The year was 2005, and World War 2 submarine simulators were dead. The much-anticipated Silent Hunter 2 had come out four years before, and not only did it look like it’d have a good influx of realism, graphics that (at the time) really looked like they were going to be phenominal, but it also did something brand new – the ability to link up multiplayer with Destroyer Command. For the first time, bubbleheads would be able to really show skimmers that really, they were only still afloat because a submarine hadn’t found them yet.
But the game barely worked on release, suffered from lack of a dynamic campaign (a staple of the genre for years) and any number of other issues. Years later, modding crews had fixed up everything they could – even creating a technically impressive series of missions to give the impression of a dynamic campaign, and bring back the “my ship, my story, my war” experience that people missed from Aces of the Deep and the original Silent Hunter.
And then Silent Hunter III came along. The franchise had been handed over to Ubisoft Romania, and what they did blew everybody out of the water. Not only was the realism much improved, but the interior of the control room was 3D-modelled, as were the crew, who sat at their stations and played with dials. Never before had being depth-charged been so vivid and terrifying in a video game.