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Monday, June 15, 2020

Gran Turismo 7 Reveal Thoughts

John B. Marine | 6:12 PM | |
On June 11, 2020; Gran Turismo 7 was unveiled. I figured this is my opportunity to share my own breakdown and thoughts on this reveal. I want to make my own thoughts on the reveal and even offer thoughts on what I think it will take for GT7 to continue and extend the fabulous legacy of the Gran Turismo franchise. So welcome to "John's Race Space" and a new post of mine!


About the Label: GT7

Posts in this category regard Gran Turismo 7. This can involve almost anything regarding this game.






Gran Turismo 7 Reveal


So what is this Gran Turismo 7 I been hyping up? Here is the video touting Gran Turismo 7:


^ Gran Turismo 7 Announcement Trailer

As with any upcoming game, this leads to a lot of speculation. I certainly am the speculative type. I also am someone who tends to think too much on what something could become. I recommend you take a look at the video above before you read the rest of this blog post. Now, it is time I unpack this video and offer thoughts.

To get my full thoughts on this trailer, I'm going to do a lot of unpacking in the next section. This unpacking includes a look at the trailer along with what I am thinking about in regards to Gran Turismo 7 being released proper. So read on to get my thoughts.




Gran Turismo 7 Reveal Thoughts: Looking Back at Past Titles


Actually, before I unpack the trailer, I feel it is necessary to discuss what is ahead for Gran Turismo heading into Gran Turismo 7.

I still do not have a PlayStation 4, nor have I played "Gran Turismo SPORT." A lot of us imagined that Gran Turismo Sport would be a new direction for the Gran Turismo series. This basically seemed like Gran Turismo putting itself into the eSports realm and leaving behind the tried-and-true formula that has kept Gran Turismo relevant for over 20 years. Gran Turismo SPORT mostly was an online-only deal that had very little single player content. Over time, a lot of single-player content was made available so that the game would remain playable even if and when all the online support goes away. A real showing of accomplishment is if one could qualify for the Gran Turismo World Finals and win a Tag Heuer watch. I personally find Tag Heuer and Citizen as the best luxury watch makers, so this would be an exceptional accomplishment to win a fabulous watch by just playing Gran Turismo SPORT.

Another sign indicating a new series direction has been a lot of the cars and tracks. On the car front, GT SPORT seems to offer its own array of normal, tuned, competition cars, and the unique Vision Gran Turismo cars. The competition cars namely seems to suggest a world of race cars as if Gran Turismo had its own league of racing cars. Players could make their own liveries for cars for the first time in Gran Turismo history. Thousands of liveries have been submitted online for others to download. You can really produce amazing liveries once you really learn to take advantage of the livery editor.

To the disappointment of some Gran Turismo fans on the track front, some of the all-time classic Gran Turismo venues- like Grand Valley Speedway or Deep Forest Raceway- were nowhere to be found. Instead, a handful of other original race courses make up the GT SPORT roster of race tracks. A good number of race tracks involve actually licensed circuits and certain real-world locales. Others further exemplify Gran Turismo as being the best game of fictional race courses.

I have never played Gran Turismo SPORT as mentioned earlier. I do know the game seen a much more realistic and engaging model for driving. The model seems more advanced than any Gran Turismo prior.

Now, it's time to take a look at the Gran Turismo trailer.



Gran Turismo 7 Reveal Thoughts: Trailer Unpacked


These are all my honest opinions what you are about to read. I am going to break this up into three sections pertaining to three different elements of the video trailer. So take a look as I discuss all three segments.


Trailer Cinematics.

