PAX Australia is unlike any other gaming show in the Asia-Pacific region. For the last two years it’s been a celebration of games, from mainstream hits like Far Cry 4, to pen and paper affairs like Dungeons and Dragons.
Earlier this month I attended PAX Australia 2014, the second time Melbourne has hosted the prestigious gaming event and only the second time that a PAX show has been held outside the United States.
Of all the exhibitors at PAX Australia 2014, World of Tanks publisher, Wargaming.net, stood out from the crowd. They had a huge booth that dominated the main hall, the centrepiece of which was an actual tank.
Above the booth, massive screens showed off development videos from their upcoming naval battle game, World of Warships and all weekend there were live World of Tanks tournaments and competitions on the stage.
World of Tanks is a phenomenally successful multiplayer tank battle game that’s is now a mainstay of the competitive eSports gaming culture. Available on both PC and Xbox 360, two teams of tank commanders pilot their vehicles across a 3D landscape with the aim of outwitting and annihilating their opponents.
As well as the opportunity to play World of Tanks on PC and Xbox 360, PAX visitors also had the chance to try out the new World of Tanks Blitz mobile tank combat game, currently out on iOS with Android coming soon.
During the show I sat down with Wargaming.net’s product marketing manager, Max Chuvalov to talk about World of Tanks and where he saw the company going in the future.
Hi Max. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. How many players does World of Tanks have now?
Worldwide, more than 90 million on PC. That’s closer to 100 million all over the world for the three versions. We’ve got more than 5 million on Xbox and we’ve just launched World of Tanks Blitz on mobile and that already amounts to more than 8 million on iOS. We are about to launch an Android version of the game soon.
What’s your plans for the future with World of Tanks on PC?
From version 9.0 we started a huge campaign of improving the game. Things like better physics, new gaming modes and new tanks.
During 2014 our development team has been working on improvements to our particle engine. We already have things like turrets blowing up. Right now we are working on the destruction modelling for our environments. We are going to have full-scale destruction of buildings across all the maps. The maps are being reworked right now to include destructible environments.
We are also working very heavily on different gaming modes. We have already released three time-limited game modes an April Fools Day mode, for the World Cup we released football mode and the latest one was racing mode. For the racing mode we had a championship with over 200,000 players taking part. So it was a big achievement for us. We are currently working on the next time-limited mode for the game.
Could you tell me a bit about what’s happened with World of Warplanes?
War of Warplanes is out around the world but hasn’t been released in Asia. To be frank, it was not as successful as World of Tanks. There is a higher difficulty curve with the 3D environment. People know how to drive tanks because they drive cars, it’s the same with ships. But planes are very hard to control, at first, and players were fighting with their own vehicles before they started to fight against the enemy.
So this is why we are not going to launch the World of Warplanes in Asia, right now. We are still working on different prototypes to improve the player experience, to make the game more arcade-like, and easier to comprehend. So when we feel that we are ready we can probably launch it in Asia.
What about World of Warships, are we still on track to get that in Australia and New Zealand?
For the Asian region, including Australia and New Zealand, our next game is World of Warships. Right now it’s in early alpha. The gameplay will be completely different from Tanks and Warplanes.
The feedback so far has been pretty good from our alpha testers. Next year there will be a global launch in all region with a week’s lag between them.
Certainly, from what I’ve seen of it the ship models in World of Warships look incredible. So I’m looking forward to it. So, are there any plans to bring any more of your games to consoles?
We have the former Day 1 studios in Chicago, who are now Wargaming West, working on World of Tanks for Xbox 360. Right now we don’t have plans to port our other games. World of Warplanes is a game that we are not yet confident as to whether it’s worth it or not it to justify the work. But with World of Warships, we are going to release on PC and then if it is well-received by the market, we may consider porting it.
Something for console owners to perhaps look out for in the future. Thanks again for your time, Max.
World of Tanks is out now and is free-to-play on PC and Xbox 360. World of Tanks Blitz is available on now on iOS mobile devices with Android coming soon. World of Warships will be out on PC next year.