The next Gran Turismo game made its presence known during Sony press conference announcing the PlayStation 3 at E3. The two-minute clip was the icing on the cake of a game demo showcase that featured multiple games in development for the PS3.
Before we begin describing the scrumptious action in the demo, let's get the most important bit of information out of the way first: The days of six-car racing in the Gran Turismo series seem to be over for good. We'll pause momentarily to let the applause die down... There, that's better.
That's right, if the scenes in this GT5 demo movie are to be believed, then you won't be going up against a measly half-dozen cars. Instead, it will be somewhere in the range of 16 or more. Several of the scenes in the demo featured a large number of cars, including the opening scene itself, which showed a huge field of screaming cars racing through the start/finish line at the Yosemite track from Gran Turismo 4. The quality on the cars was just as high as you've come to expect from the series, and it was bolstered by the massive numbers of cars on the screen.
Other highlights from the video included some looks at a few tracks featured in the game: some old favourites such as Monaco (being attacked by modern-day F1 cars, mind you), the Nürburgring Nordscheife, the Grand Canyon rally course, and some new faces as well, including one gorgeous snowy track near a perfectly still lake, which made for a truly impressive virtual site.
During the demo, the phrase "From partial reality... to complete reality" appeared on the screen, and from what we saw of the movie, it's hard to argue with that assertion. The power of the PS3 is perhaps most evident in one of the final scenes from the demo reel that featured multiple cars heading into the pits. As cars pulled in for tire changes and adjustments, all by fully animated pit crews, one shot showed an absolutely stunning view behind the pit wall, where there was an amazing amount of bustling motion as seemingly hundreds of people worked in the pit area.
One thing conspicuously missing from the demo footage was any noticeable damage modeling, something the game's producers have said would be a central tenant in the game's development. We'll be keeping a close eye on the game in the future to see how this feature develops.
The final, and most curious, aspect of the GT5 footage was the mysterious phrase "Vision Gran Turismo", which appeared near the end of the game footage. Could this be the new moniker for the GT series and, if it is, does it signify a true departure for the series?
Tantalizing footage like this brings up five questions for every one it answers. Still, it's nice to see that Gran Turismo 5, or Vision Gran Turismo, or whatever you want to call it, is in the pipe, even if we have a long wait ahead of us.
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