A Little Bit More About Gran Turismo Sport

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The world now knows a little more about Gran Turismo Sport for the PlayStation 4, and not everyone will be satisfied by the change in direction made by Polyphony Digital. A steady stream of preview footage and press events have given way to a lengthy Motorsport.com article detailing the first steps of Gran Turismo into the current console generation – steps which may possibly alienate a major portion of the series’ core audience. A hardcore auto racing franchise with humble beginnings dating back to the mid 1990’s, rising to prominence not once, but twice, and eventually falling to Forza Motorsport’s daring attempts at innovation, Kazunori Yamauchi will now be attempting to drastically re-invent the series through the use of heavy online racing functionality. For a franchise known best for providing an offline automotive sandbox to the average car enthusiast, it’s going to be a challenging road ahead for the folks at Polyphony Digital. Not everyone will like this game.

The Motorsport.com article, provided you haven’t taken the time to skim through the piece linked in the above paragraph, paints a tremendously different picture of Gran Turismo Sport than the half-finished beta builds revealed to the public over the past month or so depicted. Gran Turismo Sport will not be a traditional Gran Turismo title with a reduced car count akin to 2001’s Gran Turismo 3; Kaz has decided that eSports are the future of gaming, and will be more or less abandoning the traditional Gran Turismo offline progression in favor of an iRacing-like virtual motorsports structure. From what I’ve been able to extrapolate from the preview piece, GT Sport will blend a soft and generic platter of traditional offline single player gameplay with a heavily organized online racing environment. Yes, you’ll still have to earn credits to buy cars, there will still be a fancy photo mode for the artistically inclined sim racers, and the series’ notoriously bland artificial intelligence is set to make a return, but they are no longer the core focus of the Franchise.

There will be weekly, broadcasted online races, featuring the top racers around the world. In fact, online events will be the main way to progress through the game, operating like an endless virtual racing league rather than a linear campaign to be completed and discarded once the end credits roll. There will be both a safety rating and skill rating system equivalent to what PC sim racers are familiar with in iRacing – judging not only your finishing position, but how often you’re involved in on-track incidents. The traditional mammoth car roster seen in past Gran Turismo titles has been chopped up and split into just four distinct classes, reflecting what’s currently popular in modern auto racing while still offering a vast array of brands and models in each discipline: Prototypes, GT3 entries, WRC-spec Rally Cars, and Exotic Supercars. If this sounds like Polyphony’s take on iRacing for the PlayStation 4, that’s because it is.

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And like iRacing – but taking things a step further – Polyphony Digital have partnered with the FIA to somehow make your own personal progress in Gran Turismo Sport count towards a real-world racing license. No, you will not be whisked away from your job cleaning Wal-Mart toilets and thrown into a GT3-spec Nissan GTR plastered in Polyphony Digital stickers upon completing a notoriously difficult Gran Turismo license test, but for those aspiring to attain some sort of local SCCA or lower level FIA racing certification, achievements in Gran Turismo Sport are said to be of relevance. This is something I’m not too clear on how Polyphony is going to implement, and not sure why specific Gran Turismo experience would be all that necessary.

For lower level racing licenses, provided you’ve got a car on the trailer prepared to go through tech inspection, you can pretty much head to the racer’s entry gate and buy yourself a competition license. The track ownership will obviously be skeptical of you, would have preferred if you’d gone through a proper training course, and promptly tell you not to come back if you stuff it into the barrier during your first practice session, but Polyphony makes this process seem totally out of reach for all but the few resident millionaires among us. And provided you’re interested in acquiring any sort of racing license, your local track will most likely have one, two, or three day school programs for the price of picking up a PlayStation 4, Gran Turismo Sport, and any one of several PS4-compatible racing wheels. I get that Polyphony is trying to “bridge the gap” between sim racing and real life, but as someone who’s actually gone out and found a ride at his local short track, you need one thing: money. Even if this whole Gran Turismo Sport/FIA deal nets you some sort of proper racing certification, you’re still going to need money to find your ass a car to race. GT Sport won’t do that, making the whole partnership a bit of a moot point.

And if you’ve got the money for a car, most racing schools allow you to take your own car, again making this all pointless. If you’ve got some kind of Spec Miata sitting in the garage, your three or four buddies helping your ass out would probably like you to get seat time in the real thing they helped build, rather than be told “it’s cool man, I was on Gran Turismo all night!”

