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Gran Turismo 4 will tackle cheaters

New handicapping mode aims to punish cunning shunts, while HDD support and harsher physics are also mooted.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo 4 will include a driving school along with revised licence tests, more European cars, and a handicapping feature that punishes you for ramming opponents to gain an advantage, according to new details on the web this week. The game will also reportedly make use of the PS2 HDD, which launched in the States last month as part of a Final Fantasy XI bundle. It's unclear how the new peripheral will be used by GT, but downloadable content would seem to be the most obvious option.

This latest slivers of detail point to a heavily tweaked GT, with an increased difficulty level, more tuning options, and revised physics that demand more braking on sharp corners. The handicapping option is also likely to prove useful or controversial depending on your viewpoint (or rather, depending on whether you had to cheat to make progress in the past). Apparently the game will be able to pick up on your shunting antics and will cap your speed for a few seconds if you decide to cheat.

It's an option that's bound to improve the multiplayer side of things. Our multiplayer experience of Project Gotham Racing 2 has at times been tainted by the idiotic minority that prefers to mess about instead of racing, and we eagerly await Polyphony Digital's answer to that prat who parks halfway across the road while his mate tries to ram you head on...

Online multiplayer is of course one of GT4's biggest potential draws, and along with plain old six-player races we can expect to see regular Sony sponsored tournaments - hopefully for tangible prizes, too - while gamers will be able to set up their own tournaments, compete on a multiplayer ranking list, and chat with their mates about specific car models. The latter point presumably reflects Polyphony's desire for car nuts to use the game as something of a shrine to their favourite rides. The virtual showroom feature ought to help with that too.

It's not all good news though - one of the game's producers says that although it was the developer's intention to deliver the exact same visual experience in single and multiplayer, this has proved impossible in practice and a certain amount of detail will probably now have to be sacrificed, we'd imagine from the trackside. What's more, although Polyphony aims to include many European cars like Porsches, along with all the cars from previous GT titles - and used cars - there may be a certain amount that don't make the cut off and have to be slung into the inevitable Gran Turismo 5.

Somehow though we doubt that will dampen GT fans' enthusiasm. With the full game due out this autumn on PS2, we're expecting a more complete version to appear at E3 this year - although Sony has yet to confirm its plans for the show - and as you probably already know SCEE is planning to launch the GT4 Prologue sampler edition in Europe this May.

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