The unexplained demise of real-world Russian submarine K-141 Kursk on August 12, 2000, when an explosion aboard the vessel led to the deaths of all 118 crew members, is becoming popular subject matter in adventure games. Following the 2015 release of Undercover Missions: Operation Kursk K-141, now comes news of the “first adventure-documentary video game” in the form of the simply-titled KURSK, by Polish studio Jujubee, scheduled for release later this year.
Officially ruled an accident, rumors of conspiracy and accusations of a cover-up by the Russian government have continued to swirl around the tragedy for almost two decades. KURSK casts players as a spy hunting for information regarding the experimental Shkval “supercavitating” torpedoes, which were in development at the time of the disaster. While details of what this means for gameplay are still somewhat vague, players will have the “opportunity to feel like a member of a submarine crew,” and will also “be able to influence the story through their choices, including moral ones.” Decisions made throughout KURSK “will have a significant impact on the ending of the game, and there’ll be several” such possible outcomes.
With the aim of establishing “realism and immersion” as core aspects of the experience, the developers plan to use the game to introduce players to “Russian culture and the realities of the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries.” Presented in 3D and played from a first-person perspective, the game will, of course, take place on the eponymous vessel, but also branch out with visits to Moscow and the “garrison town of Vidyayevo” to round out the experience. As for what tasks players can expect to face, Jujubee claims that, rather than deciding on gameplay mechanics and then fitting the game to suit them, they have taken the “opposite approach” to gameplay design.
Notably, in addition to unveiling the main game, the developers are already planning two expansions for release after KURSK is launched. The first will be standalone DLC inspired by the “true story of the uprising in the Kengir labor camp” in 1954 and the “escape of one of the prisoners,” while the second will bring 4K VR support to the game.
If all goes well, we can expect KURSK to arrive sometime later this year on a variety of platforms, including Windows, Mac and Linux as well as PS4 and Xbox One. Those interested in learning more can find additional information at the game’s official website.