Last week it was reported that two Czech game developers from Bohemia Interactive were arrested in Greece after being accused of espionage. It was rumored that the two employees — Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar — entered restricted military areas and were taking photographs and video in order to improve the visual fidelity of Arma 3, a PC game currently in development by Bohemia Interactive.
At the time, information was limited, but Bohemia maintained that the speculation was nothing but rumors and that the employees were visiting the island with "the sole purpose of experiencing the island's beautiful surroundings".
Upon further review of the case, and meeting personally with both of them, as well as their lawyer, Bohemia Interactive has released another statement assuring us that the espionage insinuations were, and are, "completely false and without substance."
"These employees – our friends, Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar – visited the island as tourists. Their holiday was a product of their interest in the island, triggered by their work on Arma 3 over the past two years of development," Bohemia Interactive said in a follow-up today.
"They took photographs and videos in public areas, as countless tourists arriving to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of Greece may well do. 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 company explained. "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."
They added: "We sincerely hope that the whole situation is no more than an unfortunate and deep misunderstanding. The in-game Limnos is close to completion, 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. 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."
Martin and Ivan are both currently being detained in Mytilene, but they were able relay a message to their friends and family.
"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 to worry about us. We hope we will meet soon."
So in short, Bohemia Interactive is saying these two visited Lemnos on their holiday as tourists; they didn't enter any military area; and they did not take any pictures of military objects for use in Arma 3.
We'll be sure to keep you updated on this story as it unfolds.