War Thunder

War Thunder is a vehicular combat multiplayer video game developed and published by the Moscow video game developer studio Gaijin Entertainment. Announced in 2011, it was first released in November 2012 as an open beta with a worldwide release in January 2013; it had its official release on 21 December 2016.[13][12] It has a cross-platform format for Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Shield Android TV.

War Thunder
War Thunder PSN Cover Art 2015 Playstation 4.png
War Thunder Cover Art for the Playstation 4.
Developer(s)Gaijin Entertainment
Publisher(s)Gaijin Entertainment
Tencent Games (China)
Composer(s)Georgy Zheryakov
Alexander Chorni
Zahar Antonov
EngineDagor Engine Edit this on Wikidata
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4[2]
Xbox One[3][4]
PlayStation 5
Xbox Series X/S
Genre(s)Action, vehicular combat, combat flight simulator
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Developed as a "flying simulation game", it was previously named World of Planes but due to its similarity with Wargaming's World of Warplanes it was changed to its present name in 2012.[14][15] Initially, Gaijin claimed after the game was announced that it was an April Fools joke before confirming its existence in June that same year.[16] Since then, Gaijin has continued a yearly tradition to prepare unconventional events for April Fools' Day.

War Thunder won several awards following its release, winning Best Simulation Game at the Gamescom 2013 Awards as well as winning Best Game, Best Developer, Best Technology and Best Sound at the KRI 2013 Awards.[17][18] The game also holds two Guinness World Records, for having the "most planes in a flight simulation game" and "most players online simultaneously on one Flight Simulation server".[19][20] As of 2019, War Thunder is among the most played games on Steam with over 25,000 concurrent players.[21]


War Thunder is based around combined arms battles on air, land, and sea. According to the game's creative director Kirill Yudintsev, it is the only game that encompasses all three of these experiences in one gameplay session.[22] Vehicles range from the interwar period and the Spanish Civil War to the Iraq war and beyond, with an emphasis on World War II.[23][24][25] Players can control aircraft, ground vehicles and warships from various nations, the major ones including the USA, Germany, Britain, Japan and the USSR. The game itself is divided into three main categories: Aviation, Ground and Fleet with game modes divided between Arcade, Realistic and Simulator that offer different styles of battle.[26] In Aviation, gameplay is restricted to aircraft without helicopters whereas Ground Forces and Fleet will include their respective vehicle types of ground vehicles and warships alongside aircraft. A single player mode is available focusing on historical settings as well as a cooperative mode against AI ground vehicles and aircraft.[26]

Arcade BattlesEdit

In this mode, the game draws two teams of players (of up to 16 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 bombs and shells would land and showing whether shells would penetrate the opponent's vehicles or not. All player-controlled vehicles, AI-controlled vehicles, and ground targets are labeled clearly as friend or foe in this 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.

Realistic BattlesEdit

Previously called Historical Battles, this mode is designed for more advanced players, and offers more realistic physics, damage modeling and offers better rewards, but is also a more difficult mode requiring more skill and wit in engagements. while retaining some of the simplistic elements of the interface and controls of Arcade Battles. For the majority of matches in this mode, players are selected to have only collaborating nations on each team (Axis powers and Allied powers),a making it possible to recreate real scenarios, such as the Battle of Stalingrad between the Soviet Union and Germany.

In Air Realistic Battles, players do not have the option to respawn. Once ammunition or armaments are depleted, aircraft are required to land at their airfield to rearm, refuel and repair. 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.

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. These capture points are essential for ground units to repair without the parts modification or to restock on ammunition. 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).

Simulator BattlesEdit

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.

Custom BattlesEdit

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.[27] 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.[28] The year before, a new game mode called "Unrealistic Battles" featured inflated rubber tanks firing potatoes and carrots.[29] Other notable examples include "March to Victory", introducing playable Mecha composed of tank parts;[30] "The Pony Nation" introducing the world of My Little Pony as a sixth playable faction (2013);[31] , and "Gaijilla" was a battle against a giant Godzilla-like snail (2014).[32]

World War ModeEdit

A game mode in which squadrons battle in short campaigns from various wars. Every victory or loss will be reflected in the map.[33]

Enduring ConfrontationEdit

Usually run as an event enduring confrontation allows for unlimited re-spawns costing the player in game currency and "spawn points" if spawning a more capable vehicle. rather than having a single or a few objectives players are constantly given new objectives such as maintaining air supremacy in a certain zone or destroying enemy reconnaissance aircraft. Enduring confrontation is available for fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and naval vessels but not ground vehicles. Currently air simulator battles run almost entirely in the enduring confrontation format.


