Russian developer Gaijin Entertainment brought their free-to-play military MMO, War Thunder, to E3 2014 in order to introduce the title to Western audiences. The game, which was released in November 2012 in Europe, is currently entering its open beta phase in the United States and Canada with plans to officially launch later this year.
The game, which is set during World War II, focuses on large-scale military battles between players piloting a wide variety of aircraft and tanks. The game boasts a roster of over 300 planes and nearly 100 ground vehicles hailing from the major nations involved in the Second World War, including the United States, Germany, and the Soviet Union. Gaijin also plans to implement naval combat in the future, although details on what exactly this may entail are scarce. Players then take their vehicle of choice into battle in a selection of iconic real campaigns from World War II, including The Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of Midway. The game’s large scale is one its main selling points, with terrain these battles were fought on being recreated in the form of in-game maps as large as 100 square kilometers with up to 32 players taking part in combat. Gaijin claims to support maps up to three times that large, though none of that scale have yet been added to the game.
Unlike competitor World of Tanks and its sister games, which pride themselves on realism and attention to detail, War Thunder offers players a range of gameplay styles ranging from “arcade” to “full real.” Arcade mode uses simplified controls and damage models, while “full real” utilizes a much more accurate simulator-style control scheme for its vehicles and implements elements such as limited fuel and environmental hazards. Realistic game modes also utilize first-person perspective with a simulated cockpit to display information to the player in lieu of arcade mode’s third-person camera and traditional action game interface.
War Thunder is currently available for testing by interested gamers on Windows and Mac PCs and plans to launch as a free-to-play title in North America just as it did in Europe. Gaijin also ported the game to the Playstation 4; the console version officially launched on June 3, 2014 and is available free of charge just like the PC edition through the Playstation Network.
You can hear our interview with the Community Manager called “Quarter Ninja,” here.
If you’re interested in War Thunder, you can check out the offical trailer below or on YouTube.