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Detained ArmA 3 devs speak: "the conditions are tough"

"It is all a completely absurd misunderstanding."

Two ArmA 3 developers arrested last week on charges of espionage have spoken out from their Greek prison.

The duo, Martin Pezlar and Ivan Buchta, are being held in Mytilene - the capital of Greek island Lesbos.

"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," the pair wrote in a joint statement.

"We mainly think of you, our families; you have to stay calm and not to worry about us. We hope we will meet soon."

Both men deny the charges and argue they were on the island - which features in ArmA 3 - simply as tourists.

"Having travelled 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 are completely false and without substance," Bohemia Interactive spokesman Ota Vrtatko said.

"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.

"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.

"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."

There was no need for the pair to photograph military installations on Limnos, Vrtako added, as ArmA 3's fictional version will be very different.

"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 per cent of the real island, and it does not attempt to display any real world military installations situated on the island.

"To summarise the situation: They visited Lemnos on their holiday as tourists. They did not enter any military area. They did not take any pictures of any military objects to be used in Arma 3."

One ArmA 3 fan previously tried to warn the developers from taking photographs near military installations while on the trip.

A party of British planespotters were arrested in similar circumstances in 2001. The group were held for six months before being released on £9000 bail.

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Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.


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