Mafia modder spends 15 years filling the Titanic with mobsters

Mafia: Definitive Edition put in a lot of work to update the ageing 2002 crime story. But what it didn't do, and what it perhaps should've done, was add a fully-realised model of the H.M.S. Titanic for Tommy Angelo to explore.

Spotted by Eurogamer earlier today, modder Robin Bongaarts has actually been working on-and-off on the mod since 2006. Starting with the humble goal of adding the ship as a 3D model to Mafia's world, the discovery of better modelling tools like Sketchup and Cinema4D compelled Bongaarts to model the Titanic in its entirety. 

"Just before this mod started, there weren't any Titanic games out there that allowed you to freely roam around the ship," Bongaarts told Eurogamer. "Sure, there were Ship Simulators and Adventure Out of Time, but they all had their limitations in one way or another."

"When I found out about the 'moddability' of Mafia, I reckoned this would be a good place for me to attempt making my own virtual Titanic. Engines such as Unreal Engine and Unity were far less accessible to hobbyists back then as they are now. So, using an existing game like Mafia would make the whole thing a lot easier since I'd only have to model the boat and throw it in there. How hard can it be, really?"

The Titanic's restaurant

(Image credit: Hangar 13, modded by Robin Bongaarts)

While Bongaarts first expected the mod to take "about 3 months", the ballooning scope of the project has ultimately been to its improvement. There's now a core team of modders alongside dozens of volunteers, fleshing out the ship while adding new features like swimming and ladder-climbing to help get around. According to a May update image, the team has already brought a sizeable portion of the ship's passenger decks in-game.

Beyond just giving mafiosos a new environment to explore, Bongaarts has also scripted a new story that'll take the Titanic from its departure through to its eventual sinking, trapping you inside the rapidly-sinking vessel. All of this seems very early in production, mind—with the mod's first release planned to simply give you day/night options for exploring both the ship and the docks.

Part One of the mod was meant to release by the end of this month, though delays and testing have pushed it back a little. You can keep up with the mod's progress, and see more screenshots of the obsessively detailed ship, over on ModDB.

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.