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However, aside from that little blip, I think it’s not a bad idea to get excited for Gran Turismo Sport. This is a franchise that, aside from a very competent driving model under the hood, was dying a very slow and painful death due to Yamauchi’s inability to innovate past game progression mechanics of the late 1990’s. Gran Turismo fans may loathe me for saying this, but once Polyphony Digital  shocked the world on the original PlayStation with GT2, Kaz and his team of developers essentially kept milking the same basic game across three console generations. Gran Turismo 2 may have been a landmark automotive simulation, Gran Turismo 4 was undeniably the best driving game on the PlayStation 2, but the worldwide success of Forza Motorsport called for Polyphony to release more than just two high resolution texture updates for the PlayStation 3.

Kaz needed to innovate in a big way, and given how many hardcore sim racers have flocked to iRacing on Windows operating systems, outright refusing to try anything else thanks to how incredible the online structure of iRacing can be – even on it’s worst days – Kaz was right to try and bring a similar experience to the PlayStation 4.

But will Gran Turismo fans enjoy this?

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I don’t claim to be this huge Gran Turismo aficionado, nor have I spent any serious time with the first four titles – often regarded to be the best of the bunch – but I’m aware of how people are playing Gran Turismo. There’s a damn good physics engine under the hood, but sim racers aren’t flocking to this title for a very specific reason: Gran Turismo has never been a hardcore racing simulator; it’s an automotive sandbox with realistic physics. Not every Gran Turismo fan rushes out to acquire the latest and greatest Logitech wheel associated with it nor do all of them have the patience for the game’s extremely demanding endurance races.

Your average Gran Turismo fan will grind through the single player component of the game enough to the point where they can by a few cars of their choice, experiment for a bit, return to Career Mode in pursuit of more credits, visit the virtual car dealership again, and mess around with the various gameplay modes until they’ve felt they’ve seen enough of what Gran Turismo has to offer. And it’s cool, because Gran Turismo is built in such a way where this kind of play style doesn’t affect one’s enjoyment of the title.

But a lot of the longtime fans are expecting a similar experience out of a next-generation Gran Turismo release – maybe with a few bells and whistles to bring it on-par with Forza and they’re not going to get it. They’re going to receive a racing sim which punishes them and impedes their progress for not adhering to a strict style of play and on-track respect. Some may find the increased emphasis on competitive online racing just what they were looking for, but judging by the driving talent displayed in your average YouTube Gran Turismo upload, most are going to be left utterly frustrated at what Gran Turismo has turned into.

That’s an approach by Polyphony Digital that I personally don’t mind, and a lot of sim racers will see GT Sport as a great reason to dust off their PlayStation 4, but it may leave a lot of Gran Turismo fans – individuals who have stuck with the series since its inception – firmly out in the cold. My crystal ball presents a future where Gran Turismo Sport is praised by the people who once rejected the series, and loathed by the fans who once adored it.

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45 thoughts on “A Little Bit More About Gran Turismo Sport

  1. While I don’t care much for this kind of game, I can see it being a cool idea for those that do like it. It looks like it’ll bring cleaner racing to console racers which isn’t a bad thing, although I don’t care much for online racing on console.

    I’ll still be waiting for GT7 as I still believe it’s eventually coming and until then I’m good with Forza on xbox and pCars 1, 2 and R3E on PC.

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  2. They said that GT Sport is a racing game for those who aren’t looking for realistic physics, but something between arcade and realistic simulations, so they can get the experience of what sort of goes on in the real world of racing, yet they want to turn this into an eSport with FIA contributing to it. Static weather to improve quality of graphics, seems like PS4 can’t handle what xbone can with Forza MS 5.

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  3. GT Sport is probably the most important racing game of this century. It is the moment sim racing either becomes viable or not. It is the moment racing simulators either become relevant or are resigned to being graphics masturbating games and old man simulators for 500 players. It may even be an important moment for auto racing as a whole so you can sell all those twitch kids on the fun of driving cars instead of pining over self driving electric snoremobiles and complaining about anyone who doesn’t treat road vehicles like single passenger trains (Kaz sure thinks so)

    For all their big talk, iRacing is too small and unprofitable and even an iRacing “world championship” is about as relevant as a local track championship in both viewer numbers and prize money. Putting that model in a first party console game with an actual marketing budget and the ability to properly show off their competitions is the ideal scenario. A Gran Turismo with proper online competition is a game I have been waiting for over a decade and nothing else has managed to replace.

