There's a new offering available across Sony and Microsoft consoles that could attract new gamers to the free-to-play "World of Tanks" game. It's a new campaign mode called War Stories, which launched Aug. 22 with two campaigns. An additional two campaigns will launch later this year as part of an on-going release of new content that can be played by one to four players.
"We have a more casual audience on console," said TJ Wagner, creative director and executive producer at Wargaming's Chicago and Baltimore studios. "We're telling historical, fantasy and alternate history War Stories. All of these are different things we'd like to explore that we can't experience in the very serious 15 vs. 15 game."
The initial scenarios include the collapse of a Cold War-era Berlin blockade, an Allied victory in the Battle for Britain, and the brink of nuclear war in an alternate ending of the Cuban missile crisis. The first of the two War Stories is Brothers in Armor, a historical story surrounding the events of the Battle of Romania where massive battles erupt between the U.S. M4 Shermans and German Panzers. The second campaign, Flashpoint Berlin, transports tankers to an alternate history of the Cold War as a convoy of Western Allies tread across Soviet territory on the path to West Berlin.
War Stories is also connecting to the Dark Horse Comics "World of Tanks" comic book series, incorporating tanks and some other ideas, including the concept of a tank crew. The campaign mode even borrows a comic book-style storytelling perspective to set up each mission through animatics.
Wargaming relies heavily on data by platform and region as it maps out its content deployment for this game. Wagner said that when "World of Tanks" launched on PlayStation 4 in 2016, the company saw a whole new audience in Eastern Europe and Asia. Wagner also said that extensive focus testing was done on the initial War Stories, and alternate history tracked the highest for both "Tanks" and non-"Tanks" players.
"We looked at their play habits and engaged them through surveys," Wagner said. "A lot of PlayStation players are looking for co-op or single player experiences. The idea is for people who are interested in tanks or history to play in non-competitive stories."
Another unique aspect of the game, which could attract more female gamers to the hardcore WWII battle game, is crew customization. Players can choose female commanders and crew members from a large library of avatars. This marks a first in the franchise.
The console-exclusive War Stories will receive top placement on the main menu, offering new players their first experience with "World of Tanks." It's a new entry point into the franchise, as Wargaming continues to roll out its Super Bowl commercial across television and digital platforms.
"World of Tanks" is actually three different games, as the original PC title continues in its path, while the mobile game as well as the console games forge their own paths. They even have different studios develop the content.
"A lot of console players are looking for different things," Wagner said. "When we did the Freedom Tank with the American flag on it on console, it sold like mad and it started the request for more flag tanks from other nations. The platform allows for more freedom because we talk to the players."
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