You can now play World of Warships on an actual warship

World of Warships on a warship.
(Image credit: Wargaming / Imperial War Museum)

HMS Belfast is a Second World War Royal Navy warship, first launched in 1938 and with a history that includes the Arctic Convoys, D-Day, the Cold War, the Korean War, and more. It was decommissioned in 1963 before eventually being saved and preserved as a museum ship, and is now permanently moored on the River Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.

The ship's interior takes visitors over the nine decks and various exhibits telling the story of the ship and the lives of its 950-strong crew. Having closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, it's undergone some changes while preparing to reopen July 8, and has announced a new collaboration with World of Warships developer Wargaming.

Basically, the 'World of Warships Command Centre' is a room filled with PCs and consoles, on which you can play World of Warships (which to be fair does include HMS Belfast among its many historically accurate ships). If you're wondering why this collaboration ever happened, the fact that HMS Belfast is preserved and managed by a private trust rather than the British government is probably why: funding this old girl, particularly during these times, must be one hell of a struggle.

And Wargaming deserves a lot of credit for that. It'd be all-too-easy to be a bit sneery about this, but the fact that a highly successful developer (over 50 million players across its World of Warships games) is going out of its way to help fund the real-world museums that preserve the history its games are based on... you can't knock it.

Come on though boys: where's the masks? Tsk tsk.

World of Warships on a warship.

(Image credit: Wargaming / Imperial War Museum)

"Over the past year we have been privileged to work with naval museums across the world and support them during an immensely difficult time," says Victor Kislyi, CEO of Wargaming. "We are delighted to be able to add a new dimension to the already incredible offering onboard HMS Belfast, and can’t wait to see this historic warship ship delight and educate visitors once more!"

HMS Belfast is open to the public again from July 8. 

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."