Two Mighty Forces: World of Tanks and Hot Wheels™!
What made the World of Tanks: Hot Wheels™ season such an exciting challenge to pursue? Hear it straight from our developers in this in-depth interview!
Imagination is one of many qualities that can be nurtured throughout life. So are determination, a challenge-seeking spirit, and the love of fun.
This is the mindset in which the World of Tanks developers approached the game’s brand-new Hot Wheels™ season. At first glance, the mashup between classic toy cars and history’s greatest battle vehicles might seem surprising. However, the developers were quick to see what made it a natural fit that could appeal to players across generations and bring them together.
Here to talk about the work that went into bringing the Hot Wheels™ season to life are four key players:
- Christian Vasquez, Environment Artist
- JJ Bakken, Producer
- Richard Livingston, Concept Artist
- Jared Pace, Game Designer
Take a look at what they had to say!
Welcome, gentlemen! Let’s begin with an overall introduction to this season. World of Tanks players and Hot Wheels™ fans have a lot in common, including collecting vehicles. Tell us about this fantastic collaboration!
Christian Vasquez (CV): When I found out about the collaboration, I was pretty excited because making something for Hot Wheels™ was something I’d never thought I’d get to do. If you told eight-year-old me I would be making Hot Wheels™ tanks in 2020, I’d have thought you’d be lying! I hope fans have fun collecting them!
JJ Bakken (JB): Both the World of Tanks and Hot Wheels™ brands share a lot of common factors. Collecting unique vehicles, engaging those vehicles in play, and showing them off to others. It was an easy decision to collaborate to bring both styles together and create some interesting and unique tanks.
Richard Livingston (RL): Wargaming is into styling our tanks to be as historically accurate as possible and choosing designs which were effective on the battlefield. Because form always follows function in a great design, our tanks are really cool to look at too. It is something we strive to do well, and because of this, our players really like to collect our tanks. It has inspired our players to really immerse themselves deeply in our game. Hot Wheels™, too, strives to style their vehicles creatively while stressing bold aesthetics which appeal to the players’ senses and, as well, lets them enjoy challenging themselves while playing and has also inspired kids and adults to collect their favorite Hot Wheels™ vehicles.
Jared Pace (JP): We both share the attitude of celebrating mechanical masterpieces, and together you have this playful mix of power and speed. I think it’s fun to see armored tanks in colorful and ornate paintjobs that are iconic to Hot Wheels™ cars.
What was the concept behind the selection of tanks for the Hot Wheels™ vehicles?
JB: We chose vehicles from a number of sources. Some were requested by the community, like the Spähpanzer.
RL: We wanted to tap into the design styling that Hot Wheels™ is famous for, and so we let ourselves indulge in a bit of fantasy during the design process. Paint, and wild details like oversized headers, blowers, and chrome (and of course, FLAMES) were integrated into known tank designs to produce some really cool tanks!
JP: For the larger tanks, Rodger Dodger™ and Bone Shaker™, we wanted to capture the thematic look of the car such as exposed exhaust pipes and engines and bring them to some tanks making their debut on World of Tanks: Console.
The styles are really nice but also a tad noticeable. Tell us about the paint job inspirations for all six tanks.
CV: When I was texturing the vehicles, I really wanted to hone in the car paint look with our tank shaders. I tried to imagine what it would be like if I was eight and I had just opened up a fresh pack of Hot Wheels™ tanks, they’d probably look sparkly and shiny! I landed in a happy medium of a more new, clean look, but adding subtle dirt and wear because they’ll have seen some battles and races over time. They have a good variety of car paint sparkles and racing stripe designs. They’ll look so cool if you put them down on that orange track and watch them hit those loops!
JB: There are several themes for our Hot Wheels™ vehicles that cover both the seasonality of this collaboration and some of the fun points of both like collectability. We decided to riff on different themes: Hot Rods and the Collectable Bubble Pack style. Our Hot Rod tanks tank inspiration from hot rods in general, and some Hot Wheels™ in specific like the Rodger Dodger™. All six vehicles are inspired by the metallic colors of Hot Wheels™ style.
There are a lot of fun Hot Wheels™ Crews, each designed with a unique style worthy of any Tank Commander. Can you tell us about the development process of the Hot Wheels™ Crews?
JB: The artist who created the majority of our Hot Wheels™ Crews happens to be a big Hot Wheels™ fan himself, so he really drove a lot of the artistry there. Our style choice was a helmeted race car driver which was customized to represent a variety of iconic Hot Wheels™ vehicles. We also created a Crew that represented the style of each tank. We choose Hot Wheels™ from a variety of artistic themes, including military, monstrous, and iconic Hot Wheels™.
CV: It’s always amazing to see how our artists incorporate the tanks’ design into Crews. They’re created after the 3D side of the tank is completed. That’s usually because I’m meticulous about dialing in colors in our engine until they look perfect, and they read correctly in different levels under different lighting conditions. It’s fun to pick up all the little details that I spent hours texturing on the 3D model into a Crews illustration.
Now, with several Hot Wheels™ Emblems to choose from, which one is your favorite?
JB: My personal favorite is the hot dog. World of Tanks is developed in Chicago and of course hot dogs are near and dear to our hearts.
JP: This may sound like I’m cheating, but the slapping the Hot Wheels™ logo on ANY tank is pretty badass. It’s that iconic. Also the loop! With the flame in the middle, man, that Emblem brings me back.
RL: I like the classic Hot Wheels™ red pennant logo the best.
CV: My dream is to open up my own portable hot dog stand here in Chicago someday, so I’m going to say that the hot dog Emblem is my fav! Shout out to the Chicago-style hot dog!
Not that it will ever happen, but which tank would you like to see do a loop-de-loop at full speed on the iconic orange Hot Wheels™ track?
JB: Our Bone Shaker™ TS-5, despite being a tank destroyer, would look great with its skull and flames design
JP: The only correct answer is the TOG. Okay, maybe the Maus. Okay, okay: maybe Lunar.
Do you have any Hot Wheels™ vehicles at home?
JB: I do in, fact. An ’82 Nissan Skyline R30 and a Datsun Bluebird 510.
JP: There are DEFINITELY a few hidden away at my parents’ home. I’ll never tell where they are hidden.
RL: I have a few. One from when I was a kid, which was my fave, is the Python.
CV: I do! They’re stored safely in my attic. I mostly had hot rod-style Hot Wheels™ with the chrome engines in the hoods! But my most prized Hot Wheels™ possession is my copy of Hot Wheels™ Turbo Racing I got for Christmas on the PlayStation!
If you could have a Hot Wheels™ vehicle in real life, which one would you pick?
JP: Sharkcruiser to be funny. Rodger Dodger™ so my wife lets me keep the car.
RL: The Python!
JB: The Rodger Dodger™ is always cool. But probably that Datsun 510!
Final thoughts before we sign out?
JP: Working with Hot Wheels™ checks a box I didn’t even know I had, and you can’t help but smile and think back to putting together those tracks and loops and then listening to your dad scream when he steps on one of the cars hiding in the carpet. Surely that wasn’t just me, right?
JB: Excited to see our successful collaboration on track.
The World of Tanks: Hot Wheels™ season was designed to inspire both the young and the young at heart. Game designer Jared Pace said it best:
“Power meets speed in the newest season of World of Tanks Console! Come check out what happens when some of the most iconic Hot Wheels™ paint jobs and cars are reimagined on some of history’s greatest tanks! If you’re not first, you’re last!”
The season lasts until December 8th. Roll out and seize the challenge!