Kazunori Yamauchi is an ambitious perfectionist and furthermore, he’s a car and racing fanatic. When it’s in your blood, you hate to produce anything subpar. That’s why Yamauchi’s Polyphony Digital team will likely deliver an absolute driving simulation masterpiece when Gran Turismo 6 launches in December. If you’re looking for a true racing challenge, if you bought that pricey wheel-and-pedals accessory specifically for the purpose of feeling as if you’re actually driving, pay attention. If you’re not a racing tech junkie, look away.
Once again, the emphasis will be on realistic driving. You’ll have to consider every element real race drivers consider before and during a race; this includes the mechanical settings for your vehicle as well as general driving knowledge. If you wish to succeed at the highest level, you’ll have to learn how to authentically shift and downshift and you’ll have to think about your suspension, tires, toe and camber angles, etc. Slipstreaming, complex S-turns, braking with and without special sports or racing break upgrades, all of it will demand your ceaseless vigilance. And if you’re not constantly reacting to what you see and hear, you’re in for a rough ride.
In terms of upgrades from GT5, Yamauchi wants to improve the responsiveness of the cars in the upcoming new installment. I’m still not clear on the exact definition of that word as it pertains to racing (it could encompass all the driving physics, or only certain aspects), but I understand the concept. But we all know to expect new cars, new tracks, and more intricate refinements. Also high on the priority list for Yamauchi and Co. is the streamlining of the overall experience; they want to make the user interface much smoother in comparison to GT5. With that much content, you don’t want the user to feel overwhelmed or frustrated.
As such, we’ll get shorter load times and a simpler interface in GT6. We’ll even receive touch-screens and special button inputs that could make navigation a breeze, although I’ll be sticking with the controller. Provided players can participate in the many different modes, and they can shop for cars and upgrades/customizations without getting a headache, this should be a fantastic experience. And of course, Polyphony intends to continue to support GT6 for a long time after its release. They’re planning an extensive selection of downloadable content and an “aggressive” schedule for each piece of add-on content.
There’s no doubt that Gran Turismo is an iconic name in the world of video game racing, but it’s Yamauchi’s aim to go beyond the term “video game racing.” He wants interactive, nigh-on virtual reality racing, which is why each GT installment features plenty of tweaks the fans appreciate. GT6 should be another step in the right direction, although it’s interesting to note that GT7 might not be too far behind. Yamauchi has been quoted as saying that GT7 is only “a couple of years away,” which means the first PS4 Gran Turismo might be closer than we all think. Well, don’t forget that GT6 might launch on the PS4, too. No date just yet but it seems likely.