World of Tanks, a popular online game, has an interesting tradition: on the eve of the winter holidays, the developers invite a famous guest to wish all their tankers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The guest becomes the main hero of Holiday Ops, a large-scale in-game event with a ton of exciting missions and gifts.
Last year, you could meet Chuck Norris in the special holiday-themed garage (aka the game’s lobby). He arrived in his signature image: in a classic American pickup truck and wearing a cowboy hat. This year, Arnold Schwarzenegger himself congratulates all World of Tanks players.
World of Tanks developers study the preferences and wishes of the players closely. Heroes of classic action movies from the 1990s are very popular among tankers, and it was only a matter of time before Arnie would appear in the game.
In March 2021, a petition appeared on Reddit, a resource popular among American gamers, in which users proposed to make Arnold Schwarzenegger one of the commanders available in World of Tanks. This petition was actively discussed on the internet, and multiple gaming publications wrote about it. Then, 9 months later, a comment from Schwarzenegger himself appeared in that very thread:
Arnold, by the way, is familiar with real tanks. That’s not only because of his rich experience of starring in smashing action movies: in his youth, Schwarzenegger served in the Austrian Army as a driver and mechanic of the American-produced M47 Patton II tank. Now, this vehicle is in the actor’s personal garage.
Johnny Boy’s Letter
The very first appearance of Arnold Schwarzenegger in World of Tanks happened in the event trailer:
According to its story, Arnie receives a letter from a boy named Johnny. The nuance is that the letter comes after a 30-year delay. In it, Johnny (who is now well over 30) shares his dream: he would very much like Arnold to personally come to visit him and the other folks in his small town during the winter holidays. The letter touches the heart of the actor, and he sets off on a long journey in a huge orange helicopter to fulfill the childhood dream of the already grown-up Johnny.
Behind the Scenes
Filming with Arnold took place in Los Angeles and lasted two days, and the duration of a filming day was limited to eight hours. Therefore, it was very important to allocate time to shoot all the necessary footage. The team coped with the task thanks to an excellent preparation period over the two months leading up to filming, as well as Arnold’s professionalism: he was friendly, energetic, and approachable.
New Year Garage
It will be possible to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger in World of Tanks immediately at the game’s ‘entrance’. In the special New Year garage, players will be greeted by the same orange helicopter from the video, in which the actor came to wish Johnny and other tankers a Happy New Year.
Behind the scenes
By the way, this helicopter was also chosen for a reason. This is a collective image of several civil aircraft intended for transportation of goods. Under the propeller, it has a special container: according to the game developers, it was in there that the New Year gifts for the tankers were stored.
Next to the helicopter, from which Arnold has already disembarked, there’s a crowd of residents: someone hands the actor a poster to sign, someone gives him a postcard, and someone flexes their biceps, which are almost like Arnie’s… almost.
Among the decorations for the New Year Garage will be Arnold’s snow sculpture in the form of Mr. Olympia. Tankers will be able to decorate it to their liking with a variety of lights, and next to it they will be able to put one of the additional decorations: for example, a memorable prop from 1990s action movies in a New Year guise—a gatling gun that shoots fireworks.
In the center of the New Year garage, there’s a Christmas tree (as it should be). Throughout Holiday Ops 2022, players will be able to obtain decorations for the tree and the entire holiday town. There’s a total of 284 to choose from. The developers of World of Tanks dedicated many of them to the main hero of the event: for example, there are weights and barbells, and it’s possible to place a thumbs-up on the top of the tree (a gesture well known to Schwarzenegger fans):
World of Tanks developers have prepared special awards for the best performing tankers.
The 2D style with Arnold as Mr. Olympia was inspired by the snow sculpture found in the holiday garage. A peculiarity of the style is that the marks [of excellence] on the barrel come in the form of dumbbells. These marks are given to the most skilled tankers, and (with the new style applied to their vehicles) the dumbbells will replace the standard ones.
For completing the holiday missions, the players will receive a special medal as well as a whole set of decals and three inscriptions with references to legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger films.
Those who complete 27 of the 32 Missions from Arnie will receive the main award: Arnold Schwarzenegger, the tank commander. An entire set of three skills is immediately available to him, and he also has the experience to learn another skill of the player’s choice.
Behind the scenes
Commander Arnold’s special feature is the voiceover: the World of Tanks sound team recorded over 250 lines spoken by Arnie, himself.
Holiday Ops 2022 in World of Tanks is an opportunity to immerse oneself in the New Year atmosphere, fulfill a childhood dream and touch the legend, Arnold. The developers did their best to create a holiday mood which (as it would seem) isn’t very suitable for a game dedicated to armored vehicles. But even adult and stern men sometimes want to return to their childhood and feel the magic of New Year.
We mentioned only a fraction of the gifts, references and “Easter eggs” that are waiting for the players. The creators of World of Tanks preferred to keep the rest of them secret for now, because a good New Year’s gift is the one that you unwrap yourself.