So, Gran Turismo 5. We're sure that you know that you have to wait another five months, or so, until the game is released and you get to partake in a midnight launch at your local GameStop or Best Buy – you know there will be one. But all of that extra time is there with good reason, as it's given Polyphony the opportunity to add a whole plethora of stuff they've been conceptually experimenting with for the game. As hard as it may be to wait for a game like GT5, once you read exactly what you'll be getting with the full package, you'll understand that the wait is well worth it.
First off, we all know that originally, during Games Com in August, Sony and Polyphony commented that GT5 would boast 700 cars, with close to 200 of those being premium models capable of being fully damaged. Then comes Tokyo Game Show, and Kazunori Yamauchi gives us an all new official number of over 950 cars. Later on, we come to find out that the total of cars is actually closer to 1000 than it is to 950. See, it's not proper marketing practice to say "almost 1000", and thus we have "over 950". Anyways, originally, it was said that just about 200 cars will be the "premium" vehicles, which will be fully deformable. That number does not exist on the GT5 fact sheet, as Kazunori Yamauchi says the decision for choosing how many cars are capable of full deformation is not complete.
The way GT5 is designed is that, essentially, with the flick of a switch, any car in the game will be susceptible to the game's all new damage model. But believe it or not, there are still a number of manufacturers still giving Sony a hard time about seeing their cars damaged in such intricate detail. Let's face it, there is no game out there that looks as good as Gran Turismo 5 or GT5: Prologue. But, it seems like a lot of progress is being made in negotiations, as Yamauchi has confirmed that every car will see damage of some sort, and that the premium cars will boast exceptionally detailed damage modeling.
Just how detailed? Allow me to quote the creator himself: “The damage physics are going to be applied to things like a bent suspension arm, tires hitting the wheel wells of a car, deformation of the body affecting alignment, the loss of power to the engine,” says Yamauchi. “We’re actually still working on setting the sensitivity level of the damage. You can have it so if you have a single hit your car isn’t going to be able to be driven anymore. It’s a matter of adjustment.”
So it's not just flying doors and other cosmetic stuff. These premium cars will put the physics to full use and give you an experience as proper as possible, without being too frustrating, obviously. As far as the damage that'll be applied to the other cars, Polyphony is ironing those details out as we speak. We will either see scrapes and dents, or more drastic damage that'll demonstrate more wreckage, albeit leave the mechanical aspect of it out.
As far as tracks, there will be a total of 70 tracks spread across a total of 20 different locations. Expect most of the tracks from Gran Turismo 4, with a good dose of all new real and fictional tracks – and yes, the Top Gear track is in. Additionally, you may already know that the WRC and NASCAR licenses are present in the game, so expect to see a number of races focused around those two events. Furthermore, during a press tour at the Polyphony Digital studios in Japan, a game journo managed to snap a picture of a programmer modeling a Lexus SC430 GT500 – a Super GT race car, which is an indicator of GT5 possibly boasting a Super GT license, as well. Amazing, isn't it?
Moreover, expect the customization aspect to be bigger and better than ever before, with more options to tinker with. Support for the EyeToy is also being planned, which should enable head tracking in the game, allowing the player's actual head to act as the head of the driver in the car. So if you angle your head slightly to the left, the game will recognize the motion and angle the view allowing you to see what's going on to the left of your car. Clearly, head tracking will only work when you're using the game's in-dash view.
You can expect virtually every desirable manufacturer in the game, including Bugatti, Ferrari, and Lamborghini. Recently, Yamauchi has said that Porsche is being decided on. An alleged exclusive contract between Porsche and Electronic Arts is supposed to expire, which will allow Sony to use the Porsche name and cars without having to also pay EA a licensing fee. We're not entirely sure of the details on this relationship between EA and Porsche, but we've heard numerous times it does, or did exist. But with madhouse Porsche-tuner RUF likely on board, the possible lack of Porsches in GT5 is still not that big of a deal. Not to me, at least.
Other extras you can expect is 16 player online races with a fully fleshed out online setup. In addition to that, you'll be able to connect your copy of GT5 with your copy of Gran Turismo PSP and transfer the cars you've earned in the PSP game into the PS3's GT5. To add to that, Gran Turismo 5 will boast custom soundtracks, so you don't have to listen to what Polyphony and Sony have chosen, you can dip into your PS3's hard-drive. The photomode will enable players to take high-resolution pictures 8-megapixels in size, but Polyphony is trying to bump that number up to 20 before the game ships. Insane.
The remaining features include Dolby 7.1, YouTube replay uploads, theater mode, arcade mode, museum, and, of course, a game engine that runs at 60 frames per second, rendering a 1080p picture. Yep. And we don't have to tell you how fan'f-ing'tastic GT5 looks. It's practically approaching perfection…it's hard to imagine what we'd be looking at five years from now on Sony's next platform.
If everything goes according to plan, Gran Turismo 5 should launch around the same time in North America and Europe as it will in Japan. GameStop currently has the God of War 3 release pegged at April 1st, which means Sony pushed it back two days in order to launch it as a fiscal 2011 game. So that gives Gran Turismo 5 all of March to play with. Current GameStop has a February 2nd release date, but I wouldn't bet on that for us North Americans.