Today, Wargaming has announced that it's bringing the World of Tanks franchise to a Nintendo console for the very first time; World of Tanks Blitz has Switch in its sights, and it's advancing on your position imminently.
If you’re not familiar with Wargaming (the company), you’re more than likely familiar with one of the developer's games - most likely the aforementioned team-based Massive Multiplayer Online series. World of Tanks has grown to become an enormous franchise over the last decade, so even if you've never played it, you'll surely have seen its accurately-modelled military hardware trundling over the internet at some point over the last ten years.
The rise of this military action series and the Belarusian company behind it is one of gaming's biggest success stories of recent years, so ahead of its arrival on Switch, we thought we'd discover a little bit more about the series' Nintendo console debut and take a brief look at its history.
World of Tanks Blitz Blasts On To Switch
It's taken a while, but World of Tanks Blitz is Wargaming's debut release on a Nintendo platform, launching globally (everywhere except China, that is) today. As with so many games, Switch is arguably the perfect fit for World of Tanks, too, offering the best of all worlds - the convenience of mobile with the comfort of the big screen experience.
The Switch version uses touch controls in handheld mode, as well as some handy gyro support for aiming which will be there from launch - no waiting for a gyro control patch here!
According to the makers, the game renders at 1080p while docked and runs at 30 fps however you choose to play. It supports cross-platform play between all devices it runs on (that's mobile, Switch and PC), with all players randomly matched and battling on the same server, regardless of the device you're playing on.
For those of you suffering with system memory shortage (probably thanks to all those tempting Switch eShop sales), World of Tanks Blitz is a relatively--and mercifully--slim download; Wargaming says it takes up less than 3 GB of space on your system memory or Micro SD card. The Switch version uses touch controls in handheld mode, as well as some handy gyro support for aiming which will be there from launch - no waiting for a gyro control patch here!
Obviously, the Switch version benefits from the years of updates and tweaks World of Tanks Blitz has received since launch. Beyond that, though, Switch players will be able to stand out in the crowd with an exclusive avatar and camo on the table, in addition to 1000 gold, a Tier II American Medium Tank and three days of access to a premium account.
And all for the entry price of zero USD / GBP / EUR / [insert your currency here] / luncheon vouchers / shiny buttons. You can't say fairer than that, can you? It might have passed us Nintendo gamers by for the past decade, but in terms of entry points into the world of Wargaming, the Switch version of World of Tanks Blitz is shaping up to be an effective little vehicle.
Origins of War(gaming)
Formed in Minsk back in August 1998, Wargaming has grown exponentially over the last two decades and acquired multiple studios across continents in that time; it currently has 17 offices worldwide. The company headquarters are located in Nicosia, Cyprus, and the entire enterprise is managed from a building that looks for all intents and purposes like Tony Stark's Mediterranean R&D centre:
Employing around 5000 people worldwide, it's certainly a big change from the company as it existed twenty years ago. Wargaming's first big venture was the turn-based strategy Massive Assault series on PC and Mac, which was followed by the Square Enix-published strategy WWII action game Order of War in 2009. However, things really took off with the developers next online endeavour and the launch of World of Tanks in 2010.
The PvP gameplay (15v15) put players in direct control of historically accurate vehicles on expansive battlefields and it proved to be a huge hit. Wargaming expanded quickly following the game's initial success; it opened offices around the globe and soon ventured into other theatres of war. Flight combat game World of Warplanes took off in 2013, followed by World of Warships in 2015, which took the military action series into the field of naval engagement.
World of Tanks is not just free-to-play, but 'free-to-win' - you're not going to lose because someone paid for a better cannon than you. Put the time and effort in to up your skill level and you can take on anyone
Being free-to-play online titles, every one of the 'World of' series has received substantial updates and additions over the years, continually honing the player experience, improving gameplay and generally making sure that each game is fighting fit for the front lines - the series made forays into the Esports arena in the mid-2010s.
Each game has its fans, but World of Tanks is the one which really captured players' imaginations. It focuses on mid-20th century military hardware spanning the 1930s to the 1960s, enabling players to customise their deadly rides with equipment upgrades, armour, weaponry and (of course) cosmetics, join clans and wage war in a variety of modes, all online.
The games feature an attention to detail which you might not expect given their free-to-play nature and the pace at which they've grown over the years. With hundreds of tanks and armoured vehicles to choose from, it seems Wargaming's dev teams strive to maintain that same painstaking level of accuracy when it comes to military minutiae, all while preserving that core gameplay that's kept millions of players gripped for over a decade now.
If you've never dipped your toe into the World of Tanks, it's certainly enough to make you wonder what all the fuss is about. That term 'free-to-play' is one that's likely to set alarm bells ringing, too, although it's also worth pointing out that World of Tanks is not just free-to-play, but 'free-to-win' - you're not going to lose because someone paid for a better cannon than you. Put the time and effort in to up your skill level and you can take on anyone on the battlefield. Obviously, Wargaming makes good money off microtransactions and premium accounts, but much like Epic's Fortnite and the other games that followed their lead in adopting a 'freemium' model, the gameplay relies on skill alone - you're not forced to pay a cent if you don't want to.
Following its success on PC, Wargaming was quick to branch onto other platforms, and the series has been on consoles for years now. World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition launched in 2014, followed by the Xbox One version in 2015 and PS4 the following year. World of Warships also came to Sony and Microsoft consoles.
World of Tanks Blitz is a 7v7 cross-platform variant featuring more than 25 battle arenas and over 370 armoured vehicles to choose from
Then there's the aforementioned World of Tanks Blitz, a streamlined mobile version of Wargaming's biggest hit to date. Far from simply a watered-down version of the 'main' game, World of Tanks Blitz is a 7v7 cross-platform variant featuring more than 25 battle arenas and over 370 armoured vehicles, injecting arcade accessibility into the series' serious real-time military action.
If proof were needed that it's not a diluted, feature-stripped mobile version, it's attracting 1.5 million players to engage in its ground-based battles on a daily basis, and has over 137 million downloads across all devices to date. It seems that World of Tanks Blitz has simply brought the series to a whole new audience... an audience that now includes Nintendo gamers.
World of Tanks Blitz launches on Switch eShop on 26th August 2020. It's free-to-download and requires an internet connection to play; it doesn't, however, require a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. We'll be taking its tanks and assorted armoured vehicles for a spin, so keep a close eye out for our review in due course.
In the meantime, let us know below if you're excited for the series' debut on Nintendo consoles, and if you've played it elsewhere.