Makers of the 9/11 virtual reality app explain why they made the controversial game

There’s a new virtual reality app that lets you experience the events of 9/11 from the perspective of an office worker in the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Anthony Krafft, the creative director on the project, told Tech Insider via email that this game — called “08:46,” as a reference to the exact time American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower — was produced “as a tribute to the victims of our generation-shaping experience.”

“In the team, we are all in our twenties,” Krafft told us. “And 9/11, on a global scale, changed as much our social interactions as our geopolitical context.”

Krafft explained that “08:46” is a student project for the French school ENJMIN and not a commercial game. He said the team wanted to approach the historical events from an individual nature, to “remind that 9/11 was, for the victims, first and foremost a workday like every other workday.”

“We worked with a lot of references, from an interview with a survivor to plans of the floors or journalistic works such as ‘102 minutes‘ to be precise about the events and the human dynamics in the towers,” Krafft said.

Krafft described the game’s bleak ending:

As in real life, you can’t witness the first crash as you are on the south side of the North Tower and the plane hit the north side. You can witness the second crash on the South Tower later. [But] being on the 101st floor, you can’t escape the building (all stairs are blocked). It ends either with a slow fade to black representing suffocation or by the jump of the player.

Those are some pretty powerful visuals for such a sensitive issue, which might explain why Krafft has said he’s already received some negative feedback for his app. That said, Krafft believes his team created a “genuine” approach to the topic of 9/11.

“It was essential to us to be accurate, as we could never be obscene or sensationalist out of respect for the victims,” he said.

If you own an Oculus Rift DK2 headset or later, you can try the experience for yourself. But if you want an idea of what “08:46” is like, you can watch a full walkthrough of the experience here. (Be warned, though: you might find the content of this experience highly disturbing.)

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