Original post copied from my post from WoT EU forums.
You'd probably expect that there's always going to be something that will be considered but won't make it to the final product. It's no different in WoT – there's a ton of tanks that are tested, some of them are leaked to public, others will remain in obscurity that no one outside from WG will probably ever know about. Some of the might make it to the game years after – Valiant is an example of this, as if I recall correctly, the tank was modeled years, years back, but was never introduced.
While most of the time the scrapped tanks are just singular vehicles without necessarily a decided purpose (most likely potential premiums), sometimes it's an entire branch. One of the most infamous examples of never-released vehicles are the French multi-turreted superheavies. The "armored" French HT mini-branch we have in the game that got introduced in late 2017, namely the one with AMX 65t, M4 51 and M4 54, was originally supposed to be a full branch from tier 2-10. The tier 2-7 were meant to be multi turreted super-heavies with tanks like FCM 2C and FCM F1. However, the idea was scrapped in 2016, and just the tier 8-10 were introduced a year later. FCM 2C and FCM F1 in particular were modeled as early as 2011-2012 (when they were meant to be premiums), and then remodeled in HD. They did get re-used later in Halloween mode 2017 (FCM 2C model used for Stein and FCM F1 for Franken), and you know, there's a chance they'll appear in the future if WG ever decides to experiment with multi-turret feature more extensively.
An article expaining that why the line was scrapped:
While French super-heavies are pretty well known, there's another much less well known branch that was developed, but never made it to the game. Aside from some very questionable rumors, none of this information spread outside from Chinese community, and they seemingly were forgotten there after. Even I knew basically nothing about it until today. And that branch is Japanese tank destroyers.
The lost Japanese TD branch in World of Tanks PC
Yesterday, an article was posted in TAP, which is a speculative article about Japanese TDs in Blitz and how they could be transferred to PC in the future.
An user "Purecycle" posted a comment,
First I thought: "this is just a comment and most likely is a lie with no proper evidence". However, shortly after I remembered that I had hear similar rumors of this years ago, that Kongzhong was developing Japanese TDs but they never made it in. In case you don't know, Kongzhong is the company that runs World of Tanks in China. While WG still develops and brings updates to the Chinese version of the game, Kongzhong has contributed in a few things in their own way, most notably the Chinese TDs that were created by them in 2015 (and later released in 2017, first in Chinese server and later in others). But alongside Chinese TDs, they were rumored to work on Japanese TDs as well as Chinese arties. While not much was said about Japanese TDs, it was said that Chinese arty line got fully modeled, but nothing was heard of them since.
While I first thought this was just yet another dumb rumor with no evidence, the line "I only know this because of one of the “Devs” at Kongzhong leaked some images of the unfinished Ho-Ru, Ho-Ni III and Na-To models on the old Mittengard map and posted silhouettes of the four top tiers who had happened to match the four TD’s on Blitz on his personal blog." was what caught my interest. I went on a little adventure, and after some time of searching, thanks to the help of adding key words from Google Translate…I was able to find something that indeed confirms that Japanese TD branch hasn't just been considered, but actually developed to at least some extend.
Just as it was said in the comment – at least four vehicles were modeled. The models were leaked by what was one of the "devs" of the Kongzhong. The models are from are from as far back as 2015, they're unfinished, and unfortunately I haven't found a larger, higher quality images yet. But here's some finds I made so far:
Type 5 Ho-Ru (tier 2)
Type 1 Ho-Ni I (tier 3)
Type 3 Ho-Ni III (tier 4)
Type 5 Na-To (unknown tier, most likely tier 4-5)
Some other known facts of the branch:
- The branch was developed as early as 2015, around the same time as Japanese heavies.
- Was meant to be a full branch from tier 2 to tier 10.
- Was developed by Kongzhong at the same time as Chinese TDs (and rumored Chinese arties). Unlike the Chinese TDs, these are historical vehicles, or at least the leaked low/mid tiers are.
- No images of high tiers are known to be leaked. Supposedly an image consisting the "silhouettes" of higher tier vehicles were leaked – which nicely match the tier 7-10 that were released on WoT Blitz this year. This could explain where the Blitz team got the tanks from. I haven't found this "silhouette" image yet, though. EDIT: Found the image of the silhouette.
- Haven't found anything about what would've been the premium tank for the line, but it's safe to assume that there was meant to be one.
- The branch was never released for reasons we don't know.
Why was the branch never released?
That's a very good question and the fact it got developed surprisingly far makes me even more confused why the branch was never introduced in the first place. I feel like it's something that should've been added ages ago, considering that it is one of the few remaining branches that you can make with mostly historical, and in many cases even built vehicles. Not just that, but outside from my proposals, there has been some demand for Japanese TDs by the playerbase as well. At least French super-heavies had a reasonable excuse – hard to balance. Imagine Japanese heavies but with less armor and even more tumors…yeah, its not hard to figure out why. But Japanese TDs, especially if the top tiers were Ho-Ris…I can't see why would they be so minmaxed that they'd be too hard to balance.
I actually can't find a proper reason that why the line was never released. They actually have historical value unlike Chinese TDs, and some of the models were already there. Maybe they planned to have super-heavy, casemated Type 5 Heavy with a 20cm naval gun as a tier 10 that was impossible to balance? Maybe the hatred for the recently buffed Type 4/5 in 2017 made them not want to introduce them? Maybe Chinese TDs being so unpopular made them not consider them? Maybe they just forgot them? Some other things? I have no clue.
Now that the tier 7-10 are in the Blitz, and then there's these low-mid tier vehicles…I feel like it wouldn't even take that much of an effort to implement a Japanese TD branch. The source material is already there. Maybe they'll look back and revive the several year old, never released Japanese TDs. They did do the same with some other vehicles like Valiant…you never know. I'm still confident that maybe some day we'll finally get the Japanese TD line…but who knows.