Azur Lane is a side-scrolling shoot 'em up and role-playing video game set in an alternate universe where World War II was fought with anthropomorphic "ship girls," loose analogues of ships used in the real war in the form of girls with attachable heavy weaponry. Later updates to the game added post-war ships and ships from other countries such as China, France, and Italy
First launched in China in May and in Japan in September 2017, Azur Lane skyrocketed in popularity, especially in Japan where the player count reportedly reached five million within four months of its release. Japanese artist Tony Taka was invited to provide official artwork for the HMS Centaur.
In March 2018, XD Global published the game in South Korea. Artwork for the Korean release was provided by the artist Nardack, but it was taken down after she refused to denounce feminism and "antisocial groups" as the company demanded in response to player complaints.
An English-language beta version of the game was opened on August 2018, and eventually led to an official release worldwide in May 2019.
Players entering a map can prepare up to two Fleets of six ships, each consisting of a three ship vanguard (Destroyers, Light Cruisers, and Heavy Cruisers) plus three ships providing fire support (Battleships, Battlecruisers and Aircraft Carriers). The player must engage in enough naval skirmishes on a map to draw out the enemy Boss, and defeat it in a showdown.
Each engagement costs Fuel and Ammo. Fuel acts as the general "energy" of the game, limiting how much a player can play the game if they spend too much at once. Ammo cannot be replenished until the end of the map, and each Fleet has a limited amount they can use. They can still attack without any Ammo, but their damage will be halved.
In battle, the player takes direct control of their vanguard's movements, having to dodge enemy shots and torpedoes while their characters automatically fire their own attacks at the enemy. Meanwhile, their backline can provide fire support in the form of cannon barrages or airstrikes with the push of a button when fully charged. Each battle can be controlled by AI, but they may not be as adept at dodging enemy fire.
In addition to the above, there is a "Universal" faction that encompasses original ships and equipment in the game that has no equivalent in the real world, and a "META" faction of Sirens and ultra-powerful versions of existing shipgirls. Also, there are several collaboration factions as crossover events introduce new shipgirl characters from other universes:
Azur Lane's popularity in Japan has sparked several manga and light novel adaptations which are mostly comedic, slice-of-life style stories. An anime adaptation was announced in September 2018, directed by Tensho and written by Jin Haganeya of the Demonbane franchise, and premiered in October 2019. A musical CD featuring character songs sung by their respective voice actors was released in September 2018.
- Azur Lane: Very Slow Advance!
- Azur Lane Comic Anthology
- Azur Lane Queen's Orders
- Azur Lane Comic à la Carte
- Starting My Life as a Commander with Laffey
- Episode of Belfast
- Ayanami, Happily Married