Time Detectives: An Immersive AR Historical Mystery App

On July 19th, 1545, King Henry VIII’s favorite ship sank during a skirmish with the French navy’s galley fleet. The ship was the Mary Rose and the circumstances around its sinking are still a mystery to this day. After being recovered from the depths of the Solent (a strait north of the Isle of Wight) in 1982, the ship is on display at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, United Kingdom.

477 years after the Mary Rose’s final voyage, Picture This Productions has made the ship come back to life with their augmented reality game, Time Detectives. Available to those both at home and at the Mary Rose Museum, Time Detectives immerses the player in the final day of the Mary Rose to discover the mystery of what caused the ship’s sinking. Those lucky enough to play at the museum will be treated to the sights and smells of 1545 as they explore different parts of the ship.

Whether at home or at the Mary Rose Museum, players are guided through the rules by a dog named Hatch. While he may seem like just a cute tour guide, Hatch has roots in the real history of the ship. Remains of a dog were found with the ship and the team at Picture This Productions decided they would honor the dog with a role in their game. Hatch is one of the many examples of the painstaking attention to detail found in the Time Detectives.

Time Detectives is an engrossing look at a world that’s long gone. Picture This Productions worked closely with the extremely knowledgeable conservationists at the Mary Rose Museum. Together, they’ve created an innovative way to travel through time and experience historical events. In many ways, Time Detectives feels very much like a historically accurate escape room. The immersive game opens new doors for historical education from the comfort of your own couch.

Charlotte Mikkelborg of Picture This Productions sat down with Music City Drive-In to talk about the production of Time Detectives, the future of Augmented Reality with historical sites, and which historical mystery she’d love to have solved.

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