Two Bohemia Interactive developers arrested on espionage charges have finally been granted bail after spending 128 days locked up in a Greek prison.
Czech media reports that Ivan Buchta and Martin Pezlar were released yesterday after Greek PM Antonis Samaras made the call to Czech government officials.
The pair were initially held on espionage charges after Greek authorities reportedly found them in restricted areas of the Greek island of Lemnos filming military locations.
However, the pair have maintained their innocence throughout the ordeal, stating that they were not found in prohibited locations on the island, and that they were filming and recording locations for use within the upcoming release of ArmA 3 – none of which, were military installations.
Upon hearing word of the release, Dean Hall, creator of ArmA mod DayZ – which has thrust the franchise into notoriety – has spoken of his relief of the pair’s safe return.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Hall said: "It’s really fantastic news, [I’ve] only just found out so I’m still in a little bit of shock. It is a huge relief, both personally and professionally."
"Without Ivan, DayZ never would have come out; he was the guy that pushed for me to be bought over from New Zealand to work on ArmA 3, which is where I learned some of the engine interior I needed to make DayZ a success. He was the guy who was at the airport to meet me when I arrived, always smiling always cheerful. He was the guy who came to pick me up at the airport when the ‘weight’ of the success of DayZ had hit me while I was at E3.
Greek authorities set bail for the pair at €5000 each and both Buchta and Pezlar will have to return to the country in order to face the charges at a trial, which is set for later this year.
As a result of the pair’s arrest, the upcoming release of ArmA 3 and standalone edition of DayZ have faced severe delays.
"On a professional standpoint, it has been very hard to redevelop the Chernarus map for DayZ‘s purposes," said Hall. "Ivan was the architect on this and Martin was his right hand man, so with these two gone… It has been very difficult to revise this map when they were the heart and soul of it."
"It has been very hard trying to liaise with Ivan, who has been extremely keen to be involved with the map despite being in prison. But it is really hard for me to think about the professional positives at the moment, because we’re all just so happy he can back with his family and friends.
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