Painting of sailing ships in the anime Attack on Titan is actually a screenshot from Total War: Empire

A Total War: Empire screenshot used as a painting in the background of a scene from Attack on Titan
(Image credit: MAPPA)

Call me a wannabe-aboo if you want, but I've never seen Attack on Titan. All I know is that it's the one about naked giants who eat people. Apparently, in between being gobbled up like Saturn's son, the characters find time to visit a fancy restaurant. Given the task of filling the backgrounds for that scene, someone put a screenshot of some sailing ships from Total War: Empire in a frame and knocked off for the day.

It's the first screenshot you see on the Steam page for Total War: Empire, which makes this even funnier. Given the working conditions at animation studios in Japan, I'm not bothered by someone taking a shortcut rather than creating an entire Renaissance artwork just to round out a few shots. It's just funny that it's a screenshot from a videogame, and a particularly blatant one at that.

Normally the kind of references used in anime are a little more obscure, or obscured. For instance, when isekai series The Eminence in Shadow needed a train station, the artists redrew Flinders Street Station from Melbourne, Australia. The funny part of that is they kept the anachronistic LED screens, and you can even see the machines where you top up your Myki (Melbourne's public transport card, like the Oyster card in London).

It's far from the first time videogame artwork has been reused out of context. In addition to all the fake war footage made with Arma videos, there was the time a trailer for Uncharted 4 reused concept art from Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag. That led to Naughty Dog apologizing and updating the trailer with new artwork, but in this case I hope nothing gets changed and it remains as a fun Easter egg for future viewers to find. 

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.