon publicly available information. We always respect the law and we’ve never instructed anybody to violate the laws of any country. The same is true for Arma 3.
Currently, all our effort goes towards supporting the guys over there, as well as their friends and families affected by this difficult situation. We sincerely hope that this is an unfortunate misunderstanding of their passion as artists and creators of virtual worlds.”
Meanwhile, an update on the original Eurogamer article says that one user of the Bohemia Interactive forums had warned the company against investigating Lemnos’s military base, citing concerns of respect and security:
“It is illegal to take photographs of this base, yet the ArmA development team are creating a 3D model of the base, most likely based on photos which they took illegally (as well as the satellite photos which aren’t illegal).
Had this been an American base, or any other country with a large population of whom may purchase ArmA 3, it is likely that such an act would not have been performed due to the risk of the country banning the game from being sold there. Hence, I find it disrespectful to do so. At the very least, the ArmA team should modify the base so that it is not an accurate representation of the existing base.”
Of course, if the two employees were, in fact, only there to take in the sights as Mr. Spanel claims, then hopefully this should be resolved right away. Either way, we’ll have updates as they come in.
A post on Eurogamer this morning offers up some interesting yet troubling news: two employees of Bohemia Interactive, the developer of the ArmA series of military shooters, have been arrested by the Greek government for allegations of spying.
The post says that the two Czechs were taking photos of a military installation on the island of Lemnos, a location that’s been confirmed as set to appear in the forthcoming ArmA 3 game. The pair had taken photos and video footage of the base, leading the Greek authorities to arrest them on spying charges. At the moment, there isn’t much information other than that, though the head of Bohemia Interactive, Marek Spanel, asked commenters on the company’s forum to cease discussing the situation until more can be learned:
“We prefer this topic not to be discussed on our forums at the moment, at least until we know more specific details about the case so I am going to close this topic and our moderators are going to close any related discussion here, thank you for understanding.”
We’ll update this story as more unfolds. Hopefully the two Bohemia employees will be released and have the charges dropped, since it’s pretty likely that this is all a big misunderstanding.