Watching an animated ship slowly sink over the course of 2 hours and 40 minutes might sound like a terrible waste of time, but when you consider that the ship is the Titanic and that the animation is aligned with how events historically unfolded in real time, it's surprisingly riveting. (After all, the animation is still shorter than the James Cameron movie.)
The video starts with the iceberg strike and continues with second-by-second detail of what the ship experienced as it slowly dipped beneath the North Atlantic on that fateful night in April of 1912. Many of the key particulars of the sinking are highlighted with titles as the video plays out. You can watch as lifeboats are lowered, each listed with the number of passengers boarded.
Marked events include when certain officers fired gunshots to try to organize the panicked passengers, or even when the on-board orchestra played, stopped and began playing again as the ship flooded. Almost every angle of the ship is covered, as the viewer even travels inside the ship to witness when particular compartments flooded. The moment that the waters overcome the ship's grand staircase are especially compelling.
When you can start to discern the floodwaters rising in real time, the animation really starts to feel visceral. You might even imagine yourself on the deck, scrambling for a lifeboat. The re-creation doesn't actually show any people. That aspect is left entirely to the imagination, perhaps to reinforce the ghostly quality of the historical event.
The production was put together as part of a promotion for an upcoming game called "Titanic: Glory and Honor," where a player will be allowed to sail aboard the Titanic, experience the world of 1912, interact with passengers and crew, see the ship from all angles, and explore every deck and room of the ship. Naturally, as the game comes to its end, a player will also experience the real-time sinking of the ship that is presented in this video, though presumably in a more interactive sense.
The game promises perfect historical accuracy, or at least as perfect as is possible. They have recreated the entire ship in virtual reality in every excruciating detail, from the masts to the keel, and from the grand staircases to the boiler rooms. Game developers even promise that the linen closets and bathrooms will be included. No fantastical plot twists will be included in the game play — game events will follow what is known from historical records only.
The speed with which the massive ship finally cracks and sinks into the sea at the end is sure to leave you with a sense of terror, like what passengers must have experienced on that doomed evening.
If you're intrigued by the animation and the prospects for the game, you can donate to aid in its development at the website. Currently, only a very early demo is available for gameplay.