Wargaming is bringing a new gameplay mode to World of Warships inspired by the naval combat anime Arpeggio of Blue Steel -Ars Nova-.

Let’s say you’ve officially launched a World War II naval combat game, and need to come up with expansions and new content. What are your options? Do you add more historical vessels? Experiment with modern ships and technology? That’s what I expected from Wargaming, but it’s taking World of Warships in a complete unexpected direction – adding a new game mode based on the anime series Arpeggio of Blue Steel -Ars Nova-.

Arpeggio of Blue Steel is a manga set in a near future where rising sea levels consumed many Earth landmasses. The series follows humanity’s conflict with The Fleet of Fog, sentient warships that control the oceans and communicate with humanoid avatars called Mental Models. The concept eventually carried over to the anime series Arpeggio of Blue Steel -Ars Nova-, which produced 12 episodes in 2013 and two full-length films this year.

So what’s this have to do with World of Warships? Well, Wargaming will soon add a new game mode based around the Arpeggio of Blue Steel anime. Captains will take control of the show’s Kongo-class ships, and lead fleets into battle for all-new missions. Each ship also comes with a Mental Model, calling out actions in-game. Wargaming even brought the voice actress behind “Iona” into Warships, a nice touch for fans of the show.

This isn’t the kind of direction I expected Wargaming to take, but it might actually be a smart move. It’s a great way to bring an entirely new audience to World of Warships that already enjoyed naval battles in another genre. And based on the trailer, it doesn’t require any massive changes on Wargaming’s part outside of reskins and voice recordings. It’s not clear whether the Apreggio of Blue Steel‘s mode features any gameplay changes, but it might be worth checking out in the coming days.

The question now is what Wargaming will come up with next. A Master of Orion crossover? Pacific Rim-themed Kaiju battles? Who knows?

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