War Thunder is a massively multiplayer online combat simulator being developed by Gaijin Entertainment. It is set to be a cross-platform single and multi-player game, available on Windows, Mac, OS X, and PS4. War Thunder will include planes, naval units, and armored vehicles from the span of time that starts before World War II, and ranges to the Korean War. War Thunder is currently in open beta, with an initial focus on aircraft, and soon, ships land units will be added later on. War Thunder runs on the Dagor engine.
War Thunder features multiple ways to play. In addition to the three types of units and the WWII–early Korean war era range, there are also maps based on Historical battles. The maps are estimated to be 300 km by 300 km in the final product, but currently range anywhere from 65×65 to 100×100, respectively. The game itself features three modes of play: Arcade Mode, Historical Mode, and Real Battle Mode. In arcade mode, there are two teams of up to 32 people. Each team is composed of planes from different nations that are evenly matched in level. For the sake of the game, the physics are simplified, but some realism in the handling of the various planes remains.
Within Arcade mode, there are two more different modes, Ground strike, and Domination. In Ground Strike, the objective is to destroy all ground units of the opposing team. In Domination, the objective is to capture enemy air strips and shoot down pilots until no one remains. In historical mode, on the other hand, matches are based on their historical counterparts.
As such, the physics and damage are more realistic, and the teams are presumably smaller. For example, planes can have their wings ripped off if turning too fast, and pilots can black out if experiencing too many G-forces. In this mode, players are selected via nation, each team representing a certain nation. Thus, historical battles and events from the WWII-Korean war era can be recreated. Finally, In Real battle mode, no expense is spared.
Physics are at the game engine’s limit of faithful recreation, as well as player being locked into first person view only. This mode follows historical events and missions faithfully, and plays like a campaign. Like in Historical mode, Real battle mode simulates pilots blacking out, planes suffering catastrophic failures, and other immersion settings.
War Thunder’s leading competition is World of Warplanes, being developed by Wargaming.net. Unlike War Thunder, World of Warplanes is available only on windows. This multi-platform gaming sets War Thunder apart from the competitors. World of Warplanes follows in the tradition of combat flight simulators, such as Gaijin’s own IL-2 “Sturmovik”, or “Birds of Steel”, Microsoft’s “Combat Flight Simulator”, or Rowan’s “Battle of Britain” series. Like War Thunder, it innovates over them by including vehicles from the range of time preceding World War II, up until the Korean War, and including maps from all over the Earth to reflect the truly global nature of a World War. However, in World of Warplanes, the focus is on air combat; the playable naval and land units that make War Thunder unique, and the multiple gaming modes, shine only because of its absence, giving War Thunder an important edge.
With the rising notoriety that War Thunder is gaining, as well as its multi-platform and multi-mode capabilities, War Thunder stands to make a significant name for itself in the online gaming industry. It has a marked advantage over the competition, and the realism and immersion settings for the matches are sure to keep players flying for a long time.
Gaijin, a Russian company that has been in operation since 2002, began developing War Thunder in 2009, after its previous hits such as “Birds of Prey: Apache”, “Air Assault”, and others. Gaijin specializes in multi platform games, and is partners with such names as Microsoft, Sony, and Apple. The Dagor engine that War Thunder runs on was developed by the Gaijin company in 2005. Gaijin announced War Thunder on August 25, 2011 as “World of Planes”, but later changed the name to emphasize the non-aviation aspects of the game. By January 9, 2012, the beta test was included in PC Gamer’s categories of “Best Games of 2012.”
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