We were lucky enough to talk with Pavel Kulikov, of Gaijin Entertainment, about upcoming war simulator War Thunder. The game has a popular PC beta and will be released on PS4 when it finally launches. We asked Pavel about the title, some of the challenges that new developments may have brought the developers and what to expect from the PS4 offering of the MMO combat title, here’s what he had to tell us:
n3rdabl3: Firstly how would you describe War Thunder to any of our readers who have not heard of the game?
Pavel Kulikov: War Thunder is a next-gen WWII based MMO combat game that combines aerial, ground and soon-to-be naval multiplayer battles all in a single gaming experience. Over 4 million players already know the enjoyment of raining down aerial destruction via the PC-version of War Thunder and this fan base continues exponential growth. War Thunder is currently in Open Beta on PC, in development for Mac OS and the Oculus Rift platform, and will be a PlayStation®4 launch title.
n3: How much did Gaijin’s previous experience with flight simulators lend to War Thunder, especially with the immense realism that features in the Full Real Battles game mode?
PK: It helped us a great deal – what’s more, our mission is to show everyone that flight simulation isn’t necessarily a niche genre. It can be very fun and engaging, if you provide the suitable controls and realism settings for all kind of players, from newbies to hardcore virtual pilots.
n3: Congratulations on reaching three million players, how does it feel that the game has been received so well so quickly, while still in beta mode?
PK: We see it as a proof of our vision stated above – that it’s possible to make the most popular flight sim in the world. And as a testament to our dedication and hard work on improving our game on daily basis.
n3: When was the decision made to add ground forces and naval units?
PK: The game had AI-controlled ground and naval units from the beginning, as we wanted to show the players that battles aren’t decided by aviation alone. So the idea to let the players to control ground vehicles and fleets was only natural.
n3: Also, why did you decide to move away from the strict flight simulator, and what were some of the challenges that you faced adding these additional aspects of the game?
PK: The main challenge is to combine different types of military vehicles in one battle – obviously, the controls and gameplay for tanks and planes are very different. It’s hard to realize both in one game, but much harder is to combine them in the same battle, where they need to confront each other.
n3: In a recent interview Alexander Trifonov said that 5,000 different planes fought in WWII and you were aiming to reach that number in War Thunder, how close are you to achieving that ambitious goal?
PK: Well, it’s not our actual goal – it’s just something to think about during development. Right now there are about 300 historically accurate planes in out game and more are added with every major update.
n3: What are you most excited for about the upcoming PS4 release?
PK: The ability to play our game on any platform you like, against every existing player in the world. You can buy PS4 and launch our game for the first time or use your own account and get all your existing planes. Cross-platform gameplay is the way of the future, and we’re glad to be a part of it.
n3: What was the motivation to bring the title to the PS4, do you believe that the console version will bring new experiences to the game that the PC version cannot? (In particular with the PlayStation Eye camera that I hear you guys are planning to utilise).
PK: One of the main reasons is the open-mind attitude of Sony towards the free-to-play model and cross-platform play on their new console – two things that are necessary for the success of War Thunder on consoles. And PS4 raw technical power, of course. As for head-tracking with help of PlayStation Camera, there are many similar devices on PC and we support all of them. The thing is, PS4 version isn’t about new experience – it’s more about new players, the people who never tried online or flight simulation games and now will have a good chance to get a taste of it.
n3: Finally are there any plans to bring War Thunder to the Xbox One as well as the PS4, if not, why is this?
PK: Until Microsoft will change its policies about free-to-play model (forcing everyone to buy Gold membership for multiplayer) and cross-platform play, War Thunder won’t be possible on Xbox One. I want to point out that this has nothing to do with hardware – Xbox One is a very potent machine and is quite capable of running our game.
n3: Do you have a planned date to end the beta version of the PC and Mac versions, do you have any idea of a firm release date?
PK: Until we implement player-controlled navy in our game, it’s vision won’t be complete. So it’s very early to talk about ending the beta right now.