Preview: World of Tanks Blitz and World of Tanks General

After the explosive success of FTP MMO World of Tanks, what’s next for

The past two years have been a whirlwind for the biggest little gaming company you never heard of, In the time since the launch of World of Tanks (the player vs. player title that pits various armored vehicles against one another in battle), they've doubled their staff to over 1500 employees, opened three new offices across Europe and, most notably, acquired studios BigWorld and Gas Powered Games. To that effect their network of games has broadened into new areas and platforms, offering fresh gameplay experiences set within the vast World of Tanks universe while remaining firmly esconced in the free to play MMO genre that secured their success.

This past GDC I was given a look into their family of titles and what the future has in store, including two games that promise to shake up the standard "World of…" format by treading into mobile and browser territory.

The first title I was shown was World of Tanks Blitz, the mobile and tablet version of the World of Tanks, which boosted the company to fame just two short years ago. While undoubtedly a smaller version of the PC epic (which earned the world record for most players on an MMO server in 2011), it still retains the heart of the original, allowing players to utilize a wide range of armored vehicles, but this time in 7 player vs. player battles designed as short interactions more ideal for the mobile platform. Available tanks include medium, heavy, and destroyer tanks. The game is also part of the entire World of Tanks universe, allowing you to use your ID to sign-in and keep track of your account.

I was allowed to play World of Tanks Blitz on the iPad 3 for a few minutes and found the controls smooth and responsive; the tanks' scope and aim are utilized with on-screen directional pads that I had no trouble adapting to. While I found the textures a bit lacking, the high definition of the iPad 3 served the graphics well, and I found the visual experience a pleasant one. You can get a glimpse of what I was privy to in our gallery of screen shots below. As yet their is no release date announced.

While visiting the booth I was also shown World of Tanks Generals, an HTML 5 browser based game that shifts the focus to card-based combat. Designed to be enjoyable both for fans of either card games or World of Tanks, World of Tanks Generals uses the stats and specifications of the tanks in the standard PC game, allowing players to use the knowledge they acquired in the MMO as a foundation for strategizing the card game. It features over 220 collectible cards, with units ranging from tanks, artillery, and infantry, with special bonus cards granting additional firepower or defenses. It also promises several single and multiplayer modes, with players choosing from battle scenarios taken from historical conflicts and fighting for dominance on the global map as they seek to destroy their enemy's headquarters.

As with Blitz, there is no release date yet announced. A glimpse of the cards can be seen in our gallery below.

While speaking with the Wargaming team about the historical accuracy of the games, I was struck by the enormous amount of thought and research that went into their development process. Stay tuned for my later interview with World of Tanks designer Sergey Burkatovskyi as we delve into that creative process and what that entails.