War Thunder is a multiplayer combat game on PC and consoles that lets players take control of tanks, ships and aircraft from various time periods and just go at it. And like many other games of this type—World of Tanks and Warships in particular—the in-game chat experience can sometimes be dreadful.
These kind of games, featuring these kinds of vehicles and conflicts, can predictably bring out the worst in a certain type of gamer, who can often be as interested in talking shit about people’s nationality as they are the game itself.
Current world events have meant that even in such notorious places, some moderation is in order. Gaijin Entertainment, the developers of War Thunder, have recently taken the decision to disable nearly all in-game communication between players, both text and voice.
“We’ve temporarily closed our in-game chat to make sure that it is not used for political discussions that might offend other players,” Gaijin said in a statement sent to Motherboard. “We’ve always stayed out of politics and we feel that it’s important that people from all over the world can have fun together in a safe space.”
Some basic communication tools remain, and those in the same squad can still use voice chat, but that’s about it. And before you wonder whether that move is perhaps a bit harsh, consider that players have been customising their tanks to support both Ukrainian and Russian forces. One of the players Motherboard spoke to said:
War Thunder players have said the lack of chat has made the game harder to play. “It’s annoying when I see torpedoes, for example, and can’t warn the guy next to me who is a lil blind,” Alex Diaz, a War Thunder player in the U.S. told Motherboard. “I also can’t call them filthy Russian murderers.”
There’s no word on when chat will return to the game. Contacted for further details, Gaijin had no further comment.