War Thunder‘s one of those games flying around in its own orbit. Lots of players — five million PC players currently in an open beta — not a lot of hype. The guys making it say that it’s the most popular aviation game ever, which might be why it was at today’s big PS4 event. But it’s also a game that’s exploiting the system’s capabilities in interesting ways, like letting you play like you do on a PC.
So far, the free-to-play WWII action simulator made by Gaijin Entertainment is the only PS4 game I’ve heard about that supports the use of a mouse and keyboard. And flight sticks. But that support isn’t of the plug-and-play variety. Gaijin president Anton Yudintsev told me that letting players use non-Dual Shock 4 input devices takes some effort from developers to do.” Mouse and keyboard play was possible on PS3 but it required special devices or converters to happen.
The PS4 version of War Thunder does some other intriguing things, too. It’s cross-platform, which means that PS4 players will be playing on the same servers as PC gamers. And it uses the PlayStation Eye camera for head-tracking, letting you change the viewpoint in the game simply by turning you face in a different direction. I didn’t get to see either the head-tracking or the
Planes are the main draw of War Thunder but playable tanks are coming soon. Dogfights aren’t about wearing down a aircraft’s hit meter. Rather, impacts on specific places can take someone out with the quickness. A well-placed bullet into the cockpit can kill a pilot, leaving the intact, otherwise unharmed plane without anyone to fly. Gajin’s hyper-researched title will also have more than 300 aircrafts — bombers, strike fighters, fighters — to control in single-player or multiplayer. Look for it to hit with a launch across Europe-first on 11/29.