Breaking Down the Features of GT Sport

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As a follow up to the article James has published earlier this week regarding his thoughts on Polyphony’s new Gran Turismo Sport, I thought it would be a good idea to outline exactly what will come and change with the drastic new change of direction taken by Kaz and the team. I’d also like to offer some of my opinions on how this title will impact the world of sim racing, as let’s face it, the audience Gran Turismo can capture is exponentially bigger than the likes of iRacing, Project CARS, and Assetto Corsa both combined and multiplied.

A week ago, Polyphony Digital held a pretty sizeable press event to show off their latest iteration of the Gran Turismo franchise – Gran Turismo Sport. Sadly, most of the relevant footage has been taken offline now due to the standard DMCA complaints, so we’re instead left with a three hour raw feed video of what broadcasted online races – a big step for Gran Turismo – may possibly look like later this year.

Two weeks later, an increasing amount of information regarding Gran Turismo Sport has been released, translated from press releases written in the native Japanese language. Gran Turismo sport will arrive on Sony’s PlayStation during the middle of November 2016.

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The limited edition of the game will most likely retail for an additional ten dollars, and feature several pieces of bonus content compared to the standard version. The limited edition will ship with eight more cars unlocked from the start, said to include both a rally and “group 4” car, though the car classes haven’t entirely been outlined as of yet. You’ll also receive one million credits as a “head start” on the game’s career mode, but again, I’m unsure how much of an advantage this will provide to players. The limited edition package is rounded off via the inclusion of a premium GT Sport PlayStation 4 user interface theme, as well as 30 additional avatars for your PSN Network Profile.

Pre-Order bonus content comes in the way of the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, a modern Ford Mustang Rally Car, and the Toyota FT-1 GT3 already unlocked in the game. On top of these cars, 500,000 credits will also be sent to your account, allowing you to stack both the limited edition and pre-order bonuses if you choose to do so. However, portions of this bonus content, including the cars listed above, can be obtained via standard progression through normal gameplay, so this appears to be a light ruse on the part of Polyphony Digital rather than truly exclusive content. Usually I am against pre-order bonuses that lock content away from those who can pay extra, but Polyphony have appeared to take the safe approach here, and I respect that.

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Unfortunately, there will be no closed or open beta testing to take part in. Contrary to what was promised in late 2015, plans for small, isolated testing sessions have been scrapped, as Polyphony Digital claim it would add weeks – if not months – to the development of the final product. This sounds understandable, but considering Polyphony have already held press events with some sort of pre-release version, I don’t see why they can’t just release that trial version of the game as some kind of demo on the PSN network, and use places like GTPlanet to gauge feedback from their hardcore fans.

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Something I personally find ridiculous, is that you can earn a real racing license through GT Sport. According to Polyphony, if you complete several milestones and tutorials within the game, you become eligible to order a real FIA racing license if you live in any of the 22 countries that have so far agreed with this gimmick.

This can – and probably will – put other people’s lives in danger, as we all know what happened when accomplished sim racers like Ray Alfalla or Greger Huttu stepped into a race car for the first time; they screwed up big time, and basically needed someone to jump in with them to help undo all of the nasty habits that sim racing had taught them. I really don’t want to know what happens when 3l1te_h4xx0r_88 decides he wants to go racing in real life, instead of sticking to his PlayStation. This concept might have worked with GT Academy, where all of Nissan’s resources were pumped into precisely one individual, but I can’t see it being a safe idea on a wider scale. In my own experience driving for various Amateur teams in Europe, some teams have shared horror stories with me regarding sim racers approaching them for a ride with a bit of financial backing to make it a reality, and every single time it ended in disaster.

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The game will be constructed in a way that resembles iRacing for the PlayStation 4. Kaz may say that this whole project is innovative and fresh for Gran Turismo, but many of the multiplayer features recently unveiled appear to have been taken straight from iRacing – and I’m not just talking about the safety rating portion. Your avatar, custom profile, racing suit, and the brand new livery editor will be much more than just diversions in the garage menu – they’ll serve a purpose and act as the hub for your online career.

In terms of multiplayer racing, GT Sport will have regularly scheduled events during the week, similar to how iRacing’s multiplayer format works. You can improve your safety rating – or excuse me here – “Racing Etiquette”, and earn points. If you’ve done well enough in a few races during the week, you’ll be invited to an invitational race on the weekend. This is something I look forward to immensely. If I wouldn’t have been banned for being friends with James, I’d definitely be playing iRacing for a few months by now, and Gran Turismo Sport will instead fill that void. The easy to use website, well organized multiplayer aspect, and the improved physics are certainly appealing to me, even as a restricted customer. If I can get the same things that iRacing offers without the political bullshit for being friends with someone they don’t like, sign my ass up immediately. And just like iRacing, cars will be split into different classes – Prototypes, GT3 cars, GT4 sportsman racers, Rally Cars, and street legal cars.

