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War Thunder: Ground Forces goes live; “Keep one eye in the air and one eye on the ground”

A tank in War Thunder: Ground Forces considers the mountains, and prays to one day match their strength and fortitude.

“Our goal from the beginning with War Thunder was to create a game that allows players to safely experience the perils of a full scale world war,” said Gaijin Entertainment CEO Anton Yudintsev today.

He implies but does not say that Gaijin have now reached that alarming goal with the release of Ground Forces – the expansion that has earthed their fight-and-flight sim with tracked vehicles of all kinds.

“The rumble you hear in the distance, is the sound of many of our six million players launching their earth shaking attacks using heavily armored ground forces,” continued Yudintsev, evidently enjoying himself.

“Players who prefer aerial battles better keep one eye in the air and one eye on the ground because the Ground Forces Expansion has launched!”

So far Gaijin have rolled out – their wording, not ours – various vehicles in Soviet and German colours, with other nations set to turn up the dirt later. Dozens of light, medium and heavy tanks are available for the time being, as well as a selection of self-propelled artillery and anti-air guns.

The new anti-air capabilities will be crucial in the Combined Arms battles which mix the new war machines with their airborne counterparts. That’s really what this expansion is all about – but the mode is currently only accessible via the Custom Battles menu. Gaijin are waiting until enough players reach competitive levels with their ground forces before flicking the switch in Realistic and Simulation modes.

The developers reassure existing players that they have “not forgotten pilots and their needs”. 10 new planes join the tanks in today’s update, including the suddenly useful US Navy bomber PBJ-1H.

Does any of this stuff speak to the Battlefield divebomber in you?