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Monday, May 23, 2011

Gran Turismo Career Focus - an Introduction

John B. Marine | 4:42 PM | | |
Gran Turismo is great, but in an effort to think on how to make Gran Turismo better, new ideas have to be considered. One must evolve and adapt to become better than before. That even includes going with new ideas and practices. One of them is an idea that can be a hot mess if done wrong- a proper Career Mode. As I've posted in the past, some feel the real racing aspect of Gran Turismo is in serious need of a makeover for the long-term future of the franchise. I am personally falling into that category of thinking that GT needs to evolve even more so in remaining that top-flight racing game franchise. This blog post is an introduction to a new series of blog posts I hope to unveil here on JGTS regarding a true Career Mode for Gran Turismo.

REMEMBER: I have NOT played Gran Turismo 5 yet, so I will not include any personal experiences of playing GT5 in this discussion.

--- The Point of This Blog Post ---
I have created this blog post to illustrate what I hope to discuss in a series of blog posts here on "John's Gran Turismo Space." Basic points will be expressed here followed by clarification in future blog posts.

About the Label:

For when a blog post in the series is posted, look under the label "Career Focus." Each post in the "Career Focus" label pertains to my own look at a career-focused element of Gran Turismo. I will discuss various aspects of a career-focused Gran Turismo because just one post isn't good enough to discuss this. I need to make multiple points and express things properly for my readers to get a proper understanding.

--- What Defines a Career Mode? ---
A racing career mode is defined in most part to whatever goal(s) is/are to be accomplished. To be a complete and proper racing career, a Career Mode must encompass various elements for which a successful racer is defined. A true career in the sense of rookie to legend depends on whatever tasks qualify as becoming a champion of racing. Are you to compete in a given championship for some amount of time? Are you to be in multiple championships?

Career Mode for any sort of racing game comes in a variety of elements and vary depending on the game. Gran Turismo has always been about the drive as well as the number of cars and what-have-you to enjoy racing to the max. One of the main criticisms people give about the Gran Turismo series is that the games have failed to truly deliver on the real racing front. For some, the simple Gran Turismo mode doesn't feel anything like a real racing championship despite all the racing you do.

--- Does Gran Turismo Need a Career Mode? ---
On two fronts, a Career Mode would either be beneficial or damaging. Beneficial that there is racing character to Gran Turismo, but damaging if you're a GT purist. A Career Mode would make Gran Turismo too linear. It would be too linear unless you find a creative way to sort out the races and the action.

Many racing games that have a Career Mode are mostly focused on one or more specific series or races. Other racing games like ToCA Race Driver 3 and RACE 07 (among MANY others) feature the feel of racing in multiple series. All of the real-life championships are basically built up on and based on actual series. Because you don't have as much leeway to race in just about any other series, you're almost essentially stuck to the kinds of cars you use in each championship along with all the different tracks you race on. That's why we have certain games that aren't restricted to only one racing series. That's also why we praise certain games that feature multiple series and the respective tracks raced on by the series in question.

Another challenge to a Career Mode is to try not to make it seem so much like Gran Turismo has a storyline. You don't want to ruin the joy you experience in the Gran Turismo universe with trying to focus establish a proper career. Gran Turismo should, and always should be about the cars and the racing. Trying to focus solely on careers more than racing makes it seem like the cars are unimportant. The ToCA Race Driver series, for example, is a lot more about actual racing and racing series than the cars. Of course, ToCA games were built on emphasizing real racing.

A Good Start...

Gran Turismo 5 and its kart racing is a good way to start a career. When you think about getting started as a race car driver, many race car drivers started off in kart racing. A smart way to set up a career-focused title is to highlight on kart racing. The idea of this is to showcase an up-and-coming driver racing on local tracks or being invited to major amateur-level racing championships. That's why I think the inclusion of kart racing is a great one for the Gran Turismo series.

...but After That?

You've proven yourself in the karting ranks... now what? Use your winnings from karting to purchase some crappy first car to compete in the Sunday Cup? Head right into the License Center to enhance your skills (or maybe try to do great enough there to win bonus cars)? For most racing games, you're already a real race car driver as you have all the licensing you need to compete in just about any race you see fit.

A lot of people who complain about having to do license tests probably feel like the game should start for real when you get a car and work your way up the ladder. But for me, each Gran Turismo is a new experience. Even if you think you know every nuance of the game, you still need to play the game through the License Tests (or do a good amount of Arcade races) to understand the nature of the GT you're playing.

As I have mentioned with a Career model, you may run the risk of making Gran Turismo a bit too linear. But if executed properly, you can make a Career Mode to be engaging and immersive while still maintaining the real character of the racing game (especially for established franchises like the Gran Turismo series).

--- What I Hope to Accomplish With This Series of Posts ---
I would like to share with you what I hope to accomplish in preparing this series of blog posts regarding a career model for Gran Turismo. These are some goals I hope to achieve in preparing these GT Career posts:

* intricately describe every nuance to have that "just right" model for a GT career
^ I don't want to just type up something on a Gran Turismo career; I need to explain everything so my readers get a proper understanding of what I am trying to discuss.

* provide insight from other games and real life in my explanations
^ While I am discussing the Gran Turismo series, insight from other games and real-life applications help drive home a better understanding of what is being mentioned.

* try to enact a model for a professional-type racing career using past practices from past GT games
^ If you're going to do a Career Mode, best do it right. I will use insight from past Gran Turismo games to help illustrate my point as well as speculate what GT would be like if it had a proper career model put into place.

* question various other aspects and "answer questions never asked"
I want to mention as many different points as possible as well as maybe think about things no one may ever consider regarding a career model for GT.

Having said all of this, I hope you enjoy my series on a proper Career model for the Gran Turismo series. One of my biggest hopes is that maybe this catches on and gives some insight to PD on how to structure the next Gran Turismo (or a future GT).

Most of all, I want more people to view and get involved with my content. Don't just visit and leave- let me know if you enjoyed my content! I have been editing JGTS more often apart from my primary blog. So please show some support! How am I supposed to know if I'm doing a good/bad job if you don't tell me?

Remember that all posts in my series on a Career Mode for Gran Turismo will be under the "Career Focus" label. Please use this label to find all of the blog posts in this series.

Thank you for reading! Get involved, people!

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