All of this is said to culminate in the official FIA sanctioned manufacturer and nations cups, with the best drivers competing against each other to find the best virtual racers in the world. As mentioned in the press event held in Japan, they will also hold an invitational 24 hour race with drivers who demonstrate exceptional talent and on-track discipline. This obviously looks like a step away from Polyphony’s cooperation with Nissan and the GT Academy program, but considering the winners will be officially recognized at the actual FIA awards ceremony at the end of the season, I can see future deals like test sessions with race teams or manufacturers happen – so long as these drivers are also amateur racers on the side using GT Sport to brush up their skills.

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The car count has dropped significantly, as have the tracks. This may come as a massive disappointment to many Gran Turismo fans, as the game usually included hundreds upon hundreds of automotive machinery, but I personally am glad that ever car in the game now serves a purpose. I never cared for the ten special versions of the Nissan Skyline R34 awkwardly shoe-horned into the game as a love letter to Japan, and neither should anyone else. A select few highly-detailed and mostly accurate racing cars are much better than 800 vehicles with PS2-quality visuals.

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All in all, you could say that Gran Turismo Sport will be a departure from traditional GT entries, but I think that is a step in the right direction. Content-wise, it will include everything sim racers can ask for, and if Polyphony can get the physics right, such as fuel and tire management for endurance races, then GT Sport will be the number one competitor to iRacing, and it might actually win in the long run. Games like Assetto Corsa or Project CARS will be left in the dust if GT Sport can release as a polished product, and we’ll have an amazing simulator in our hands. The only thing I can see ruining this, is if there will be no support for older wheels like the DFGT or Logitech G27, as this is  what a majority of Gran Turismo players currently own. Forcing them to upgrade to a PS4, purchase Gran Turismo, and then shell out the same amount for an entirely new wheel doesn’t seem like the smart thing to do, but we’ll see if the PS4 architecture allows it.

Auf Wiedersehen

 

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43 thoughts on “Breaking Down the Features of GT Sport

  1. LFS IS THE MOST COMPLETE FEATURES SIM AND HAS ALL POSSIBLE SIMULATION VALUE!

    YOU CAN SHILL ALL DAYS FOR ARCADE GAMES! THAT WONT BEAT THE ALL MIGHTY LFS!

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  2. “Content-wise, it will include everything sim racers can ask for, ”
    Not this sim racer. I only liked GT for the long road-car list, trimming it back so it’s 90% racecar makes it 90% uninteresting to me..

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    1. Competitive simracers who want an iRacing for consoles only care about race cars. I can drive normal road cars myself, why would I want to be normal in a video game too?

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  3. haven’t they already said it won’t be a Sim?
    I thought they wanted it to be a very sim biased, yet still approachable simcade

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    1. Ja aber nur die nat. A-Lizenz und selbst da musst du noch nen Theorie-Test und nen praktischen Test machen. Aber hast schon Recht, viel ist nicht dahinter. In England ist das alles etwas komplizierter, find ich ganz gut. Da braucht man Referenzen von mehreren anerkannten Driving Coaches usw. bevor man eine bekommt.

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  4. Lol Ray alfalfa coudnt use a manual,I thought iracing was real.

    Someone posted a interview Lewis Hamilton did not long ago about his thoughts on the merc team simulation.

    He basically said it’s for noob drivers getting into the sport,but mainly for the engineers.

    Didn’t take long before the iracing no life’s came saying Lewis is wrong and he knows nothing and that he thinks that way because they don’t use iracing.

    I swear I’m ashamed to tell anyone I’m a member in case they know what type of people reside on the forums.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hamilton said this about their simulator

      “I don’t use a simulator, because it is almost the same as a video game. If I want to play the game, it is better to spend £ 100 and buy myself a Playstation”.

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    2. Simulators are nice to get track knowledge (if correctly modelled) and maybe get a little baseline setup work out of the way, but no amount of simulator running in the world can replace running actual laps.

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      1. yah its actually hilarious to watch Vestappan rl habit of flying over the rl track kerbs.Pls some1 tell Vestappan the Kerbs is not a toy like in rf2/iRenting.!

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    3. What would a three-time F1 World Champion know about driving compared to a overweight, balding, middle-aged accounted that plays video games when his wife is out screwing another man?

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  5. As much fun I have with racing with the simulator (AC & iRacing), Hamilton is right.
    Everything you can feel in a real car can only be transferred through the steering wheel and the screen, because there are no forces.
    You can get all the immersion from a sim, but it comes down to making yourself believe in it.
    Lets face it though, usually people joining iRacing are taking sim racing rather seriously. So they invest a lot of money, and buy a lot of content, only to have the whole sim blown out of the water by the arrival of Assetto Corsa, and then some RL race driver disregards the whole simulator thingy alltogether.

