After the decade-long disaster that was Porsche’s exclusivity deal with Electronic Arts, locking away the prestigious German automotive brand from all but the most frivolous of driving games, you’d think that other developers would take a good hard look at what exclusivity agreements can do to the genre, and make every last effort to avoid them at all costs. It appears the folks at Polyphony Digital either haven’t gotten the memo or simply don’t give a shit, as Codemasters of all people have confirmed both in an interview with Eurogamer, as well as on their own official message board, that Pikes Peak will now only be featured in Gran Turismo games – as Polyphony Digital have secured exclusive rights to the legendary American hill climb competition.
Many have wondered why the preview footage we’ve seen of DiRT 4 failed to include any sort of menu options relating to hill climb racing after Pikes Peak was part of DiRT Rally’s vanilla roster of content, and now we’ve got an answer. The rights to the virtual rendition of the event have been scooped up by Gran Turismo.
The Pikes Peak hill climb, as well as a handful of relevant cars that have attacked the infamous mountain over the past thirty years, have made sporadic appearances throughout numerous simulators built for an audience much smaller than what Gran Turismo traditionally reels in – most recently in both DiRT Rally (2015) and Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo (2016).
Unlike Porsche, there isn’t a genuine need to monopolize the Colorado motorsports competition for use in one specific game, because it’s not like every single simulator has it included by default, nor are fanboys fighting over which of the eight different versions on the market is supposedly the superior rendition. It’s literally this obscure stretch of road that a fraction of a fraction of sim racers care about, and only two developers have bothered to tackle over the past decade, so why not leave it open for these developers? What are you going to gain from saying “Pikes Peak, only in Gran Turismo?”
People already know the GT games were never hardcore rally simulators, so what are you trying to accomplish here, Polyphony? The people who bought DiRT Rally and Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo partially for Pikes Peak, certainly aren’t going to rush out and buy the next Gran Turismo, primarily because it’s Gran Turismo and not a proper hardcore rally simulator. Hell, I don’t want to drive Pikes Peak in Gran Turismo, I want to drive it in a dedicated rally game. Why would you take that option away from us?
Will we even see it in a Gran Turismo game?
The folks behind Gran Turismo have not released a single commercial title since Gran Turismo 6 in late 2013, their upcoming PlayStation 4 project GT Sport has already suffered one major delay due to concerns over the direction of the simulator, and when it does come out, it’s said to center primarily around competitive online circuit racing and fictionalized RallyCross championships – not point-to-point rally racing with a single car on a narrow mountain pass. This is something you can go look up on Google by simply typing GT Sport Rally. With the competitive online platform Polyphony Digital are trying to build, something like Pikes Peak doesn’t even make any sense in the context of a game such as GT Sport. You’re including a host of ultra-wide off road circuits designed primarily for competitive head-to-head, door-to-door play, and then you go and gain the exclusive license for… Pikes Peak? A two-lane mountain pass primarily used for time trials?
Why would you go out and license a very specific rally racing event, when the track doesn’t even have a purpose in your upcoming release?And given how long the wait is between major Gran Turismo releases, we’re looking at a situation where we don’t see this exclusivity deal produce anything until Gran Turismo 7 in 2021 at the earliest.
In my opinion, rally fans got royally fucked today by this deal, and I don’t believe we’ll even see Pikes Peak in GT Sport later this year; I’m under the belief Polyphony paid for the rights to an event that won’t even be in their upcoming game. And it wouldn’t be the first time, either.
Of course, we all know how this turned out; despite supposedly scanning the entire circuit and revealing to local radio that Gran Turismo 7 would feature the Isle of Man TT motorcycle course, the license was instead acquired by Bigben Interactive.
Good job Polyphony for pissing off hardcore rally fans!