If you see some of the many cars that comprised the Gran Turismo 7 trailer, you would be very fascinated about how far we've come. Sure, there is a good amount of Japanese bias from the Japanese developer Polyphony Digital, but the series has always been an encyclopedia of cars. What is one indication of an enhanced roster of cars? Look at the Porsche 917 in the trailer. People have complained for years about Gran Turismo not having Ferrari, Porsche, or Lamborghini. Now look at the inclusion of Porsche ever since the exclusive contract deal between Electronic Arts and Porsche went away. We now have had Porsche in Gran Turismo SPORT and may likely get more Porsches to buy and tune and race. A lot of the racing machines from Gran Turismo SPORT seem likely to make a return.


Gran Turismo World.

Does the Gran Turismo Mode interface seem familiar to you? I think GT7 looks to feature a Gran Turismo mode that longtime players can immediately recognize and appreciate. It's back to a city-style GT Mode with different places to visit. You have Home, but you also have the places to go for car dealers, tuning shops, racing events, and more. It reminds me a lot of the city with Gran Turismo 1 but with the stylish and sleek look of Gran Turismo 4's GT Mode. Gone is the cramped and "modern" Gran Turismo 5 and Gran Turismo 6 style interfaces for your GT World. To me, GT7's GT Mode interface is a throwback to past GTs, and it couldn't look any better. Also, notice the new... characters? Seems like you will have some virtual people to help you navigate through the mad world of Gran Turismo. And finally... since when was Trial Mountain an AMERICAN course? I always thought it was a British course, since GT2 has the UK Nationals at Trial Mountain. It seems you can do a single race, a circuit experience, a time trial, or a drift trial based on what you want to take part in.


In-Game Racing Sample.

Now for the most important element- in-game play. For now, GT7's trailer basically seems a lot like Gran Turismo SPORT. I am fairly certain GT7 will pick up where GT SPORT left off in terms of offering a dynamic racing experience. So no disappointments in that department. Trial Mountain does look a lot different, though. It is still one of the toughest courses in all of Gran Turismo. It just has a new stretched and renovated style. Maybe it's possible this course can be raced on under time and weather variable conditions. So could that mean Trial Mountain could be raced deep into the night? Possibly. Could it even be a rainy mess of a track with rain ranging from drizzle rain to monsoon rain? Could happen. Could it possibly even snow at Trial Mountain? Nobody knows at this point. At least we know that one classic GT track will return for GT7.


That basically is my unpacking of the Gran Turismo 7 trailer. Now on to other thoughts.




Gran Turismo 7 Reveal: The Road Ahead


We all now know what Gran Turismo 7 has shown to the world in its reveal. Now what will it take for GT7 to be a success? I have my own thoughts to share in this section. So read on.


Something to Prove.

Gran Turismo 7 is going to be a success as long as it right the wrongs of Gran Turismo 5 and even Gran Turismo 6. To me, GT5 and [especially] GT6 seemed too lazy. I felt Gran Turismo 5 was a hot mess of ideas with not much execution. Like it tried to be EVERYTHING in its transition from GT4 to GT5. You know- NASCAR, karting, World Rally Championship, Top Gear, and more. Sadly... nothing really seemed overly fun. GT5 did offer an interesting B-Spec system to where it didn't seem like it was the AI racing for you in completing the game. Gran Turismo 6 mostly seemed more accessible and not as difficult compared to GT5. Yet still, it wasn't a blow-away deal that will keep you entirely intrigued. I personally think Polyphony Digital got too lazy with the single player elements, basically banking on people to engage in online play to provide better experience than the single player elements. That's a good strategy to mostly have online play be better than single player, but what happens when the official servers shut down? What are you going to have left, and is what you have left good enough to make a lasting game experience for a long time to come?


General Keys to Success.

It is therefore paramount that I think Gran Turismo 7 has to deliver a solid single player experience before making the online experience as engaging as possible. Offer a handful of racing experiences much like what Gran Turismo 4 (which originally was supposed to be the first GT with online multiplayer) offered on the single player front. It helps to make the difficulty accessible to rookie and veteran GT players alike. However, avoid laziness or feel like single player doesn't matter all that much. It DOES matter! As for online, just keep providing players the opportunity to engage in great racing action online ranging from serious races to "s***post" races. Maybe offer some more unique racing events and perhaps even more racing types.


