Self-consciously noisy air-biffing sim War Thunder has done very well for itself. It stole its thunder from World of Warplanes a year ago, upstaging Wargaming.net’s own plane game with a forgiving flight model and the distant promise of seamless surface-to-air-and-back-again battling.
Since then, it's done well enough that developers Gaijin can plonk the following on billboards and placards and email subject lines: “FROM ZERO TO 5 MILLION PLAYERS IN ONE YEAR!”
Just to be clear - that’s since War Thunder launched, in open beta. There was no embarrassing period when passing tumbleweeds blushed to each other in empty hangars. War Thunder launched, 100 new virtual planes were built, and somewhere along the way five million players attached themselves to the game.
The figure’s especially impressive once you consider that the beta was Russian-only until January. By way of celebration, Gaijin have arranged for extra post-match rewards to be doled out after Golden Battles on November 3 and 10.
“This is a good chance for all players to improve their balance and get a unique decal to decorate their planes!”, pointed out CEO Anton Yudintsev. “To those who have served, and to those who continue to step up to answer the call of duty in War Thunder – we salute you!”
Elsewhere in the press release Anton inhabits, War Thunder is referred to as a ‘next-gen MMO’, which left me frowning momentarily - until I remembered that it’s been picked up by Sony as a PlayStation 4 launch title, no less. It’s also in development for Mac, and Oculus Rift support is halfway there.
For the best part of a month, though, the only place you’ll be able to play it is here on PC, after a wee download from the official War Thunder website. Or perhaps you’ve done that already?