When we talk about Wargaming, we know there are a lot of people playing World of Tanks. But there is so much more than World of Tanks and World of Warplanes. We now have the third big game called World of Warships.
And when Wargaming was developing this game, there were some problems. This mainly had to do with the amount of ships that are out there and which ships did actually see the daylight. Most of the ships were also a one of a kind, which mostly didn’t survive the war.
And this is where Richard “The_Challanger” Cutland came to the rescue. Most people probably don’t know Richard, which is a shame. Because this is the man who makes sure that the tanks, planes and boats you control in the game actually make it into the game.
365Gaming: Hello Richard, before we begin. I know everybody has an official title within Wargaming. Yours is not a standard title. So what does it mean to be European Military Specialist?
Richard: Being the European Military Specialist is not your standard job. It’s kinda a different job because my job is very divers. I work a lot with Special Projects, but also with Marketing and different PR-departments. But also the developers and the researchers and all the other aspects of that. And of course there are also a lot of museums and other organizations as well. So it’s more of an all round job that I have. We probably need to rename it soon.
365Gaming: So you do have a lot of contacts with a lot of people, which department or group takes most of your time?
Richard: Well, Sint. Petersburg is the main hub when it comes down to World of Warships, it’s kinda like World of Tanks in the beginning of the game. We learned a lot of lessons from World of Tanks and now know that collection information is the first step before you start to approach organizations. We now know how some organizations work, what they like and don’t like to share when it comes down to information. This made it a little bit easier for World of Warships. Of course the kind of game also made it easier.
With Tanks you have a lots and lots of hybrids, we had literally hundreds of Tanks to choose from. That is not the case with Warships, and also, most of the ships are gone. But the blueprints of the ships are amazing, they are really a work of art. And I think that I really started to appreciate it much more than I did with Tanks.
But it’s all about finding the right registration. Now when that from the National Archives from various museums, it’s still a lot of work finding the right information. The Polish ships are just a great example, those ships are just fantastic. And the best part is that the ship (ORP Blyskawica) was there itself. And they still had all the blueprints as well plus they had a lot of photo’s and stories in the archive as well. Which makes it a fantastic to make the ship come alive.
But the authors of the stories also helped us a lot. When we approached them and told them who we are and what we do to recreate these ships in game. Of course it’s time consuming, but I always think that I have the easiest part. I just pass all the information to the developers and then they take over and they do with it what they will.
And once again, the Polish ship (ORP Blyskawica) was just amazing since we also met all these people. Because we then put the ship in the game, but for me as a person it’s very nice to meet the guy who was a gunman and to hear their stories and talk about it, that really helps me to understand how it really worked. Those are the best stories out there, even for me as a military specialist. And I need to say that I have an Army background and not a Navy background, so most of the things are also completely new for me and very interesting.
365Gaming: And when you look at Tanks, there are so many of them. But what about the ships, how do you decide which ship gets in the game, especially when you think about it, there are not a whole lot of different ships?
Richard: Well, there is a team behind it. And in the first place it’s up to the developers who say for example we want to do the Royal Navy. Luckily with ships it was crystal clear which served in the Royal Navy, to a degree. There are always some ships that were never produced, but it’s pretty straight forward. So than the information comes from the archives.
As an example, eighteen months ago we started with the German Cruisers. So we would just go out and contact everybody in Germany who might have had some information about it and organizations who might have had some information.
Sometimes we come up with blueprint when we research archives, and the French National Archives are amazing, I think one of the best in the world. They have a lot of information about every country in the world. So we found a lot of information there. And sometimes we would say, we were looking for this ship, but we came across this. How do you fancy that? And that’s how we make sure the right ships get into the game.
365Gaming: And what about the ships who were never built and made it into the game. How do you import them? Since there is no history at all about these ships.
Richard: Yes, those are the tricky one. We built these ships in the game purely based on the supplied blueprints. We don’t really know how they did it in real life. Which makes them really really hard, also because you hope that the blueprint is correct and you hope no one even changed them a little bit. And the firepower for these ships is something we can compare to other ships, the amount of Anti Aircraft guns, but also the caliber. So the most tricky part is mainly about the speed and the maneuverability and concealment. But we do our best to make it as realistic as possible.
So now you know a bit more about the research that goes into every ship in this game. We know there are a lot more things we could have ask, but one thing’s for sure. If you love World of Warships, you should hang a poster of “The Challenger” on your wall and thank him every day after you played the game.