War Thunder at IgroMir 2013
War Thunder at gamescom 2014

Early development and closed betaEdit

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.[34]

Open beta and releaseEdit

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.[35] Later added were the American,[36] British,[37] 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.[38]

As of 2019, Italy, France, China, and Sweden have been added as playable factions.[39][40] At gamescom 2018, the planned addition of helicopters into the game was announced, and as of late 2018, helicopters have been fully implemented.[41][42]


Aggregate score
MetacriticPC: 81/100[43]
PS4: 76/100[44]
XONE: 80/100[45]
Review scores
PC Gamer (US)78/100[49]
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)[50]
  • Most players online simultaneously on one Flight Simulation server (2014)[51]

At release, War Thunder was well-received with generally positive reviews. GameSpot praised it for its variety of airplanes and visuals,[47] whereas IGN criticized the user interface for being "overly abundant and cumbersome" in contrast to the "sparse in-battle HUD".[48]

See alsoEdit

  Media related to War Thunder at Wikimedia Commons


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  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.
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  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.
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  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. ^ a b "War Thunder is now released!". warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 13 March 2020. We are proud to announce the official release of our game. As we have completed all the goals we set ourselves in the early stages of development, the open beta-testing of War Thunder ends with update 1.65 “Way of the Samurai”, an update which also brings Japanese ground forces, cockpits for all aircraft, and heaps of improvements and bugfixes.
  13. ^ Stapleton, Dan (9 June 2011). "No joke: World of Planes flight sim MMO is real". pcgamer.com. PC Gamer. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  14. ^ Papadopoulos, John (7 March 2012). "World of Planes renamed to War Thunder: World of Planes; new screenshots released". dsogaming.com. Dark Side of Gaming. Retrieved 13 March 2020. There was a lot of confusion between Gaijin’s World of Planes and Wargaming.net’s World of Warplanes. Thankfully, Gaijin decided to rename their title and it’s now called War Thunder: World of Planes.
  15. ^ Reahard, Jef (17 June 2011). "Gaijin announces World of Planes MMO". engadget.com. EN GADGET. Retrieved 13 March 2020. Gaijin's press release calls World of Planes a "flying simulation game," and the company will be drawing on its previous genre experience thanks to titles like Wings of Prey and Wings of Luftwaffe.
  16. ^ Stapleton, Dan (9 June 2011). "No joke: World of Planes flight sim MMO is real". pcgamer.com. PC GAMER. Retrieved 14 March 2020. They all laughed back on April 4, when PC Gamer posted a story on World of Planes , an exciting massively multiplayer WWII flight sim from Wings of Prey developer Gaijin Entertainment...which Gaijin revealed on their forums to be a joke. Yeah yeah, we fell for it. Very funny. Well, who's laughing now? That's right: Gaijin checked in today to say that World of Planes [update: not to be confused with Wargaming.net's just-announced World of Warplanes ] is not, in fact, an April Fools joke, but a real game about planes and the wonderful world they fly in.
  17. ^ "Gamescom 2013 Awards – Best Simulation". psu.com. PSU. 27 August 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2020. The Winner – War Thunder: The demo of the PlayStation 4 launch title War Thunder was lauded at Gamescom 2013 for its explosive World War II aerial battles.
  18. ^ "War Thunder gets KRI awards!". warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. 19 May 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2020. War Thunder gets four prizes of the Russia’s biggest gaming conference KRI 2013 (Russian Game Developer's Conference)! War Thunder and Gaijin Entertainment have been awarded in four nominations of KRI 2013: Best Game, Best Game Developer, Best Technology, Best Sound.
  19. ^ "Most planes in a flight simulation game". guinnessworldrecords.com/. Guinness World Records. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2020. The most planes in a flight simulation game is 303, and was achieved by Gaijin Entertainment (Russia) for the game War Thunder (Gaijin Entertainment, 2013), in Moscow, Russia, on 22 January 2013.
  20. ^ "Most players online simultaneously on one Flight Simulation server". guinnessworldrecords.com/. Guinness World Records. 3 November 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2020. The most players online simultaneously on one flight simulation server is 71,502, on the server of War Thunder (Gaijin Entertainment, 2013) at 21:20 on 3 November 2013.
  21. ^ Palumbo, Alessio (27 December 2019). "Steam Reveals Top Selling and Most Played Games of 2019". wccftech.com. wccftech. Retrieved 14 March 2020. Most Played Steam Games - Over 25K Concurrent Players: War Thunder
  22. ^ Bradford, Joseph (14 November 2019). "War Thunder 7th Anniversary Exclusive Interview with Creative Director Kirill Yudintsev". mmorpg.com/. mmorpg. Retrieved 16 March 2020. Yes, there are other standalone games about World War 2 era tanks or about modern jets or about one specific helicopter. We have made these types of games before. But War Thunder is the only game that encompasses all of these gameplay experiences. It allows you to jump from a tank to a fighter jet in one gameplay session.
  23. ^ "About the Game". Warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
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  26. ^ a b Harradence, Michael (2 October 2019). "War Thunder PS4 & Xbox One Cross-Play Is Still Being Looked At". psu.com. Playstation Universe. Retrieved 16 March 2020. Players can take part in different styles of battles depending on their preferences, including Arcade, Realistic, and Simulation matches.
  27. ^ "[Special] Earth Thunder: We are not their playthings!". Warthunder.com. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  28. ^ "Naval combat setting sail in War Thunder". Gamereactor.eu. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
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  31. ^ Sethisto (1 April 2013). "War Thunder Adds the Pony Nation". Equestria Daily. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
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  33. ^ "[Development] World War Mode". warthunder.com. Retrieved 2020-03-31.
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  40. ^ Ford, Suzie. "Italy Joining the Fight as the Sixth Playable Faction - War Thunder - MMORPG.com". MMORPG.com. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  41. ^ "Gamescom Combat helicopters in War Thunder". Warthunder.com.
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External linksEdit