World of Warplanes interview with Anton Sitnikau

GameZone had the opportunity to talk with the Producer of World of Warplanes, Anton Sitnikau, about the upcoming game, the decisions that went into it, and what players can expect from this aerial battle for supremacy of the skies.

GameZone: What inspired you to head into the world of planes with this game?

Anton Sitnikau: The decision to develop World of Warplanes was easy! There are a lot of folks at Wargaming, and on the World of Tanks development team, with a passion for aviation.  We also have a lot of vocal WoT users who were asking us to create a title focused on warbirds.

Based on the success of WoT, we decided to find a way to combine key game design elements that made WoT a smash-hit, with dozens of new features predetermined by air combat.  Our goal is to give gamers a chance to get an authentic flying experience and a chance to participate in fierce and challenging air battles.

GZ: World of Tanks has a ton of depth. As far as depth and upgrades for World of Warplanes, how does it compare to WoT?

Anton Sitnikau: Our team spent a lot of time researching each aircraft included in the game to ensure vehicles are historically realistic in terms of engines and other internal components.

Similar to WoT, all planes will be subject to upgrades and modifications, and you’ll get a chance to build your vehicle up piece by piece, changing engine parts and various modules to tap its full potential. Players will be able to tweak planes to match their flying styles. After upgrades, planes will change visually much more than tanks do. Every plane will have about 4 historically unique camouflages. Clan emblems, personal numbers and frags will be also displayed on the fuselage.

We devoted a great deal of time to the graphics, and it is paying off. The gameplay continues to evolve and look really beautiful. Ultimately, these and scores of other features will combine to bring a new level of beauty, detail, accuracy, and excitement to the sky combat.

GZ: How will crew be handled in World of Warplanes?

Anton Sitnikau: In WoT, your crew can be up to 6 people, but most aircrafts only have one pilot who performs a wide range of tasks. Because of that, the training process in WoWp will have a different pace: pilots will be able to level different skills at the same time, while the crew will enjoy a totally different set of skills.

GZ: Since it is a flying game, World of Warplanes will have to make use of an X and Y axis. Was it a hard transition going from a ground-based tank game into a flight game?

Anton Sitnikau: Those who firmly believe WoWp will be “like tanks, but about planes” will very soon get disappointed. In a good way, of course. Although they share the core principles, titles are vastly different. There are certain peculiarities connected with air combat that make game development more complicated than with tanks.  Every plane is in constant movement, the rate of fire is immense, and the situation on the battlefield changes so quickly it can be challenging to act fast. In a 3D space, players will need to constantly check vital parameters like the plane’s height and speed. And you won’t be able to stop the plane on a dime, hide, and sneak up to the enemy. There’ll be no time to carefully take aim or turn the turret. Instead, you’ll have to correctly turn and point the nose of your vehicle quickly and efficiently.  Given some luck, a heavily damaged machine in WoT can survive in a battle.  In WoWp you’ll have to keep an eye on your damaged warbird to ensure it doesn’t crash and burn.

GZ: How modern do the planes get in World of Warplanes? Any chance we get some F-14 Tomcats and pretend we're from Top Gun?

Anton Sitnikau: We deliberately chose this very particular period (from 1930s to 1950s). There's a couple of different aspects to that. It’s the Golden Age of military aeronautics, and many legendary aircrafts were built and tested in battles during this time.  Besides, at that time pilots had to rely on their skills only when operating a vehicle as there was not that much electronic equipment installed on the planes. As for the second part of your questions, F-14 and even F-4 are great planes, they won’t be in WoWp since they are from an entirely different age, and will adversely affect the game balance.

GZ: Can you tell us how the matchmaking will work?

Anton Sitnikau: In short, the matchmaking mechanism will balance vehicles to achieve fair combat conditions for players. The system will compile both teams to have equal chances to win. Also it will define the vehicle tiers for each team. After the release the game will feature different scenarios, so the system will pick vehicles with equipment, suitable for this or that scenario. A good example would be that if you have chosen torpedoes, you will be chosen for marine mission, not for bomber interception in a desert country.

GZ: Will players have ground targets to go after?

Anton Sitnikau: As far as a warbird can’t secure a base, World of Warplanes will be largely about destroying either ground or air enemy targets. For example, in one of the scenarios, you’ll have to support ally ground forces flying over the battlefield full of ally and enemy forces clashing on it. The objective here will be either to destroy all enemy aircrafts or a certain number of ground objects (vehicles, structures, etc).

GZ: Cover and strategy were a huge part of WoT when it came to the maps. Obviously, all of the fights take place in open air in World of Warplanes. What strategic elements will these maps contain that make them feel different?

Anton Sitnikau: Unlike WoT, the terrain in WoWp is more of a challenge, requiring more positional and tactical awareness to fight effectively. In WoWp you won’t have to spend hours flying around with only a few scenic views and weather conditions. Instead, you’ll get accurate maps with a variety of realistic terrain types. Players will fight over deserted areas and picturesque coastal towns, among mountain peaks and in tower-filled skies of some of the world’s largest cities. To draw titles together we’ll be introducing some WoT elements into WoWP maps. Due to the difference in size, WoT maps will turn into map sectors within WoWP and give players a chance to fly over the tank battlefields they know so well.

We will also introduce various weather effects (fog, snow, rain, hail and etc.) with multiple cloud schemes for each map that will alter the flight dynamics and ensure the game looks and feels as realistic as possible.

GZ: Any chance we get a World of Boats in the future that plays out like an insane game of Battleship?

Anton Sitnikau: Uh-huh! We've already announced World of Battleships, so huge steel monsters with huge guns are the next to come! Visit World of Battleships official web page to learn more about the project, vehicle classes and gameplay.

GZ: Is there anything else you'd like our viewers to know about World of Warplanes?

Anton Sitnikau: World of Warplanes Closed Beta Testing is scheduled for the first quarter of 2012, so you’ll get a chance to sign up for it and try out the game soon!

We thank Anton Sitnikau for taking the time to talk to us about WoWp.  Head over and check the game out for yourself, and check back for more coverage of World of Warplanes.

You can follow Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