Posted on September 11, 2012, Ross Lincoln ArmA 3 Devs Accused Of Espionage In Greece
Ben Affleck upcoming film, Argo, is about the true story of how the CIA managed to help some American diplomatic workers escape from Iran after the 1979 revolution, by pretending to make a science fiction film called Argo for which, so they claimed, the Americans were claimed to be Canadian film industry vets. It actually worked, the movie is supposedly great, and best of all, I have the perfect idea for a sequel. Call it Argo 2: Arma, and have it be about the wacky hijinks that ensue when two Czech game developers on a research trip in Greece are mistaken for spies, and face up to 20 years in jail for espionage.
Yeah, something really dumb is happening in Greece. This week, two Bohemia Interactive developers – no names, but confirmed by Bohemia as being ages 33 and 28 – have been arrested in Greece after taking photos of a Greek military installation on the island of Lemnos, as part of the research for ArmA 3.
ArmA 3 has been confirmed to be set on the island, which explains the trip, but now we come to the dumb part. Not the arrest of course: Taking photos of military installations is a big no no all over the world. No, what’s dumb is that these guys thought doing so in Greece would work out for them. Especially after an impassioned Greek ArmA fan strongly advised them otherwise. While the thread discussing this matter has been shut down, a Google cache version exists of the advice given by a player calling himself Cyplon that should have been heeded to the letter:
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.
All of that is cogent, but I just want to add that I cannot believe the team at Bohemia Interactive actually thought taking a photo of a military base would be allowed. ON the other hand, the questions of what, precisely, they were taking photos of remains unknown. Bohemia claims they weren’t looking for anything that isn’t already publicly available, and that the local mayor has it in for them. We’ll see what happens: the two developers are currently being held on the island of Lesbos, presumably making all sorts of snickering jokes.