Vehicles.

The vehicle aspects of Gran Turismo 7 will also be key. I have been fond of Gran Turismo for its cars even when people complained of not many of the world's top auto makers and not many of the world's best vehicles. Even when people thought GT4 had 50 Skylines and 25 Lancers when it could have more Ferraris and Porsches, I still enjoyed the overall car experience and in finding different vehicles to purchase and tune. I also felt those who loved supercars failed to acknowledge or take advantage of the supercars GT4 did have. A game series like Gran Turismo actually sort of challenges you to find more favorite cars outside of your usual favorites. Bummed your favorite sports car is not in a Gran Turismo game? Find a new one! Even from Gran Turismo SPORT, I would even trick out a Ford Raptor or a Toyota Tundra to be fairly decent racing machines. I kind of would want Polyphony Digital to even find a handful of oddball or unusual vehicles to feature. I am not saying Gran Turismo 7 should have an array of vehicles to put Forza Horizon 4 to shame, but offer a deeper variety to keep the vehicle aspect entertaining.

You may notice I have said "vehicles" a lot in this paragraph and not cars. That is because part of me wants to see motorcycles make a return to the variety of vehicles to own and tune. I am talking about a modern "Tourist Trophy." Though Gran Turismo has always been about cars and not motorcycles, at least having a mix of cars and motorcycles would help in the department of many different race types. Some courses could equally suit cars and motorcycles. I am not saying motorcycles would or should overshadow cars, but I feel for visibility and variety, it would be great to include motorcycles to boost the vehicle count. Cars and motorcycles in the same game would be nothing new. Look at the Test Drive Unlimited series. TDU2 initially didn't have motorcycles until they were later added in future updates. I would be happy to race a Ferrari 333SP (a car that I would LOVE to see and race in Gran Turismo) around Grand Valley Speedway as much as I would maybe a Ducati 1198 Panigale around Tokyo R246.

Motorcycles probably are not going to happen again for Polyphony Digital, but I would be more than welcome for the inclusion of them if it were to happen.


Locations.

All those vehicles in a racing game mean nothing if you don't have venues for which to have them compete in. So in this sense, Gran Turismo 7 needs a solid foundation of various locations. If it were possible, GT7 would include a handful of real-world locations and return a lot of the classic courses. Evolution is always important; but when you are a legendary franchise like Gran Turismo, you have to impress both longtime fans and newcomers alike. What if there were a number of players who passed on GT SPORT? Don't you want to offer those GT SPORT courses to be part of the world of Gran Turismo 7? I also have been saddened about how none of the past rally courses shown up in future GTs after GT4. I am NOT counting the newer Chamonix in GT5 as a "returning" track, and I am also not counting the newer Rome Circuit in GT5 apars from the classic Rome in GT2 and GT3 among non-rally tracks.

I feel Gran Turismo severely needs two kinds of locations to help in the diversity department. One of those is a touge style course or a proper hillclimb course. Gran Turismo players may remember GT2 having the Pikes Peak course, especially back when Pikes Peak was still a mix of paved roads and dirt roads. Pikes Peak today is all paved and all tarmac. Even still, it would be great to see Pikes Peak return even its all paved form. Enthusia Professional Racing had Mirage Crossing and Dragon Range. Dragon Range (not to be confused with GT SPORT's Dragon Trail) could be raced downhill or uphill. Even GT's rival Forza Motorsport has had open circuit courses like Fujimi Kaido and Pacific Shipyards. The GRID series has a few open circuits including the California coastline and Hong Kong. A game like Assetto Corsa has the Trento Bondone hillclimb course in Italy. I am not saying Gran Turismo needs to have its own Initial D experience, but something along the lines of the famed Haruna (Mt. Akagi in "Initial D") would suffice.

