After months of speculation spent wondering exactly what Gran Turismo Sport would be, Polyphony Digital have unveiled the next iteration of their award-winning franchise to the general public. Not quite a Prologue installment, and not quite a full-featured entry, the first attempt at a next-generation Gran Turismo title already isn’t sitting well with people. PRC.net reader Tim S. has sent in a brief Reader Submission to us, outlining his thoughts on the hodgepodge of a product Polyphony have created – a title that appears to demonstrate the Gran Turismo series is on a steady decline.
Hello PRC.net. I was wondering if you’d feel like writing down your thoughts on the Gran Turismo Sport event yesterday. I know it’s a console racer, but you write about Forza Motorsport as well so I thought why not?
There’s a lot of material out there for a lengthy article on the slow but steady demise of Polyphony and the figure of Kaz in recent years. Yesterday during their event in London, they first started pumping out beautiful shots from their photo mode (no idea how they get it to look that good, but I suspect they use real life images and render them or something), so everyone got quite excited at the prospect of a next-generation Gran Turismo that would finally deliver.
But then shortly afterwards, the livestream started, and people saw actual gameplay footage. The graphics looked almost the same as Gran Turismo 6, and all of a sudden, cars were bouncing of barriers and each other in typical Polyphony Digital fashion. Engine sounds were not improved yet again and, there was horrible tire squealing effects. And all of that appeared to come with a dramatically reduced car count to boot. I mean, what have they been doing over these past three years? Of course, because they’re flying under the Sony banner, the cooperation with the FIA, millions of sales are guaranteed thanks to the marketing campaign, but is this really supposed to be the flagship racer on PS4? I’m not very impressed…
I’m not well-versed in all things Gran Turismo, so my opinion of this offering is relatively moot compared to what the longtime fans over at GTPlanet will have to say. I was never a Sony console guy when these games were considered new and innovative, so unlike many of our readers here at PRC.net, I don’t have fond memories of grinding through Gran Turismo 4 for some exclusive prize car, nor was I ever interested in the title enough to ask for a PS2 in the first place. I will say though, that I understand there’s indeed a bit of an aura surrounding the first four entries in the series – Gran Turismo 2, 3, and especially 4 – seem to be held in high regard by practically everyone who’s invested any amount of time into them. From what I’ve been able to gather as an outsider, these games were utterly phenomenal for their time – but they remain very stuck in their respective years. A game like Gran Turismo 4 wouldn’t be very good, for example, if it were to be re-released in 2014 with a few new cars and tracks.
I’m not sure if I’m making a joke there or not.
What I believe happened, and this comes from reading various sim racing forums regarding the topic over a period of multiple years, is that Kaz didn’t handle the development of the PS3 titles as well as he could have, and it sort of left the series permanently in limbo – a butterfly effect. He needed to follow up Gran Turismo 4 with something even more spectacular, and he wasn’t able to. That set off a chain reaction of events where it’s almost as if Kaz felt defeated by the superior Forza franchise combined with the dismal response to Gran Turismo 5, and Gran Turismo as a franchise was now serving a relic of the early days of sim racing. When you compare it to a rock band, it’s a series of events that’s completely understandable, though not always the greatest thing for fans to deal with. There was no possible way Metallica could follow up the Black Album, so they just sort of did nothing for a bit, and re-appeared a few years later with all sorts of things people didn’t particularly care for. Kaz, and Gran Turismo as a series, are currently in the Load era. It’s unfortunate that it’s gone on for far too long.
I own Gran Turismo 6, and it’s not a game I’m inclined to invest any serious amount of time in. The load times are brutal, the vehicle selection is massive but not diverse, grinding through career just isn’t fun in 2016, the AI may as well be replaced with dynamic traffic cones, and none of the vehicles available are all that close in performance to their real world counterparts. I’m not here to say Forza is better – I’m just as bored playing Forza as I am with Gran Turismo, but GT6 is not a very inspiring game.
I watched a fair bit of preview footage, and although I like the concept of basing the new entry primarily around organized online racing, the experience itself doesn’t look all that exhilarating. I don’t feel the need to buy a PlayStation 4 just for this game. In fact, I don’t feel like I’ll be missing out if I don’t buy this game. A livery editor? Congratulations on entering 2007, Polyphony. GT3 cars attacking a small NASCAR-inspired track that’s totally not Bristol? Come on guys, that doesn’t even make for good racing! Photo mode at a selection of high resolution static locations? What’s the point of this feature, exactly?
Then the trailer just sort of ends after about three minutes. As a viewer, I wasn’t all that aware of what was supposed to be exciting, innovative, or a reason I should purchase the game. Maybe more info will come out in time, but you’re right, it all looked like Gran Turismo 6.