Creative Director Ivan Buchta, 28, and Environment Designer Martin Pezlar, 33, were arrested on the Greek island of Limnos after authorities found a camcorder and camera containing footage of camps and military facilities on the island.
“We have a statement from the Greek police,” Czech Foreign Ministry Spokesman Vit Kolar told The Escapist, “saying they were taking pictures and video footage of military facilities on the island on which they were detained, and that they entered the military facilities despite warning.”
Buchta and Pezlar were working on Arma 3, the upcoming game in Bohemia Interactive’s series of tactical military shooters. Arma 3, set to release in 2013, takes place on a fictional Limnos in the year 2035, according to a statement from the developer.
“The in-game Limnos is close to completion, and it’s far from an identical replication of the real place,” the statement reads. “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.”
The company claims Buchta and Pezlar were not paid to visit the island for research, but were visiting 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.”
“Our company has never gathered or collected any restricted information, such as photos or blueprints of military installations of any nation,” wrote Bohemia Interactive CEO Marek Spanel on the company’s forums, “nor have we ever tasked anybody else to do it on our behalf.” “We always respect the law and we develop all of our products using publicly available materials only – Arma 3 is no exception.”
Buchta and Pezlar released a statement directed 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.”
In 2010, Bohemia Interactive sent Art Producer David Zapletal, and Lead Artist Pavel Guglava to research Limnos for Arma 3, according to a post on the company’s website. The men collected photos and video footage of the island to be used a basis for the in-game location. “We try to avoid diverting too much from reality (still, our Limnos will not be an exact copy for many reasons), and to capture the unique atmosphere of this great place,” the post reads.
A petition for Buchta and Pezlar’s release, started by a group of passionate Arma community members, is available at www.helpivanmartin.org. As of this writing, a total of 9,325 people support the men’s release.