The other kind of proper course Gran Turismo needs is a drag strip. Now before anyone starts thinking, "drag racing is stupid. Why would you want drag racing?" Let me state that drag racing is as much a skill as any sort of circuit racing, rally racing, or even drifting. I know Gran Turismo 4 had the Las Vegas Drag Strip for drag racing, but there were no events for it; and also, I prefer a more proper style drag strip. Anyone who follows the sort of material Gran Turismo has provided in the past knows that Bandimere Speedway in Colorado has been used or mentioned in regards to drag racing. A true and proper drag racing locale would be great for those actually want legitimate drag racing. I don't think the series needs an actually-licensed locale for drag racing, but certain tracks have some drag racing areas used, such as at Sonoma Raceway and the Hockenheimring. That would be a start. Or Polyphony Digital could look into the four-wide drag strip at Charlotte Motor Speedway for some four-wide drag racing. In addition, the driving model for Gran Turismo will need to better account for low-speed driving dynamics to help make drag racing great.

The one thing I am concerned about location-wise is that of what Polyphony Digital has been experimenting with. They have looked into procedural environments. So it is possible some of the next best tracks could be made through a handful of scripts and such rather than hand-made courses. Of course, we can always envision the possibilities of using something like a Track Editor in GT5 and GT6. The prospect of unlimited tracks can surely be a thing for GT7 if the cards are played right.


Events.

There is a reason we use an umbrella term like "motorsports" rather than "racing." Consider that drifting is not "racing." Drifting is mostly a style kind of deal while many of us are more fixated on racing on closed-circuit courses and open-circuit courses (like rally stages, hillclimbs, and drag racing).


Other Considerations.

I think more courses should be able to take advantage of time variations and weather variations. Certain tracks were able to take advantage of time and weather variable conditions in Gran Turismo 5 and Gran Turismo 6. It would be somewhat a stretch to say GT7 has the horsepower and the ability to make all tracks time and weather variable. Games the likes of the rFactor series and the Project CARS series have implemented some sort of system of time and weather. iRacing does not have a weather simulation of including precipitation, but it does have a system of having either clear skies or cloudy skies. Gran Turismo 7 can be a game changer in its own right by having a consistent environment model that could be used across all or most of its tracks.


My Biggest Concern Regarding Gran Turismo 7.

To me, Gran Turismo 7 will be more about evolution and sustained relevance after the mixed success of Gran Turismo 5 and Gran Turismo 6. Has Polyphony Digital learned enough from their GT5 and GT6 experience to make GT7 better than the PS3 era of GT racing? Can they apply what Gran Turismo SPORT has provided and make it better for GT7? Gran Turismo is a top-tier franchise, and one quality of top-tier franchises is the ability to remain fresh even after standards of games have been set. Some franchises even set their own standards and try to better them. Some, to paraphrase a Ford commercial or a former WWE tag team, "...don't just raise the bar; they ARE the bar." How "back" is Gran Turismo? We are going to find out once more details become available and when we get a chance to gauge what GT7 has to offer.


You read a lot of thoughts of mine; but for those who are used to my content, this is nothing different or new. Thanks for visiting!






Introducing the JRS Resources Page!


Starting back around June 9, 2020; I decided to create a Resources page for fans of racing/driving games. Those who follow my life issues blog, "John's Life Space," may know of my "Helpful Resources" meant to offer online resources for certain life issues. I decided to do the same for my racing/driving blog. So I tried to find as many different resources for almost 100 different racing/driving games. To see what I have come up with and what I have been able to collect for resources, take a look at my Resources Page for "John's Race Space":



Please note this Page is a continuous Work-in-Progress (WIP). More material may be added based on my own findings or recommendations from others. Be sure to take a look and find whatever resources may interest you about various racing/driving games.





I'm glad you can join me here on "John's Race Space." Care to discuss?

Are you excited for Gran Turismo 7? What do you think GT7 has to be a classic or an all-time great of the series?

Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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