Indie dev Four Funnels Entertainment is bringing the RMS Titanic to life in a first person, adventure mystery game that deserves to be on your radar. Titled Titanic: Honour and Glory, the scope of the team’s ambition is epic, and involves nothing less than the re-creation of a near-perfect, fully-explorable replica of the doomed vessel. Four Funnels was nice enough to provide a number of as yet unreleased in-game images that showcase the amazing attention to detail.
An IndieGoGo campaign recently concluded, and Four Funnels managed to reach their funding goal of $20,000, but this only gets them through phase 2 of a 5 phase development plan. Contributions are still being accepted at their website - http://www.titanichg.com/, but another round funding is planned to raise the additional $60k-$80k needed to fully fund development. The current estimated release date is 2017.
FOR HISTORY BUFFS and TITANIC ENTHUSIASTS – JOIN THE PODCAST in Honor of the 102nd Anniversary of the Sinking of the RMS Titanic – 4/14/14, 10:30pm EST. If you‘d like more information, go to - http://titanic-honor-and-glory.tumblr.com/
JA Talks with Tom Lynskey, Project Manager at Four Funnels
Q. Hi Tom, thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions. You’ve stated that Titanic: Honour and Glory will be a mystery adventure game. Can you talk about some of the gameplay ideas Four Funnels is planning? For instance, will the game include puzzles?
This is the first video game we have made, so we are using that to our advantage to develop our own style of gameplay that will be unique to gaming. It is indeed a mystery game, and will involve various puzzles of different kinds. I've played through a number of puzzle games, and realize how tedious those can be at times, so we are doing all we can to make sure the puzzles in the game stay exciting and realistic. The game is going to be designed to simulate real-life on board the ship, requiring the player to go through a combination of what real life passengers would have to, and gathering fictional clues to solve his mystery. The puzzles aren't being used as an excuse to add additional gameplay, but instead being used as a method of gathering necessary clues and getting through difficult story elements.
As for the gameplay, there is a unique approach that I'm implementing into the game. We have to bear in mind that many of the players will be likely playing this game eagerly awaiting the sinking, with very little interest in any of the story before the collision. However, on the other hand, there will be many people who want to see the voyage, experience the history, and really take their time to get into the story. With this in mind, I am designing the story line so that those who want to rush through to the sinking will be able to do so, and only go through the bare minimum of a plot line, while others who want to dive deeper into the game can explore and open up several additional subplots or dynamic side stories. Because the player can chose how deep they wish to go, it also allows for different experiences each time someone plays through it. In addition, some of the clues the player needs to find have more than one way to uncover them. This, of course, is all describing the voyage. The sinking is a different story..
At 11:40 PM on April 4th- 4 days into the voyage, Titanic is given 37 seconds to avoid an iceberg dead in its path. Of course, we all know what happened- a gash is ripped in the side of the ship, tearing open several of Titanic's watertight compartments - compartments designed to contain any damage brought to the ship. However, the damage is too great, and within 30 minutes of the collision, the designer and the captain declare the ship doomed.
The player is awake at the time of the collision, and experiences the sinking in real time. What the player choose to do from this moment on will change the character's life- or end it. The player can choose to follow the crew or passengers around and watch the historical disaster unfold with as much authenticity as we can include, or follow the main plot and put a cap on the mystery. Any mistakes made could completely ruin all progress made during the voyage, or solve it all. There is a lot at stake during the sinking. The player is also given options of following different subplots during the sinking. Ultimately, they would void out the main plot, but are well worth the experience during replays. One of these side-plots includes the ability to join the engineers and stokers in the bottom of the ship, who volunteered to stay below and fight the hopeless battle of holding back the flooding long enough to evacuate the upper decks. Finally, the player is also free to just wander around and watch the ship slowly destroy itself.
The Titanic sank in 2 hours and 40 minutes, in 32 degree F water (-2 C), 700 miles from the nearest land. The feeling of isolation and dread that Titanic's real passengers and crew will really be made clear to the player as well, as the final level of the game slowly becomes smaller and smaller.
Q. Its apparent that a big limiting constraint to getting the game out is funding. Given the large number of Titanic enthusiasts, have you considered getting funding directly, say from someone like a James Cameron?
