World of Warships promises "No submarines!" in debut developer diary


World of Warships is an unusual military vehicle MMO. Instead of single-seat fighters or tanks with crews of three or four, players will command some of the mightiest ships to ply the seas, with crews of hundreds, or even thousands, of sailors needed to keep them moving and fighting. But it also looks awfully sexy, and not just because of the glorious cinematics in this developer diary, which of course place hotness over accuracy, but because seems to have a pretty good handle on how to make it manageable and, hopefully, fun.

The most obvious example of that attitude is its willingness to forgo historical accuracy for the sake of gameplay. It's well known that submarines, the snipers of the high seas, were hugely influential during the Second World War, but none of them, not even Germany's infamous U-Boats, will make an appearance in World of Warships.

"There are no submarines in the game," Nicholas Moran, Wargaming's director of militaria relations (yes, "militaria," he refers to himself that way on Reddit and so I'm sticking with it), stated emphatically. "It just doesn't fit with the gameplay. You've got these small things that are practically invisible... They have devastating firepower, but when detected, let's say they're on the surface, they're gone immediately because they just have no survivability. There really wasn't any way of implementing it... We're not ignoring the historical reality behind it, it doesn't work in the game. There will be no submarines."

Subs are out but aircraft will remain, and carriers will be able to unleash dive bombers, torpedo bombers, scouts and of course fighters, making them choice targets in battle, just as they were in real life. But the stars of the game will be the battleship, the "characteristic, iconic vessel of World War Two," which Moran more colorfully described in World of Tanks vernacular as "a Maus , with multiple SPGs mounted on it, and it kinda cruises around at 30 miles per hour." Backing up those heavyweights will be cruisers, which he said are probably the most versatile ships in the game, and the relatively speedy, lightweight destroyers.

I have no idea whether a free-to-play MMO based on pre-1950s fleet action will be a commercial success, but there's no denying the lure of the sea: The wind in your hair, the salt on your tongue, the eight 15-inch guns pointed squarely at the person you'd most dearly like to wipe from the face of the Earth. Maybe I'm a romantic, but I think that sounds like it might just work out.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.