    Me personally, I did use iRacing regularly till around 2011, and only occasionally afterwards, but it was the multiplayer system, that drawed me into it rather. The driving always felt numb to me, I could not get to grips with the behaviour of the tyres, and could not feel the weight transfer of the cars.
    AC of course is on a whole different level regarding it physics and it comes unbelievably close to driving a car in real life. But there is not much more in it, then just to enjoy the driving itself, there is no organized online racing, no ranking system.

    So as a simracer, these days it is not easy.

    RF2 is graphically outdated and practically dead, nobody plays it (its also not good, me thinks)
    LFS is just as old, was great 10 years ago
    iRacing is getting very very old now, its physics is outdated and not believable.
    However, the developers will milk that cow until even the most diehard fanboy will realize that it is dead. And I dont blame them. If i had spent a huge amount on it I would as well, to make my money worth
    AC is going into another direction, there will not be a multiplayer/ranking system in the future.
    Automobilista, I’ve never tried so far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Automobilista is rFactor on steroids with higvery good content. That’s a good thing in my book. I have a Racedepartment premium membership (10 bucks a year) so finding good racing in AC or Automobilista in the evenings (European time) is not a problem for me.

      I was planning to upgrade my PC towards the end of the year, but if GT Sport turns out really good, I might consider going for a PS4 on the side instead IF my wheel, the Thrtustmaster T500 turns out to be compatible.

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        1. The T500 is compatible with the PS4. IIRC, you need a DS4 to navigate the console menus but in-game, everything works 100%. This was the case for Driveclub at least and I don’t see why it would be any different for GT Sport.

          Now, legacy Logitech devices on the other hand, are not officially supported. A developer can provide drivers in their game to allow certain devices to work but Sony won’t support them on a system level and this being a first party game, I’d be surprised to see legacy Logitech support included.

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    2. Yeah, AC is going into another direction. It’s headed towards the simplified driving models for console players and joysticks like GT and FM.

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  6. You think people gonna trow their G27 away buy a playstation along with a G29 or Trustmaster wheel to play a non moddable simcade title for lets say a maximum of 5 years until the next console is released, also trow away your triple monitor setup, oculusrift or vive to buy playstation vr or other proprietary crap. With all the criticism you had on any PC titles so far your really still aspect Gran Turismo to be a real SIM in PRC means.. if something like that might ever exist

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    1. I joined iRacing purely on playerbase size, but if GT sport takes off I’d happily invest in a PS4 and upgrade my G27 (though I’m still hoping for a compatability fix for older wheels at some point).

      I’d also argue the costs to do so would be offset somewhat by the savings from iRacing’s steep subscription and particularly high content prices.

      I won’t hype myself up for this just yet, but it looks promising.

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  7. About that Logitech thing.

    The problem is not solely in PS4 or bad,bad,bad SONY wanting moarrrrrrrrr money.

    Since PS3 was “hacked” using USB port , on PS4 XMB you can register only USB device that is licensed, but devs can still use any USB device in-game, as long they got driver for it.Hence , Slightly Mad implement Thrustmaster T500 or any other Thrustmaster wheel support, even if those wheels are 10years old, only drawback is that those wheels don’t work in XMB menu.

    So, why not Logitech wheels?

    Simply, Logitech exits wheel market when it was restructuring few years ago, also there was a legal thing beetwen Logitech and ffb licence holder immersion, so they drop all the official support for their “old” wheels, but then decided to make “new” wheels – G29,G920 and sell you same thing twice.

    Now, you can’t expect that someone (SONY or devs) will make new drivers for “old” logitech wheels if “logitech” themselves doesn’t have any wish to make it because above mentioned reasons.

    PS: I loved my DFGT, it was cheap,second hand, It still works ok after 7 years, but the thing is , times change,so is technology and simply you cannot compare it with T300 which is in different league, yet it cost 300€ or if you got it second hand 200€. I get it it could be “a lot of money” for some , but if you’re “sim racer” and cannot afford 200-300€ on your daily hobby , you better end it.

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  8. ” I get it it could be “a lot of money” for some , but if you’re “sim racer” and cannot afford 200-300€ on your daily hobby , you better end it.”

    Yes i agree, if you can’t afford food, you should end your life too, don’t bother saying its too expensive!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I just can´t see them getting the physics and handling right after the limited footage they showed. It looked same old shit: wall bouncing, curbs do nothing, grass is grippy like hell, contact with other cars is very weird…

    You can´t build a serious multiplayer side with that shit under the hood. Something like AC or Project CARS is the minimum you need for stuff like this to work.

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  10. Nobody really gets it. But PRC does. It’s the rating system. Mimic iracings and the game will do quite well with decent netcoding assumed. The tire modeld, ffb and physics supply enough fidelity to grab the players once they arrive for the rating system.
    Can’t wait for this title.

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    1. Huttu couldn’t even get on the pace of club racers (amateurs) after half a week of testing with a pro team and Alfalla ruined a gearbox after half a day of running a Spec Miata. That’s both pretty terrible

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          1. 15 year old kids that go into open-wheel racing have also never been in a real car, yet they manage to outpace amateurs after a few days of testing.

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