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  4. gt4 was actually pretty bad.
    difs where all sorts of fucked up, to the point that doing donuts was impossible, and bumps had no real effect on the car.
    enthusia is often hyped as the most realistic racer for ps2, and there are many comparison videos showing what I described, and how enthusia properly simulates these behaviors

    I was burned too badly by 5 and 6 to get hyped for another gt game. I’ll wait and see.

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      1. lel this fucking guy

        – straight line wheelspin doesn’t exist
        – cars absolutely always bumpsteer, especially with a controller holding the steering perfectly straight
        – “momentum in the tail”
        – controller steering overcorrects are a physics flaw
        – why don’t I get body roll when the car is plowing off the road?

        What a strange wonderful world. Actually I should have just checked out the moment I realized he was using a controller, because if you use full lock on a controller you will always understeer in GT4 because it uses too much steering lock and slides the front tires.

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  5. This will just make more GT players to migrate to iracing. Because why play the dumbed down copy for peasants when you can play the real thing am I right

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    1. No. IRacing has some pretty trash physics and subpar FFB (very subpar) with repeat laps that can feel the same all the way down to oscillations and laptimes.

      The heating model and lateral grip seems pretty insane. Sometimes it’s interestingly dynamic (though not necessarily accurate), sometimes you’re pushing lap after lap into apparently infinite tyre scrub with little penalty. That must be a cold goddamn track or an amazing tyre compound.

      It’s expensive and ultimately fairly restrictive, you don’t have that many interestingly unique vehicles to drive in the end. I also really don’t want to drive one track per series for an entire week. Considering you can hop on a new oval (and some less-complex road circuits) and dial in a basic setup good enough for top 5 with under an hour of practice/setup, I really don’t care to drive on the same track for 7 days.

      So, no. You are wrong. You iracing kids are delusional/so addicted to the MP platform that you ignore
      the glaring negatives, that’s all. Someone else is going to take the concept a step ahead eventually. Maybe it will be this GT Sport thing, maybe not.

      For me, price of entry would have to include a console as well, so I’m probably not going to be checking this out anyways.

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  6. I’m glad this is happening,I hope a lot of iracing members leave to play gt sport,iracing need a kick up the ass,they have been milking the same bs for years.
    I really hope this is a successful title,would be even better if it was released on pc as well.

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  7. no your average GT gamer sucks cocks and circle jerks over at GTPLANET. FUCK GTPLANET!!! It’s a stage IV Carcinoma of the online raving community. You can thank GT pre teens for ruining AC!

    but most of all FUCK GTPLANET

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  8. Gran Turismo doesn’t have simulation value because the formula used to calculate rear diffuser aero downforce should look like this P1 + ρgy1 + ½ρv12 = P2 + ρgy2 + ½ρv22, but the formula used in GT is more like this P = (½ρCAv2) v

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    1. Stop make fun on my. I am real engineer from Italy, from the great University Of Rome, I meet the Pope every day. You need to understand that if you put an aluminium block radiator on the top of the wing in real life the downforce goes up by 1 BILLION MILLIONS time while in GT Sport it is on 1 MILLION BILLIONS. See? It is not that hard. I make pasta for James now.

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  9. Anyone else notice the “gameplay” trailer didn’t feature any actual in-game driving? Cinematic music + eye candy graphics + overdone lighting = millions of copies sold, I guess.

    What 4 off track looks like in Grand Turismo Sport at Willow Springs at 110mph

    What 4 off track is like in real life at Willow Spring at 130mph.

    Yes, I’m sure +20mph makes all the difference I’m sure.

    I know, make a racing sim that makes people realize how much they really suck at driving and they won’t buy the game. I mean, it’s not fun if you can’t bounce a Bugatti off walls at 150mph and not keep going. Am I right?

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  10. All PC sims are either ancient over decade old or forever unfinished work in progress projects, and then there is iRacing which cost something like one grand for less amount of content what GT Sport will offer.

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  11. GT and FIA are idiots. They try to make this sound as a big deal, they are just creating a competition to see who bounces off walls and other cars better and who can exploit a broken handling model the best.

    If they were serious about this whole serious console multiplayer component, they would have done it with Project CARS or Assetto Corsa. Sure, they might be lacking in many areas too but they are still miles ahead in terms of providing a half-decent environment to see who actually drives better.

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  12. GT Sport is the stop gap e-sport trendy release to give us something before GT7, I think that disclaimer needs to be on every mention of it. I want my full library of Skylines and fun start from scratch gameplay to enjoy offline and I can only buy this if the bumpercars physics straight outta Ridge Racer 1993 have gone.

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