War Thunder, the popular WWII-themed plane combat game, now has integrated support for the HTC Vive, and it works great.

War Thunder developer Gaijin has been experimenting with virtual reality since the early Rift days. Early versions of War Thunder’s Rift support left much to be desired in terms of technical integration; tracking, scale, and design issues made the experience uncomfortable.

Now we’re happy to report that not only has the company added support for the HTC Vive, but War Thunder’s overall VR integration is mostly flawless, letting players enjoy being immersed inside of the game’s hundreds of authentic WWII plane cockpits. The game will also be a launch title for PlayStation VR, according to Gaijin.

war thunder htc vive gaijin (1)

Curiously, to enable the HTC Vive in War Thunder, you need to make sure to check the ‘Oculus Rift’ box in the game’s launcher menu. This will indeed activate support for whichever of the two headsets you’re using, but the company needs to rename the option to something more generic, having just recently built in Vive support.

With the Vive and Rift’s improved resolution compared to prior headsets, this is the first generation of devices where playing War Thunder in VR feels truly practical, as the resolution is good enough that you can clearly see the thin crosshairs when aiming through a plane’s sights, as well as spot the silhouettes of enemy planes on the horizon.

war thunder htc vive virtual reality (1)

As an added bonus, the game’s many tanks can also be piloted in virtual reality, but the experience isn’t quite as solid without the detailed interiors of the game’s planes. The game places your virtual view floating fairly high above the tank. Your view also turns when the tank turns, which doesn’t make for a particularly comfortable experience. Gaijin says the VR support for tanks is still early and they hope to make more improvements as they go.

'Vi' Wants You to Build Muscle with XR Gloves & (eventually) Its Fitness-first Headset

war thunder htc vive virtual reality (2)

The studio is also thinking about adding new VR features to War Thunder. Gaijin’s Alexander Trifonov said one idea that the company is floating is a sort of virtual museum/showroom that would let players check out the game’s many plane models from the outside. Trifonov said that seeing the planes at scale is an exciting prospect for many of the game’s dedicated players, and one that can really change people’s perception of these classic aircraft.

war thunder htc vive gaijin (2)

Trifonov also confirmed that Gaijin is working to bring VR support to Crossout, the company’s latest game which is currently in closed alpha. Meanwhile Star Conflict, Gaijin’s space dogfighting game, is still lacking support for the Vive and the latest version of the Rift, though Trifonov said both were in the works.

Newsletter graphic

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. More information.

Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Sam Illingworth

    Sweet! This was one of the Rift exclusives I was interested in :)

    Is this the game that’s free?

  • Pete

    Awesome! Thanks for posting.

  • sirlance

    Great…more and more games …keep em coming….although I’m hooked and hell bent on getting top score on the lab archery game…I could imagine a multiplayer version with 4 archers in each corner….very similar to atari’s warlords

  • Sam Illingworth

    What if you don’t want to play particularly competitively? Is there just a mess around mode?

  • Ron Westerduin

    Terrible HTC Vive visuals……just terrible.

    • Eric Lavallee

      how so explain yourself

    • mpd

      Cause he’s a Rift user.