Girls und Panzer, a popular anime series about young girls participating in the art of “tankery,” will have a collaboration with World of Tanks, a online multiplayer game developed by Belarusian company Wargaming.net, to promote the Japanese release of the game next month. Famitsu talked to Wargaming Japan’s marketing director Hideyo Ikeda about the upcoming release and collaboration.
World of Tanks is an online multiplayer action game that features fighting vehicles from World War II that boasts over 65 million players, making it the most played free-to-play multiplayer game in the world. In addition to the recently revealed Xbox 360 version of the game, World of Tanks will commence service in Japan this September.
Famitsu asks whether World of Tanks has what it takes to compete in the competitive battlefield that is the Japanese gaming market.
“Of course! The office staff in Japan are full of those with ambition and administration experience for PC online games,” answered Ikeda. “They understand how difficult it will be to have a PC online game succeed in the nation. However, they also understand that it is a game that is played by 65 million people around the world, and are confident in its quality. We have big expectations that the Japanese gamers will accept the game. By the way, World of Tanks has beaten two Guinness World Records of having the most players online simultaneously on a single server, which still hasn’t been broken since.”
World of Tanks is largely successful due to being a quality game, but also because it runs on a free-to-play model. Famitsu asks for the marketing director to touch up on the subject.
“Yes, and also, our company has been raising a concept known as ‘free-to-win,’ which means that you can get stronger in World of Tanks without ever paying a dime.” explains Ikeda. “I believe that if we can administer such a concept, it will be well evaluated.”
He continues, “Another thing, it’s a game that is mainly for PC, but one of the big points is that it doesn’t demand a very high spec. You can enjoy it just fine using a computer that is for the family, and the graphics will still be top-notch. On top of that, since tanks are the main motif of the game, comparative reflexes won’t be an issue, and I believe it’s a reason that will allow more people to enjoy it. ‘Free-to-win,’ ‘high-spec computers not required,’ and ‘you don’t need the best reflexes’ are some of the words we go by, but the game actually has plenty of depth.”
Since World of Tanks’ domestic release has been announced in Japan, one of the biggest news that got plenty attention is about its unexpected collaboration with the anime, Girls und Panzer.
“Yes, the head office recognizes that each country have their own culture, so when it comes to promotional development, all the local corporations are entrusted with plenty of freedom.” says Ikeda. “For example, the TV commercials in Europe have more of a serious touch, but in Asia there are many comedic talents that make them into comical commercials.”
Ikeda continues to explain that the headquarters in Belarus acknowledge that they can’t possibly know more about one country than those who live in it, so they allow each country to take care of their own side of things when it comes to marketing.
“On that note, they have some incredible policies when it comes to the game’s content.” says Ikeda. “For example, the stage of World of Tanks is set in World War II, and the game consists of only things that existed during the era. Coca Cola was around in those days, so it’s OK, but Pepsi Cola wasn’t so it’s not good. They have very strict rules.”
To sum it up, while the game’s content is very strict and realistic, Wargaming.net are very lenient when it comes to the localization marketing around the world. This is what allowed Wargaming Japan to include Girls und Panzer into the mix.
“In regards to Japan, with the help of Bandai Visual, the collaboration with ‘Girls und Panzer’ has been confirmed.” states Ikeda. “Currently, there are over 20,000 people in Japan who play World of Tanks, and a good amount of those players are fans of Girls und Panzer. Many people in Japan have found a charm in tanks thanks to Girls und Panzer, after all.”
Continues Ikeda, “Due to the facts mentioned earlier, we can’t have Girls und Panzer appear in the game or anything like that, but we’re actually going to Tokyo Game Show, where we’ll be able to display our developments we’ve been brainstorming. We’d like to have tanks from Girls und Panzer on site, along with original goods for sale. We’ll have more announcements in the near future, so please look forward to it.”
Finally, a message for the fans:
“This is something that we’re aiming for at Wargaming Japan, but we’d like to have World of Tanks anchor ‘military entertainment’ in Japan. ‘Military’ isn’t a major thing in Japan, but we’d like to use World of Tanks to give it a little exposure. We’re currently thinking of various developments using military themes, so please look forward to it. Also, Japan is a great country that is full of content, so having something that is made in Japan and dispatching it to the rest of the world… is one of the future goals we’re looking forward to.”
Famitsu throws in, “Like a collaboration with Earth Defense Force?”
“(Laughs). While it’s nothing solid yet, we’re currently planning on collaborations with anime and manga. Please look forward to our next developments.” says Ikeda.