An argument over the design of a tank in War Thunder lead to the leaking of classified military documents.
As reported by Kotaku, the argument stems from a forum user named Fear_Naught who believes the developers of War Thunder, Gaijin Entertainment, missed the mark when designing the game’s Challenger 2 tank.
They then used classified documents from the official Army Equipment Support Publication to “support their claim.”
“As I’ve stated a fair few times now, the complexity of the construction is sometimes difficult to see/show with pictures,” Fear_Naught said on a War Thunder forum, according to Kotaku. “It is so complex in [the Challenger 2’s] case that I don’t completely blame Gaijin from getting it incorrect. All I try to do is point out the areas where they are incorrect.”
Fear_Naught, who Kotaku says is believed to be a “commander in the Royal Tank Regiment of the United Kingdom,” uploaded altered screenshots of official Army Equipment Support Publication (AESP) documents for the Challenger 2 tank.
Fear_Naught was using these images to provide evidence of where Gaijin Entertainment went wrong in War Thunder’s Challenger 2 design, but these images were eventually removed by Gaijin Entertainment due to their classified nature.
“We have written confirmation from [the Ministry of Defence] that this document remains classified,” a Gaijin Entertainment senior technical moderator named Templar said on the forum. “By continuing to disseminate it, you are in violation of the Official Secrets Act as stated by the warning on the cover of the document, an offence which can carry up to a 14-year prison sentence if prosecuted.”
“Of this you are already aware, as a service person you have signed a declaration that you understand the act and what actions it compels you to take,” Templar continues. “Every time you post this, you place us (international representatives of Gaijin), especially any UK citizens, in hot water as the warning so helpfully states that unauthorized retention of a protected document is an offense.”
Gaijin Entertainment community manager, Scott “Smin1080p” Maynard also said the studio will not make any changes to the Challenger 2 tank in War Thunder, as the studio doesn’t base development off “invalid source material.”
“Before any discussion, handling, or bug reports are even made, proof of a document’s declassification will be required as well as where it was sourced from,” Maynard said. “We make it very clear that we will not handle any source material unless it is publicly available and fully declassified with the rights to prove that.”
Fear_Naught received a warning, according to Kotaku, and the thread with classified documents has been closed.
Wesley LeBlanc is a freelance news writer and guide maker for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @LeBlancWes.