Wargaming has developed a reputation for being an upstart developer and publisher, working hard to deliver unique action videogame experiences and generally not giving a damn whether or not you like them. Celebrating fifteen years of doing just that, the company is about to make a move that very few would have predicted: the hugely popular free-to-play PC experience World of Tanks is making its way to Xbox 360.
Developed by Wargaming West in Chicago, the forthcoming World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition is not a spin-off. It’s not ‘dumbed down’ and it’s not sped up for more immediate engagements. It’s the exact same balance of slow pace, tactical execution and aggressively dominant gameplay that made World of Tanks so popular on PC, and even at this early stage World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition looks set to be the reason you won’t want to sell your Xbox 360 when Xbox One arrives.
There’s no denying that the Xbox 360’s software line-up is looking increasingly stale. Despite their assertions otherwise there’s little to convince gamers that Microsoft Studios won’t abandon the Xbox 360 in the same fashion they did the original Xbox upon the launch of it’s successor. However, that’s not to say that third parties won’t want to stick around. The installed userbase for the Xbox 360 is a potential audience that simply can’t be ignored, and so it would only be a fool that would question Wargaming’s decision to aim for mass market over elitism. After all, it’s a very specific type of gamer who will warm to World of Tanks’ slower pace, and that audience will be more readily found on a console already primed for it rather than one looking solely for new experiences.
At its core World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition is a team based tactical experience in which players select their war machine before venturing onto the battlefield with a plan of action. Three gameplay modes exist but all match types will quickly come to an end should you manage to outgun your opponents. World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition does allow for up to thirty players to engage in a single battle, though Electronic Theatre’s experiences typically maxed out at four – this is a preview build, after all.
Despite this limitation it remains easy to see just how World of Tanks has proven so appealing to a large audience, and how Wargaming intend to replicate this success with World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition. The retro design of a player’s armoury demands that tactics outweigh accuracy, the map design calls for vision over pace and the drive for team-based gameplay over lone rangers means that pincer movements and flanking will always triumph over heroism. This is an online videogame made to be learned and played by gamers who love online competition.
The original PC edition of World of Tanks features six playable nationalities each with their own tech tree and a monetisation system that offers players the chance to speed up their progression rather than simply purchase the biggest guns on the battlefield. Though some balancing still needs to be ascertained by Wargaming – the Xbox 360 edition will remain entirely separate from the PC version – World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition is promising to deliver the same addictive experience on Xbox 360 as it did on PC. A closed beta is currently underway for World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition with a launch expected later this year, and Electronic Theatre will bring you a detailed hands-on from this live version in the near future.