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Kursk will tell the story of a tragic Russian naval disaster

A first-person adventure game set deep below the Barents Sea

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

On April 20, 2000, the Russian Navy’s nuclear submarine K-141 Kursk sank in the Barents Sea, killing all 118 sailors on board. Now, a game studio is attempting to tell that story in what they’re claiming will be the “first fully fledged adventure-documentary game in history.”

Kursk is being developed by Jujubee Studio. In a press release issued late last week, they released new screenshots as well as an updated feature set.

“We think that the time has come to tell true stories,” said Michał Stępień, chief executive officer at Jujubee. “It’s fascinating how much our industry has evolved over the last dozen or so years. Games are becoming more and more complex, they offer an incredible audiovisual experience and let us immerse ourselves in virtual reality, but we should expect something more from them. As developers, we realize how much time users spend with our products, but we often fail to remember the responsibility connected to it. We can make games something more than just exciting entertainment. Games can become a tool not unlike books or films.”

The story of the Kursk is all the more tragic because, as an official investigation revealed, at least 23 sailors survived the initial explosions that crippled the vessel. Over four days, the Russian navy attempted to rescue the men but was unable to do do so.

In the game, players will take the role of a spy attempting to gain information about the ship’s unique torpedo technology. Kursk will be played from a first-person perspective, and the developers intend to fully model the interior of the ship. There are also plans for a virtual reality version of the game, designed for “next-generation devices” with resolutions of 4K or more. It’s scheduled to release this year on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as Mac and Windows PC.

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