War Thunder

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War Thunder
War Thunder Logo.png
Developer(s)Gaijin Entertainment
Publisher(s)Gaijin Entertainment
Tencent Games (China)
Composer(s)Georgy Zheryakov
Alexander Chorni
Zahar Antonov
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4[2]
Xbox One[3][4]
Genre(s)Action, vehicular combat, combat flight simulator
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

War Thunder is a free-to-play vehicular combat multiplayer video game developed and published by Gaijin Entertainment in cross platform format for Microsoft Windows, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Shield Android TV.


The game is based around combined arms battles on air, land, and sea with vehicles from the interwar period and the Spanish Civil War to the Iraq war and beyond, with an emphasis on World War II.[12][13][14] Players can control aircraft, ground vehicles, and warships from a variety of nations including the Soviet Union, Germany, France and the United States.

War Thunder is divided into three main game modes for ground, air, and naval forces. This includes arcade, realistic, and simulator. In ground arcade, air forces are accessible for a short period and are earned via destroying other tanks. For ground realistic, the player can use tanks, planes, and helicopters. In air battles, the battles are strictly air forces without helicopters. For naval battles, the navy can be combined with the air forces. Aircraft are in every mode of rewarded play.

Players can also play in a cooperative mode defending a position against AI tanks and planes (PVE).

Arcade Battles[edit]

In this mode, the game draws two teams of players (of up to 32 players on each side) with vehicles from different nations of varying combat performance. It is possible to see vehicles of the same type on different teams, and different countries on the player's own team. Damage and physics are greatly simplified (e.g. in very high-speed dives planes do not have their wings ripped off and are still controllable, and ground vehicles receive a boost in engine power), but retain some realism (e.g. bombers are not as maneuverable as fighters). In Arcade, there are mechanics that — while unrealistic — are meant to make the player's experience easier (e.g. aircraft are able to reload midair after running out of ammunition). There is also an indicator indicating where the shell would land and showing whether the shell would penetrate the opponent's vehicles or not. Everyone can see everyone in this game mode.

For aircraft, games are played in either Ground Strike, where in order to win players must destroy all enemy ground units, shoot down all enemy aircraft, and destroy the enemy airfield and bombing points; Domination, which consists of seizing neutral or enemy airfields by touching down on them for about five seconds, causing the enemy team to lose points; or Air Domination, which requires players to have total control over an area of airspace for long enough to capture it. To help simplify aiming, a 'leading marker' appears when an enemy plane is in range. This shows a prediction of where the enemy plane will be by the time the bullets of the smaller caliber weapon arrive if the plane continues its current trajectory.

For ground forces, Domination revolves around the capture of three strategic zones on the map, with Conquest featuring only one. In Break, the two teams must capture a series of points in order, while in Battle, each team has its own base zone and must prevent it from being captured. Similarly to how aircraft have a "leading marker", ground forces have a reactive crosshair that factors the ballistic drop of the vehicle's primary weapon at range. It is also color-coded to indicate whether the vehicle the player is targeting can be penetrated by the ammunition they are using at the range they are sighted for, or whether they are targeting an enemy or allied vehicle.

Realistic Battles[edit]

Previously called Historical Battles, this mode is designed for more advanced players, and offers more realistic physics and damage modeling, while retaining some of the simplistic elements of the interface and controls of Arcade Battles. Once ammunition or armaments are depleted, players can return to their airfield to reload and repair. For the majority of matches in this mode, players are selected to have only collaborating nations on each team, making it possible to recreate real scenarios, such as the Battle of Stalingrad between the Soviet Union and Germany.

In Ground Realistic Battles, players get to use more than one vehicle per game through the use of Spawn Points, which are obtained by destroying enemy vehicles and capturing points. Aircraft and helicopters may also be used. Like the Air Realistic Battles mode, players do not have access to enemy player markers, penetration indicators, or range indicators (except for the separate rangefinder).

In Air Realistic Battles, players do not have the option to respawn. Enemy aircraft receive range markers and nametags within a certain range, which varies depending on the angle and distance to the aircraft. The amount of bombers available to each team is also limited.

