Gran Turismo is one of those franchises that will continue to successfully endure for many years to come, if only because it continually strives to be the most realistic driving simulator in the video game world. Racing enthusiasts have always been able to rely on Polyphony Digital to provide some of the most fully realized and engrossing racing titles in existence, so it's no surprise that Gran Turismo 5 is hugely anticipated. We already got a glimpse of a next-gen GT with Gran Turismo HD Concept , which released as a surprise Christmas gift from Sony on the PlayStation Store last year. That early look was most impressive, but the team is prepared to give us another spin with Gran Turismo 5 Prologue before the full version finally arrives.
Thanks to another trailer previewed at E3 and a few other snippets of new information, we now have a better idea of what to expect from Prologue . Obviously, we noticed a CGI introduction in the E3 trailer , which consisted of a pit crew working quickly on a car, then we were treated to several gorgeous shots of real racing, with the environment cleanly outlined behind the cars. The locations on display seem to be in London, and more than a few cars are highlighted the trailer: we're talking about some seriously sweet vehicles, such as various Mercedes, Viper, and Ferrari models, plus the requisite Type-R Concept sitting pretty in a city area. Everything looks beautiful, and anybody with a good eye will certainly spot the beautiful lighting and shading going on. Without any doubt, the brilliant sheen and reflective nature of the environment is almost beyond compare.
Now, what's most interesting about this – especially in comparison to Gran Turismo HD Concept – is that Prologue will feature online play. It's the kind of feature that is bound to generate even more interest, primarily because we can see just how well GT 5 will function online when it's released…or at least, we'd get a decent idea. Online gameplay has never before been part of the GT franchise (critics seriously questioned that lack in the fourth installment), so it's great to see a demo offering the option. Essentially, Polyphony is confirming, if anyone ever doubted it- "yes, there will be online multiplayer, and just to prove it, here's an example." We don't have any specific details regarding Prologue 's online gameplay modes, but we certainly expect head-to-head and perhaps even a 6 or 8-car grid. Of course, that's just speculation; neither Sony or Polyphony have released anything concrete.
Furthermore, we should be able to expect a lot more vehicles than we saw in HD Concept . The latter consisted of only 10 cars – and their tuned counterparts – which was fine, but we certainly want a look at other makes and models. Is it too much to hope for some of those cars shown in the E3 trailer? How about letting us take that Ferrari F430 for a spin? We have heard that several of the vehicles at the Tokyo Motor Show will be featured in the upcoming demo, though, so we'll have to keep an eye on that. Perhaps they'll even make mention of Prologue at the Motor Show; the game is extraordinarily popular in Japan, and despite being "only" a game, the GT series has popped up in general car/racing enthusiast publications in the past. Obviously, as this is the Tokyo Motor Show, we'll be seeing more than a few Japanese cars on display, so let's guess…what can we see in the new demo? Perhaps a new Honda coupe or the latest Subaru off-road model?
The other thing we have to mention is that Prologue probably won't be free. Currently, they list the price as "TBA," and "to be announced" would imply there is something to be announced. We have no idea how much this demo might cost, and we're hesitant to guess, especially if the download is sizable. We're talking about quite a few cars and online play, so it's unlikely to be small…then again, it might not be a Network downloadable at all; it may actually come in disc form. However, as it seems much easier to distribute these demos on the PlayStation Store, we're relatively certain that this one will be available online, and not in disc form. We just had to throw the possibility out there, because remember, nothing is confirmed just yet. But we're certain this deeper look at GT 5 will arrive in 2007, so we won't have to wait very long to sample the speedy goodness.
Sony announced that Japan would be receiving Gran Turismo 5 Prologue in October, but no word on when the demo will hit other regions. Of course, if you're a crafty U.S. citizen and set up a Japanese Store account, perhaps it won't matter to you…if Japan gets it in October, so will you. But we can't recommend that ‘cuz it's just not moral (we think). Either way, when more information comes to light, we'll be sure to let you know, because we're very aware of how hot this demo will be.