Maybe it’s time to get back on the Microsoft bandwagon. With Forza Horizon 3 quickly approaching, and a slew of supporting racers rounding out what is a growing library of worthwhile Xbox One games, Polyphony Digital have instead began the process of refunding users who have pre-ordered Gran Turismo Sport. Only a few short days ago Kazunori Yamauchi announced the ambitious PlayStation 4 title would be pushed back until sometime in 2017, but it appears this was only the first step in what could possibly be a full-scale meltdown for the franchise.
Gran Turismo Sport was intended to be an iRacing-like experience built for the mainstream audience of the PlayStation 4. Even though much-requested features such as an in-depth livery editor would finally land in the simulator after years of popularity in the Forza Motorsport franchise, the core experience in Gran Turismo Sport was said to abandon the traditional car-collecting meta-game in favor of events conducted under a set of hardcore auto racing rules and regulations. It sounded really fucking sweet on paper, and though some scoffed at what Kaz had been trying to do with the FIA partnership – implement a virtual racing license – the decision for Polyphony to move Gran Turismo in a new direction seemed very promising.
GT Planet is reporting those who pre-ordered Gran Turismo Sport have received a very unique message on their PlayStation 4 dashboard today, indicating Polyphony Digital have refunded their purchase of Gran Turismo Sport. This potentially displays a very serious problem is occurring with the development of the game. Traditionally, when most video games are delayed for a period longer than six months, a customer’s purchase is not refunded, and their pre-order remains intact – though it obviously pisses off the customer who was eagerly anticipating the game. In this situation however, such a fundamental change has taken place behind the scenes in regards to GT Sport, mass automated refunds are taking place. You don’t have to be a genius to realize that’s not a good sign.
The long-term ramifications this may have on the Franchise could possibly spell disaster for Kazunori Yamauchi and the team at Polyphony Digital. After starting a cult phenomenon with the first four entries in the Gran Turismo series, lengthy delays and underwhelming releases highlighted the fifth and sixth iterations of Gran Turismo on the PlayStation 3. Many fans were put off at the lack of cohesion found in both games, and despite each offering loaded to the brim with cars and tracks, hardcore fans discovered numerous features and oddities announced during development were nowhere to be found. As if their hopes and dreams weren’t already crushed enough, Gran Turismo 5, as well as Gran Turismo 6, relied on outdated PS2 car models to significantly boost the vehicle roster in a way which was actually counterproductive to the overall experience. This “third strike” may be enough to put the franchise firmly in the rear-view mirror.