Simulator Battles[edit]

Previously called Full Real Battles, Simulator Battles are based on Realistic Battles with further restrictions on the user's interface and controls; only the first-person view in the cockpit and external turret gunner views for aircraft are allowed in flight. Tank players are restricted to the gunner's scope, the driver's port / cabin, and a commander's perspective located above the vehicle. Additionally, aircraft can only be played in Full Real controls (there is no "instructor" to prevent the aircraft stalling and the mouse can only be used to simulate a joystick). Players retain the ability to utilize their aircraft's flaps, trim, and engine(s) in Simulator mode. The heads up display is available to display speed, altitude, heading, engine/throttle settings, oil and water temperatures, and basic vehicle damage status.

Player tags are not given for enemy units and players, while tags for friendly units and players are only provided if they are within a certain distance of the player. Combined battles do not show markers above enemy or friendly units and players. Thus, players must pay particular attention when dealing with aircraft and tanks that are available to multiple nations, and vehicles that use roundels as decoration for countries other than their own through personal customization of the vehicles.

Custom Battles[edit]

Custom battles, available for air, ground, and naval vehicles alike, is a mode allowing for the creation of battles by individual players. The creator of the custom battle can select the map, game mode, and other settings; they can also set a password to restrict who can play.


PvE "Assault" was introduced in patch 1.67. This is an "Arcade" tank or a plane game mode where players try to defend a base against waves of AI attackers.


Events in War Thunder provide custom missions, usually based on one of the three main game modes, but with alternative settings regarding allowed vehicles, mission specifics, etc. Examples are the recreation of historical battles by restricting available vehicles (e.g. Battle of Britain)

Traditionally, the developers prepare unconventional events for April Fools' Day. The 2019 event named "Earth Thunder" is an event for April Fools 2019 in War Thunder where it takes place in an fictional American city named "Green Hills" where the players get to play with UFOs.[15] The 2018 event named "Silent Thunder" was based underwater, with submarines. For 2017, War Thunder made playable rank IX main battle tanks and attack helicopters. For 2016, ahead of the announcement of the naval forces update, War Thunder offered playable sailing ships of the 18th century fighting in the Caribbean.[16] The year before, a new game mode called "Unrealistic Battles" featured inflated rubber tanks firing potatoes and carrots.[17] Other notable examples include "March to Victory", introducing playable Mecha composed of tank parts;[18] "The Pony Nation" introducing the world of My Little Pony as a sixth playable faction (2013);[19] , and "Gaijilla" was a battle against a giant Godzilla-like snail (2014).[20]


World War Mode[edit]


War Thunder at IgroMir 2013
War Thunder at gamescom 2014

Early development and closed beta[edit]

The development of the game as World of Planes began in 2009. Russian company Gaijin Entertainment used its experience with its previous combat flight simulator games such as IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey, Apache: Air Assault, and Birds of Steel in the development. During closed beta, the title was changed to War Thunder due to confusion with the similar competitor World of Warplanes, as well as other reasons such as Gaijin wanting the game to not just be focused on aviation anymore.[21]

Open beta and release[edit]

Promotion of War Thunder: Knights of the Sea at gamescom 2016

Open beta testing started November 1, 2012 (for users from the Russian Federation; the global beta launched January 28, 2013) for Windows PC with about 200 aircraft and 600,000 players. On May 15, 2014, at 6 million registered players, the first ground forces for Germany and the Soviet Union were introduced.[22] Later added were the American,[23] British,[24] and Japanese ground forces, with the introduction of the latter marking the release of the game on December 21, 2016, with more than 800 playable vehicles and 15 million players in total.[25]

As of 2019, Italy, France, and Sweden have been added as playable factions.[26][27] At gamescom 2018, the planned addition of helicopters into the game was announced, and as of late 2018, helicopters have been fully implemented. [28][29]


Aggregate score
MetacriticPC: 81/100[30]
PS4: 76/100[31]
Review scores
PC Gamer (US)78/100[33]
GamescomBest Simulation Game (2013)
Russian Game Developers ConferenceBest Developer, Best Game, Best Technology, Best Sound Design (2013)
Guinness World Records
  • Most planes in a flight simulation game (2014)[36]
  • Most players online simultaneously on one Flight Simulation server (2014)[37]

