Gran Turismo Sport
This week, we got some updates on Gran Turismo Sport, the first game in the Gran Turismo series to be announced for the PS4.
To me, the highlight of the Gran Turismo series has always been the single-player simulation mode, where you start off usually buying some crappy Suzuki K-car and gradually ramping up to more powerful vehicles and more challenging races and championships. I think Gran Turismo 4 arguably perfected what the simulation mode of these games should be, and subsequent versions just copied and pasted the same structure at higher screen resolutions and with an updated roster of vehicles.
It could be argued though, that by turning Gran Turismo into an e-sport of its own, the need for the simulation mode that has been a series staple for so many years disappears altogether. Why simulate a career in real driving when you can have a real career in simulated driving?
This worries me, because as someone who plays Gran Turismo as a way of enjoying the wide variety of cars I like despite not being able to drive or own them, I don’t necessarily want to be restrained by the rules and regulations of Real Automotive Racing. There are very few scenarios in single-player content where you are penalized for crashing into other vehicles, veering off track, or cheesing races by driving across patches of grass instead of taking the corner like a good driver should. I believe the only cases where you are penalized for such things in single-player are license tests and ranked/time trial modes. The single most jarring thing to me from the GT Sport exhibition race last week was the warning telling drivers to get back into a single file formation to resume the race after a crash. If this game is trying to emulate Real Automotive Racing so fucking badly, why does this game still not have any kind of cosmetic or mechanical damage beyond tire wear?
The Gran Turismo series to me is a driving simulator first, and a Motorsport simulator second. It is a shrine for the appreciation of motor vehicles, regardless of their class, age, or manufacturer, not a shrine for the admiration of professional automotive racing. And this is why I’m worried about Gran Turismo Sport. While I have no doubt it will be a technical masterpiece, I’m unsure this is going to be a game I’ll be able to enjoy as much as the previous games in the series, and knowing Polyphony Digital, there’s no telling how many years it’ll take before the game that I want.
At least there’s the photo mode.