As you likely are aware, five people are currently missing onboard a tourist sub that was heading down to the remains of the HMS Titanic. We don’t yet know what went wrong and if those onboard are still alive—it seems unlikely at this point—but a large-scale search for the Titan and its crew is still underway. Meanwhile, a little horror game on Steam is blowing up thanks to its eerie similarity to the real-life situation.
The idea of being trapped—completely locked into a small submarine—and sent deep into the depths of the ocean, doomed to never return, is a nightmarish scenario that no one wants to experience. So it made sense to use that setup for a 2022 horror video game, Iron Lung. But then a few people got into a probably-not-safe submersible, bolted the door shut, and recreated that nightmare in real life. And not surprisingly, as the search for the sub continues, onlookers morbidly curious about the whole horrible situation have begun buying and playing Iron Lung, leading to a spike in its sales on Steam. Its creator behind the game isn’t quite sure what to make of it all.
On June 21, as the world became more and more aware of the missing Titan submersible, Iron Lung creator David Szymanski tweeted an image showing a large spike in sales for the small horror game.
Was Iron Lung inspired by the missing Titanic submarine?
And over the last day or so, Szymanski has replied to folks asking questions about the game and how oddly similar it is to the Titan sub. For example, in the game, the player takes on the role of a convict who is locked into a submarine and sent on a mission to find something in a creepy blood ocean. Sure, that last bit—the creepy blood ocean—isn’t part of the Titan story. But the nightmarish part about the people inside being literally bolted inside the sub with no way out is actually true.
When asked online if this part of Iron Lung was inspired by the Titan or similar submersibles, Szymanski said no, explaining: “I thought it was just really fucked up lol”
Others asked him if the overall story of Iron Lung—a man trapped in a tiny sub, doomed to die with no hope for escape or rescue—was based on an actual scenario or a worst-case situation for a sub like the Titan. And again, the creator explained, that wasn’t the case.
“Naw, I just made up a scenario involving a sub that was as nightmarish as I could dream up,” tweeted Szymanski.
While Szymanski admits that many of the jokes about the situation have been “hilarious” he also added that “nobody should have to die like that.”
“I definitely see the dark humor in this whole Titanic sub thing,” he tweeted. “It’s just… like, I made Iron Lung the most nightmarish thing I could think of, and knowing real people are in that situation right now is pretty horrific, even if it was their own bad decisions.”
Kotaku reached out to Szymanski for comment.
Also, if you were wondering, Iron Lung does indeed have controller support. It was added in March, a few months before the Titan submersible and its infamous Logitech controller went missing somewhere deep in the ocean near the Titanic.
And when asked if all of this real-life horror and tragedy will affect how Szymanski feels about Iron Lung or the upcoming film based on the game, he simply answered, “Not sure tbh.”