In last week's Gran Turismo 5 tech analysis, Digital Foundry delved into its gaming archive and compared the new game to sections of gameplay from GT4. This got us thinking. Could we trace a tech lineage through all major versions of the game released to date, right from the franchise's beginnings in 1997?
When Jeremy Clarkson's great-great-grandson ponders the key automotive-related events of the late 20th/early 21st century, sighing wistfully while gazing upon a once-blue Earth as he whizzes silently in his fuel cell powered podcar through a Martian Google-built biosphere, he's likely to single out 23 December 1997 as a momentous date.
When it was first announced alongside the PlayStation Portable, Gran Turismo 4 Mobile was a statement of intent. PSP, the videos argued, would be the only handheld for which you could buy games that look and feel like the ones you buy for the home. The intervening five years, however, which have also seen the game renamed Gran Turismo, have softened its impact considerably. It's tempting to begin by pointing out that while it does look and feel like a racing game you might buy for the home, that also assumes you're referring to the home of 2004.
But that would be doing Polyphony Digital a disservice. Gran Turismo pelts along at 60 frames-per-second and the developer has wisely sacrificed texture detail to preserve that, safe in the knowledge that the quality of the underlying car geometry will distract players from the odd low-res building in the background, and ensure those all-important replays still exceed expectations laid down by half a decade of portable WipEouts, Ridge Racers and Need for Speeds. They do.
You can read far too much into an E3 demo, and we'd be wrong to assume that the finished Gran Turismo PSP won't feature much, much more than the version we've played in Sony's suite. But the early signs are that this will be a slenderer game than its home console counterparts - hardly surprising, given it will be a flagship launch title for the download-only, UMD-free PSPgo.
Kazunori Yamauchi is a man living the boy racer dream - or rather, he would be, if boy racers even dared to have this kind of dream. As the creator of what is arguably the world's most authentic, most comprehensive simulation of race driving, he lives and breathes cars and motorsport.
Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi on GT4, what happened and what is happening to the online mode, new games and more.
It's unusual for a game to launch on a Wednesday in Europe. Then again Gran Turismo 4 is a pretty unusual game. Enormously popular almost by default, it's the most detailed and extraordinarily vast racing simulation available on the PlayStation 2, and the gains made by developer Polyphony Digital since GT3 have made for a more accessible, rewarding and varied experience than ever before. Team leader and series creator Kazunori Yamauchi was in London last week to celebrate the launch, and we took the opportunity to ask him about the proposed online version, the competition, next-generation games development and PSP title GT4 Mobile.
We grabbed Polyphony's front man for a brief chat about GT4, and its handheld sibling...
The latest incarnation to the most lavish driving simulation in the world is almost upon us, but the wait has been long. By the time it finally emerges in Europe in November it will hold the unwelcome record of being dogged by the most delays in the series, following on almost three and a half years from the mighty Gran Turismo 3 - the first must-have PS2 title that few have managed to better since.
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