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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Far We've Come to GT5

John Marine | 11:53 PM | | | | |
The journey to Gran Turismo 5 has been a long and arduous one, but we made it. From the promise of Gran Turismo 4 to a few different titles from Polyphony Digital, from PlayStation 2 to PlayStation 3, this is somewhat a text and video journey involving GT4 on the road to GT5. This is my own look at how far we have come based on what I tend to recall about the journey from GT4 to GT5.

--- Gran Turismo 4 ---
Since Gran Turismo 3, we've waited some three to five years for Gran Turismo 4. Lots of promise was abound for Gran Turismo in being the ultimate Gran Turismo title. Most of that promise was shattered with word that online play was scrapped for GT4 despite being long-promised. Also, many were disappointed at the lack of evolution in AI and not enough interesting cars (as in Ferrari or Lamborghini interesting). Gran Turismo fans still enjoyed GT4 for what it was. There were even plans to come along with a mobile version of GT4 for the PSP. It was something to look forward to, if it ever did materialize.

Now, let's look at what has happened since.

--- Gran Turismo 4: Online Edition ---
A lack of online play was a deal-breaker for most GT fans who reluctantly wanted to do online racing. This didn't bother me, because I'm not an online gamer to begin with. So a prototype was set up to try a few different features. This was referred to as "GT4: Online Edition." In addition to an online suite, there were certain features like changing driving numbers along with the possibility of more convertible top cars with the tops down for racing.

--- Tourist Trophy ---

^ (WARNING: may be a bit loud)

Tourist Trophy should have been looked at as a gaze into the future for Gran Turismo 5. Granted Tourist Trophy was a solid title, not as many people saw this game as anything special. Some just saw Tourist Trophy more like a Gran Turismo 4 (if I may use this term) total conversion to feature motorcycles. If we learned ANYTHING from Tourist Trophy (or should learn anything), let's look at some of the key features...

* visible racers
With motorcycle racing, the driver's body and helmet and such are visible all the time. This was an element that would tie into Gran Turismo 5.

* interior views
The view as you ride is very detailed even for PS2 standards. You note the tachometer and such acting realistically.

* damage
Okay, TT didn't have any real damage model, but you know you could wreck your bike by not taking control of your two-wheeled rocketship.

--- Vision Gran Turismo ---

The premise of Vision Gran Turismo 5 was presented in a new light with Vision Gran Turismo. It was at E3 2006 when VGT appeared on screen. The biggest highlight was how the GT4 engine was used to show more than six cars on a track. In fact, there were about 16 or so cars on the track at once. Even one scene featured several pit stops at Twin Ring Motegi Superspeedway as the respective crews went over the wall to service the cars.

In its most basic sense, Vision Gran Turismo was simply a tech demo to help set the tone for Gran Turismo 5.

--- Gran Turismo HD ---

A look into what the PS3 has to offer for Gran Turismo was demonstrated in Gran Turismo HD. In it, ten cars were featured along with ten tuned versions of those cars. A new track was unveiled called Eiger Nordwand. This was a track used for a two-lap race or a two-lap drift trial. The biggest news about this was the long-awaited arrival of one car company getting some face time- Ferrari. The Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano was the first Ferrari featured in any Gran Turismo game. It gave several fans something to be happy about, especially those who felt like Polyphony Digital either couldn't acquire a big-name company like Ferrari, or that Gran Turismo was somehow too good to feature a marque like Ferrari.

--- Gran Turismo 5: Prologue ---

Going solo at Eiger Nordwand was fun for only so long. Many people just want to go race. That wish was granted as Gran Turismo 5: Prologue was unveiled. In addition to the anticipation for Gran Turismo 5, fans here in the United States and abroad wanted their own Prologue. The arrival of GT5 Prologue in the United States marked the first-ever time a Prologue of a Gran Turismo title was available on U.S. shores. I, personally, never played a second of GT5 Prologue. A good 100+ cars were offered including more Ferraris. The track list mostly consisted of old favorites faithfully brought back, but also provided some new venues like Daytona (superspeedway and road course) and London among other courses. Even the first-ever real F1 car was featured. The Ferrari F2007 car was featured in GT5 Prologue.

In addition to all of these cars and tracks, some insight was brought into featuring amazing interiors of cars. These Premium elements would help set the tone for what many would hope become a stout car list for Gran Turismo 5.

--- Gran Turismo PSP ---

With a little cut into GT5's development, Gran Turismo PSP was seen as that title that probably wasn't going to arrive or happen. It wasn't until GT5 shown up at the 2008 E3 show. Word was that over 850 cars would be included in the game. Gran Turismo PSP was to be a front for which Gran Turismo 5 car sharing would happen. Ad hoc multiplayer was also included so that four PSPs can do battle at one time at any such track. Gran Turismo PSP was never truly seen as a traditional Gran Turismo title because it was basically help you to trade and buy cars.

Now... we've reached GT5. It was a long journey, but GT5 is here waiting for all GT fans to adjust to GT5 after having been playing GT4 and GT5 Prologue. It's taken multiple different games and videos to eventually get to this point. So enjoy GT5, players! :) Just know that while it's taken so long, it's all been worth it for the most part.

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