On the show floor of this year’s Gamescom I was able to check out the next iteration in the Gran Turismo series. The last game, Gran Turismo 6, launched in December of 2013 just after the launch of the PlayStation 4. Since then, players have been waiting eagerly on an instalment for the next generation of consoles and Polyphony Digital have taken quite some time to develop that.
Fortunately for the fans of the series, it’s finally here. The game is described as being the first instalment in a ‘next era’ of the series, rather than being a sequel to the previous game. It will be a main entry in the series however, so the game isn’t a spin off. So why the name change?
Well, the reason for that is that the game, for the first time in the series, comes with a very serious competition or ‘e-sports’ mode, the FIA Gran Turismo Online Championship. The FIA, which is the governing international federation for motorsports such as the Formula 1, will recognize and formally ratify the game mode as one of its official motorsports. This means that there will be multiple official championships and the FIA will be officially governing those. Drivers will be able to win actual prizes at the FIA’s annual ceremony just like drivers in physical championships.
However, fans of the old games need not to worry. Just like the previous games, there will be a fully-fledged career and arcade modes, as well as regular online racing. But due to the nature of the competition mode, the developers deemed that it made sense to change the title of the series.
Another addition to the game will be support for Sony’s PlayStation VR, so players will be able to experience the game in virtual reality.
Unfortunately, the only playable mode on the show floor was the arcade mode, with a small selection of cars and tracks available. As the physics engine is still the same as Gran Turismo 6, the actual driving hasn’t changed much, which is not a bad thing per se. Obviously due to the power of the new console, the graphics have been massively improved and the game seemed to run at a stable 60 fps.
Of course, the game will feature a multitude of new cars and hopefully some new racing circuits as well, though that is unknown at this time. What does bother me though, is that as far as I can tell in show floor conditions, the engine sounds haven’t been improved and that has always been Gran Turismo’s weak spot.
Since I’ve only been able to play a for a short time and only have been able to play a small portion of the game, I cannot draw too many conclusions from that. Gran Turismo 6’s driving physics are really good, and the graphics are a lot better. I’m very excited to see to how the new official racing competition turns out, and I hope that the regular modes will also feature have some exciting things.
Gran Turismo Sport will launch on November 18th in the EU and on the 15th and 16th in the rest of the world.