You wouldn’t expect a game as serious as World of Warships to have such an adorable mascot, but that’s the case with Captain Bad Advice. Appearing in a series of videos beginning earlier this year, Bad Advice lends a humorous hand to the hugely-popular MMO that many in its community look forward to seeing. To learn more about the captain and the process that went into creating him, Hardcore Gamer spoke with animator Ilya Mozzhukhin. Be sure to stick around for a candid talk with the captain himself.
[Hardcore Gamer] Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Ilya! Can you talk about your background in animation and why you decided to work with Wargaming?
[Ilya Mozzhukhin] Hi, guys! Thanks for inviting me, I’m always delighted to talk about our project and the team behind it. I joined Wargaming almost three years ago as a Lead Animator in Casual Games department in Saint Petersburg. Before Wargaming I worked for mobile and casual game development companies when I did lots of cartoony 3D character animation. In addition to work, I also study at the major online animation school Animation Mentor, which provides a great professional development.
Where did the idea for Captain Bad Advice come from?
In the spring of 2015, the Open Beta Test of World of Warships was approaching and we decided to animate one of our articles, the one that was a guide for new players on how to move from the World of Tanks to the “Ships.” It was written in a fun way offering players obviously incorrect advice on tactics. I believe you can still find this article on the developers blog. Since we didn’t have any constraints in terms of visual style, we decided to make it cartoony and involve the characters with their own backstory.
We wanted to entertain players and make a huge visual contrast with the style of World of Warships. For instance, there is a lot of such content around World of Tanks and it works just fine, but the “Ships” weren’t even officially released two years ago. So it was a risky move and no one knew what a success it will bring.
Why go “silent” with the captain?
When we started making the series, our goal was to animate as simple as possible. Voice acting would add some complexity, including localization. The idea is that the advice remained so simple that it can be shown without dialogue.
You are an accomplished animator but no one man can do everything at once. Can you tell me more about your team and their process/contributions to the work?
The team now includes three artists and three animators. They are all highly talented and have a background of working on casual games and animated movies. Artists have their own roles. For instance, some of them spend more time drawing backgrounds, other draw ships and hardware stuff. Every animator also has their own style and prefers making either action or dramatic scenes. Usually it takes about one month to make a two-minute episode.
Here at Wargaming we have an amazing Sound Team, which is responsible for the sound effects in World of Warships. Every time they are eagerly waiting for our next episode to start working on sound design.
We thought about adding a villain character to the Bad Advice. Some kind of an evil pirate with a cat, for example. But now we just don’t need it for narrative purpose. Perhaps they will appear in some future projects with Captain and Fishy.
Would you like to see the captain become the official mascot for World of Warships? Do you think he has what it takes?
These characters are already mascots. Nobody says it officially, but they are 🙂
If given the chance, would you like to expand on the character? Perhaps his own cartoon series or comic?
Besides the episodes, we make a lot of content with our characters. There is some artwork on official World of Warships portal and social networks. Characters are also used for internal purposes in our company. I’m dreaming about making vinyl toys of our characters for distribution among players at special events.
What’s next for the captain?
We plan to continue producing these episodes as a tactics advice. And the special episodes as well. New Year’s will be the next big one. But it is clear that ideas for such episodes are limited and this limit is approaching. Right now we are thinking about how to develop our characters. A pilot episode of a new possible series is in production. I cannot reveal the details since we are in the very beginning of the production.
I watch a lot of cartoons. One Punch Man and Amazing World of Gumball are among the most beloved. The “Gumball” is like an animation for animators. It has tons of inspirational creative ideas. Gravity Falls and Over the Garden Wall are adorable pieces of art.
Where do you get your ideas for the episodes?
Initially we took the ideas from that article I mentioned before and from our own game experience. We did about eight episodes that way and felt that we’ve maxed out on ideas. Then our SMM team have run a contest for the best script for the Bad Advice episode. We have received so many good ideas that we are still using them. We take such ideas and try to make a consistent story from them. Fairly often one of our colleagues (even from other offices) offers interesting ideas for the new episodes. Our intention is to listen to as much sources of inspiration as possible.
As a bonus, we were granted an exclusive interview with Captain Bad Advice himself:
How does it feel to be the “face” of World of Warships?
OH come now, it can’t be that bad….?
OK, What do you do to relax when not onboard your Warship?
OK ,TMI. Moving on…any plans for the Holidays?
What is the worst thing you have ever advised?
Texting while boating is never good. That’s all for now, thanks capn’!