It is true that the funding of this game is our largest restraint. We did an Indiegogo fund raising campaign about a year ago where we successfully raised enough money to complete phase 2, which was $20,000. Despite this, we still paid for several expenses, some of them rather large, out of our own pockets, and we are gearing up for the fund raising campaign of phase 3. Phase 3 is the biggest phase, and our goal will likely be between $100,000 and $150,000. This will likely be towards the end of summer. We get a few smaller donations every now and then, as we have donation buttons on our website, which are very appreciated and helpful, but not enough to help us cut down the target goal of our next campaign
There are a number of Titanic fans out there with large pockets, from James Cameron to Clive Palmer (Blue Star Line's Titanic II). Many of our consultants for the game were consultants for both of them at times, and good friends with them. The main problem is just how busy Cameron, or Palmer, or others like them are. If they were to catch notice of us and send us some funding, that would certainly give us a massive boost- even just in publicity. We'd really like to remain independent though, and while they would certainly get a lot of thanks, and be involved in various ways, we'd really prefer not to have the game change directions from where it is currently going, if someone with a big name were to give us funding directly.
Q. Many recent adventure titles have decided on releasing episodes. Given that Titanic: Honour and Glory is going to have at least 3 distinct phases – Southhampton, Titanic before iceberg, Titanic after iceberg, and even perhaps Titanic after it sinks – have you considered releasing the title as episodes?
Southampton is a part of the game that hasn't received much attention yet. We don't have a lot to show for it at the moment, but will soon. Let me just take this moment to go into some detail about it.
Titanic had a crew of nearly 900 people. 600 of them came from Southampton, England. Over 500 of them didn't survive the sinking.
Southampton is definitely considered to be a big intro to the game. We are recreating a large area of the city, using extensive references and thousands of images from before WWII showing how the town appeared in 1912. Unfortunately, WWII wasn't all that kind to that city, so much of the area we are building doesn't exist any more, but this game is allowing us to piece the puzzle together and build a fully explorable section of the town. Hopefully some will appreciate this aspect as much as others appreciate the ship's authenticity. They are getting nearly the same amount of attention and effort in recreating it accurately. Many of the interiors are going to be explorable, too, and available in the game's tour mode, where the player can also learn about some of the Titanic personalities who lived in the area we are recreating.
We have a couple modelers working on Southampton; one of our crew from Washington state named Hunter is building the private homes and smaller hotels, while one of our guys in Canada is working on the detailed buildings- currently the South Western House on the corner of Canute and Terminus terrace. We have a new team member joining, and he'll be working on the docks, too. I've been working gathering the research and references for these areas.
While Southampton and everything pre-Titanic is large in size, it isn't significant enough to be its own stand-alone episode of the game. We're also keeping in mind that because the Titanic's sinking is the most significant thing about the ship, packaging anything apart from the sinking isn't going to hold up compared to having it all in one game.
Q. The 102nd Anniversary is on 4/15/14. The team at Four Funnels will be hosting a podcast in celebration on 4/14/14 at 10:30pm EST. Can you provide some more information for people who might want to participate?
Titanic struck the iceberg at 11:40 at night, and sank in the very early hours of the 15th. This is approximately 9:40 Eastern Standard Time, which is where the podcast will be hosted. We'll be beginning our broadcast at 10:00 PM EST, and go through to approximately 1:00 AM EST. The podcast will be mostly focusing on the story of the Titanic and talking about it with a real-time kind of sense, as the ship went down. We'll gauge how well we do on this and how many listeners we get, and if it goes well, we'll do this on a more regular basis, and our subsequent podcasts will discuss game details and updates. We don't plan to always have them be 3 hours though- this is just for the anniversary.
The URL for this broadcast will be http://www.TitanicHG.com/podcasts/ . We also will be offering an exclusive offer during the broadcast that anyone who donates $400 or more will actual have their likeness modeled into the game. This is a perk we will have available later as well, but not for this low amount.
About the Game
The game’s backstory sets you as Owen Robert Morgan, a young American student who has been framed for a series of crime, and who must board the Titanic to clear his name.
The game is being developed with Unreal Engine 4, and the folks at Four Funnels are exploring the possibility of multi-player and Oculus Rift support.
For more information, check out - http://www.titanichg.com/faq/
2 Play Modes
The game will include a campaign mode and a free roam mode. In free roam, the player will have full access to every nook and cranny of the ship, while in campaign mode, the player’s access to different areas of the ship will be restricted in a historically accurate manner until the ship’s social order collapses during the sinking. For example, a third-class passenger would have limited access to first-class sections of the ship, but this changes as Titanic begins to go down.
In both play modes the ship will meet its infamous end, and the player will experience the sinking of the ship with accurate physics – this means as the ships begins to list, items not bolted down will be affected by gravity.
And yes, you will be able to steer the Titanic, at least in free roam mode.
Some Final Thoughts
The tragic story of the RMS Titanic is timeless, and while 9 motion pictures have been made centered on the ship, the last Titanic game was the point-and-click adventure Titanic: Adventure Out of Time released way back in 1996. It’s exciting to see a modern take of Titanic in development, and the team at Four Funnels should be commended. Unfortunately, having to wait another 3 years to play Titanic: Honour and Glory is like watching an iceberg melt, so help spread the word!