Gran Turismo, just like the PlayStation brand, is one of the best creations made by Sony. The series, which has now received its new installment called “Gran Turismo Sport“, has an interesting history that deserves to be told, and we are here just for that.
The Very Beginning and The PS One Era of Gran Turismo
The development phase of the first Gran Turismo began in the second half of 1992 and lasted for over five years; the team spent much time working on every possible detail in order to make the game realistic, however it wasn’t easy for Kazunori Yamauchi convincing Sony to spend money for the development of a racing video game.
At first the company didn’t understand the project and felt that the whole thing was too risky, but Yamauchi didn’t give up and in the end, with Shuhei Yoshida’s support, he gave life to his creature. We already know how things went right after, Gran Turismo launched for PlayStation One in 1998 with critical acclaim and (right now) 10.85 million copies sold worldwide.
The game had two modes: Arcade Mode and Simulation Mode. The first one let the player race alone or with friends, while the other one was a campaign that borrowed elements from RPG games: by racing you would earn credits that would let you improve your car or buy new ones. The roster was made by 140 cars, every one of which acted like its counterpart thanks to the game physics, based on data taken from real vehicles; 11 tracks were available.
Gran Turismo, however, shows its best when it comes to graphics; the engine used every console’s resource to render superb cars models and light effects. No one could have thought to ever see something like that on PS One.
After the success of the first game Yamauchi started to work on Gran Turismo 2, whose development only lasted one year. Gran Turismo 2 officially launched for PlayStation One in 1999, with the same features as the old games but improved graphics and a huge roster that included 650 cars.
Anyhow, the story of Gran Turismo didn’t end with the second chapter.
A New Generation Of Gran Turismo
Gran Turismo 1 and 2 showed that great games can be run even on console with a limited hardware like PlayStation One, if the team works properly. Polyphony was very proud of what achieved so far, but there was a new challenge: PlayStation 2. The “latest” console by Sony offered new possibilities in terms of development and a way higher power that could help making an unforgettable Gran Turismo.
That’s how, in 2001, we received Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, considered one of the best racing video games ever and the most memorable from the series. This title differs from its predecessors for the very detailed graphics, cars structure and physics achieved through a very hard work with the console’s hardware. Devs included only 180 cars here, but the overall quality is magnificent for a console released almost 20 years ago; other than that, the main modes were the same as the old titles.
In 2005 Sony released Gran Turismo 4; this new iteration featured a new mode called B-Spec that let the player be the racing crew chief. Furthermore, a new photo mode was introduced and the cars featured were over 700. Basically Gran Turismo 4 was a “more of the same”, but a very good one.
The Latest Chapters
With the release of PlayStation 3 we received Gran Turismo 5. The game introduced – for the first time in the series – online races up to 16 players and vehicle damage, stuff that players highly requested during the years; physics was improved with the new engine and made more realistic. The game sold a lot of copies, but there was some criticism because of tearing and aliasing issues that affected the game during the racing sessions.
Just like GT4, Gran Turismo 6 is an improved versions of Gran Turismo 5 and included (as an extra) variable weather and time of day, and 1200 cars (while GT 5 only had 1000).
Finally, it’s time for Gran Turismo Sport; this racing game can definitively be considered a way to change the path of the series. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t contain a proper “offline” campaign but lessons that will teach you everything about the main tracks in order to make you become one of the best racers in the online sessions. It’s clear that Polyphony is trying to push the game to a more “e-Sporty” direction and make it accessible not only for old-time fans, but for new players.
This is our short version of the Gran Turismo franchise’s history. Leave a comment and share with your friends if you like it!