At release, War Thunder was well-received with generally positive reviews. GameSpot praised it for its variety of airplanes and visuals,[35] whereas IGN criticized the user interface for being "overly abundant and cumbersome" in contrast to the "sparse in-battle HUD".[32]

See also[edit]

Media related to War Thunder at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ a b "War Thunder is now available on Linux!". Warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  2. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (14 May 2013). "War Thunder Is Headed to the PlayStation 4". Kotaku. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b "[News] War Thunder to be released on Xbox One and Xbox One X!". Warthunder.com. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  4. ^ a b "Vehicle combat MMO 'War Thunder' launches on Xbox One". Windowscentral.com. 2018-06-19. Retrieved 2018-06-19.
  5. ^ "War Thunder enters global Open Beta!". Warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Открытый бета тест War Thunder!". Warthunder.ru. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  7. ^ "War Thunder is the most comprehensive free-to-play, cross-platform, MMO military game for Windows, Linux, Mac and PlayStation®4 dedicated to aviation, armoured vehicles, and naval craft from World War II and the Cold War". Gaijin Entertainment.
  8. ^ "War Thunder PlayStation®4 launch in North America". Warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  9. ^ "War Thunder for Playstation®4 is out!". Warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Mac client launch!". Warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  11. ^ "War Thunder on NVIDIA® SHIELD™". Warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  12. ^ "About the Game". Warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  13. ^ Todd, Brett (10 July 2014). "War Thunder Review". Gamespot.com. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  14. ^ Zacny, Rob (7 August 2014). "War Thunder review". Pcgamer.com. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  15. ^ "[Special] Earth Thunder: We are not their playthings!". Warthunder.com. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Naval combat setting sail in War Thunder". Gamereactor.eu. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Unrealistic Battles". Warthunder.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  18. ^ "War Thunder - March to Victory Trailer". Gamespot.com. 2015-08-20. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  19. ^ Sethisto (1 April 2013). "War Thunder Adds the Pony Nation". Equestria Daily. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  20. ^ "New Japanese war machine in War Thunder!". Warthunder.com. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  21. ^ Reahard, Jef (2012-01-25). "World of Planes renamed, evolves 'beyond pure aerial combat' | Massively". Massively.joystiq.com. Archived from the original on 2013-08-10. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
  22. ^ Purslow, Matt. "War Thunder: Ground Forces now available, 6 million pilots to receive their tank licenses". Pcgamesn.com.
  23. ^ "War Thunder update 1.45 goes live". Gamereactor.eu. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  24. ^ "War Thunder Update 1.63 Desert Hunters released". Pcinvasion.comn. 2016-09-29. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  25. ^ "War Thunder leaves open beta, officially released". Rockpapershotgun.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  26. ^ Jakobs, Benjamin (2017-05-02). "War Thunder: Italien kommt als neue Nation hinzu". Eurogamer.de (in German). Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  27. ^ Ford, Suzie. "Italy Joining the Fight as the Sixth Playable Faction - War Thunder - MMORPG.com". MMORPG.com. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  28. ^ "Gamescom Combat helicopters in War Thunder". Warthunder.com.
  29. ^ "Combat helicopters are coming in War Thunder's next major update". Rockpapershotgun.com.
  30. ^ "War Thunder for PC". Metacritic. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  31. ^ "War Thunder for PlayStation 4". Metacritic. Retrieved 25 April 2017.
  32. ^ a b Saris, Shawn (6 May 2015). "War Thunder Review". IGN. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  33. ^ Zacny, Rob (7 August 2014). "War Thunder review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  34. ^ Lorenzi, Matteo (17 October 2013). "War Thunder – review". Eurogamer Italy (in Italian). Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  35. ^ a b Todd, Brett (8 July 2014). "War Thunder Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  36. ^ "Most planes in a flight simulation game". Guinness World Records. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  37. ^ "Most players online simultaneously on one Flight Simulation server". Guinness World Records. 3 November 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2015.

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