ArmA development studio Bohemia Interactive confirmed earlier that two of its staff members were indeed arrested on suspicion of espionage. Yeah, you read that right. Two Czech devs, aged 28 and 33, have been detained by Greek authorities and accused by spying.
The two were taking photos of a military installation on Lemnos Island, which is due to appear in ArmA III, and authorities discovered that they had been photographing and videotaping military camps. The obvious explanation is that they were using the material in ArmA III (above).
News of their arrest was confirmed by Bohemia boss Marek Spanel, who posted on the official forums: "This is true. 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."
Sad to say, their arrest should not come as a huge surprise. Greek gamer and ArmA fan "Cyplon" posted on Bohemia Interactive's forums back on August 1 warning the developer that photographing the Lemnos base is illegal. Here is his full post, in which he also protests the facility's appearance in ArmA. It's lengthy, but the guy makes some pretty valid points:
"On the island of Limnos is a military air base. 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.
"All this time the ArmA series has been based on fictional locations, but now have chosen to create a game on a real location. Of all locations in the World, Limnos - one of the only islands in the Aegean with a military air base, is being replicated, regardless of the tensions between Greece and Turkey which are ongoing (you don't hear it on the news unless you are from Greece or Turkey). Great choice for a first location!
"This is equivalent to creating an ArmA game replicating the Gaza strip, which would very likely anger Israel. I'm sure some of you may argue that if it were this easy for the developers to obtain such details of the base then it would be of no difficulty for Turkey. True, I doubt that the base has anything top secret anyway. However, you aren't just providing a 3D model, but also a matured military simulator from which Turkey may practice infiltrations of the base. It is like the development team modelling the inside of your house. I'm sure you would feel threatened if this were to happen to you. Indeed, on the bright side the Greek military can practice defensive tactics, but that can be done in real life anyway."
Here's hoping Bohemia and the Greek authorities can work this out, and that, you know, the developers aren't actually spies.