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War Thunder dev apologizes for using image of Challenger tragedy

War Thunder developer Gaijin Entertainment has apologized for using an image from the 1986 Challenger disaster in a new piece of key art.

War Thunder Challenger disaster apology: an olive green tank

War Thunder developer Gaijin Entertainment has apologized for accidentally using footage from the 1986 Challenger disaster in a piece of key art. The maker of the military combat game just dropped the new ‘Seek and Destroy’ update filled with new vehicles, quality-of-life changes, and fixes, but one piece of promotional art directly lifts the smoke and contrails left behind after the tragic space shuttle explosion.

Concept art for the new Seek and Destroy update features an image of a fighter jet during aerial combat. In the background is the aftermath of an explosion – a distinctive pattern, which users on the game’s Reddit forums recognized from footage of the Challenger disaster that killed all seven of the space shuttle’s crew in 1986. War Thunder developer Gaijin has issued an apology claiming that the image was part of an “explosion reference” pack used by the team. The artwork will be changed as soon as possible according to Gaijin, with plans being put into place to avoid another incident like this in the tank game’s future.

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“Hey, guys. We have accidentally used the explosion from the Challenger disaster in one of our key art images. Please accept our sincere apologies for this. The picture was part of an aerial explosion reference pack used by our artists and the context was lost,” community manager ‘magazine2’ says in the War Thunder forums.

War Thunder Challenger disaster apology: a forum message from the War Thunderteam apologizing for using the Challenger explosion

“We’ll be altering this artwork as soon as we can and will take measures to ensure that this doesn’t repeat again in the future,” the Hungarian studio adds.

In January 1986 the Challenger space shuttle broke apart a minute into its flight. The launch was seen in schools live across the United States due to the ‘Teacher In Space’ program, with the white smoke and contrails from the explosion a well-known visual from the disaster.

You can see the smoke used as part of the War Thunder key art below, in the bottom left of the image.

War Thunder Challenger disaster apology: key art for War Thunder seek and destroy, with the challenger explosion in the bottom left

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