Gran Turismo 7: Everything we know

2022-02-05  Gaming

It’s no secret that I am very excited for Gran Turismo 7, so when we got a 32-minute “deep dive” video from the PlayStation State of Play this week, it only seemed right for me to dissect every second of it try to gather all the little details and clues about what we can expect to see in March.

The video starred series producer Kazunori Yamauchi, speaking via a translator. He touted the new game, which marks Gran Turismo’s 25th anniversary, as “the most complete Gran Turismo to date” and revealed a whole range of features and details that we hadn’t seen before, including more about the game’s focus on “car culture” as well as the actual racing.

What follows is a summary of what I could ascertain from the video, which confirmed it’s going to be a long wait until the 4th March release date.

The cars

Yamauchi revealed that Gran Turismo 7 will feature more than 400 cars. Over the course of the video we were treated to shots of road cars, sports cars, GT cars, historic cars, rally cars, and concept cars, confirming that the catalogue has all the variety that we’ve come to expect from the series. It was promised that additional cars will be delivered via online updates.

We were shown several places to buy cars. Brand Central is a shopping centre where players can buy around 300 new cars from 2001 and later. The used car dealer will sell a different lineup of cars on a daily basis. These will generally be more affordable, but some models (the example given was 90s Japanese sports cars) will actually accrue value. The last marketplace shown was Brighton Antiques, a place to buy legendary and famous cars like the Le Mans-winning Ford GT40 and James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5.

As part of the focus on “culture”, the developers have made an effort to tell the stories behind the cars. The Gran Turismo Cafe (more on that later) features car designers talking about their work, while there are also museums that tell the stories of certain manufacturers.

The scope for customisation looks huge. The tuning shop offers around 60 performance parts per car, and the number of setup options looks downright daunting. For cosmetics, GT Auto has more than 650 aero parts, 130 wheel types, and 1,200 paint colours to use, as well as the traditional car wash and oil change options. The livery editor now grants players more freedom, with a higher sticker limit and additional areas to place them.

Once you’ve built your dream vehicle, Scapes - first shown off in the reveal trailer - lets you take it to more than 2,500 locations around the world to take photos, with enough camera options to get really arty and abstract. As usual, you can also take and customise photos from races.

Showcase is a feature that allows you to show off your creative work. It looks almost like a social network. Players can upload photos, replays, liveries, livery elements, helmets, and race suits for others to view, vote on, download, and apply to their own vehicles and drivers.

The tracks

Gran Turismo 7 features 97 track layouts across 34 locations (10 in the Americas, 15 in Europe, and nine in Asia and Oceania), and we were shown many of these in the video. The real tracks that appeared were…

Americas Europe Asia/Oceania
Laguna Seca Brands Hatch Autopolis
Willow Springs Goodwood Suzuka
Daytona Red Bull Ring Fuji Speedway
Interlagos* Monza Tsukuba
  Nurburgring Mount Panorama
  Circuit de la Sarthe*  

*Some circuits were not shown in the circuit selection screen, but were visible either through gameplay footage or other menus (e.g. licence tests).

Many of the classic fictional Gran Turismo tracks were also shown to be back with a visual upgrade. Those shown in the video were…

Americas Europe Asia/Oceania
Blue Moon Bay Speedway Deep Forest Raceway High Speed Ring
Northern Isle Speedway Dragon Trail Kyoto Driving Park
Trial Mountain Sardegna Tokyo Expressway
  Maggiore Broad Bean Raceway

All in all, I spotted 29 circuits over the course of the deep dive video. It’s possible I may have missed others (please let me know if so), but for now that would mean there are five other locations yet to be revealed - two in Europe, and three in the Americas. As with cars, we have also been promised that additional tracks will be delivered via online updates.

Physics, graphics, and effects

Polyphony Digital boasted that Gran Turismo 7’s driving model was refined based on feedback from experts such as Lewis Hamilton, GT drivers, and tyre manufacturer Michelin. The physics simulation takes into account factors like car setup, wind, and slipstream to ensure realistic handling, and lap times in the game should reflect their real-life counterparts.

Some features were notably flagged as unique to the PlayStation 5. These included ray tracing, the use of the DualSense controller’s haptic triggers to provide handling feedback (for example, simulating a locked tyre), and a 3D audio system that is supposed to give a better sense of where sounds are coming from. It’ll be interesting to see how much is missing for PS4 owners.

The real star of the show as far as graphics and effects were concerned, however, was the day/night cycle and weather. The developers have used meteorological data to simulate cloud formations unique to each geographical region, so for example the skies will behave differently in California and Japan. Stars, the moon, and even planets will appear in the night sky.

Gran Turismo 7’s rain looks spectacular, particularly the way the water sprays off the tyres. Track moisture is dynamic, meaning that when it stops raining the racing line dries out first, and a weather radar has been added to help players track incoming rain clouds. Additionally, it was explained that on large tracks it can be raining in some areas but not others.

And finally, it might seem like a small detail to mention, but one other thing I noticed during this section of the video is that spectators are not static any longer. In a timelapse video showing off the rain effects, I noted that people were walking around in the spectator areas in the background.

Campaign mode

Previously known as GT mode, campaign mode is where many players will spend most of their time. The setup looks similar to previous Gran Turismo games - you’re given a small number if credits (it looks like 20,000) to buy a car, and earn additional credits and cars by winning races and series.

A couple of other interesting features were shown, but not explained. Firstly, “collector points” were granted when the player won a new car, and there was some sort of levelling system. Secondly, after a race a progress bar named “daily workout” filled up. When the objective was completed, the reward was a “roulette ticket”, which had “availability” for a particular date. It’ll be interesting to see what this is, but it feels a bit loot box-y…

Another notable addition is the Gran Turismo Cafe, which we were told sits at the centre of the map. Players are given a car collection menu (a set of cars they must aim to acquire), and on completion they receive rewards (the roulette ticket showed up here, too) and unlock tracks. The cafe is also where some of the aforementioned car commentary comes into play.

Other modes

A plethora of other modes were also sprinkled throughout the video. The most notable for me was the Custom Race mode, which didn’t always appear in older Gran Turismo titles. This is essentially the sandbox offered by other games like Project Cars and Assetto Corsa, allowing the player to select a track, cars, weather conditions and so on to set up their own races.

Elsewhere there was a Circuit Experience mode, designed to help you to learn new tracks, and “mission races”, which are special events that differ from the usual formula, like drag races and drift trials. The classic licence tests also return, putting players through their paces to learn racecraft and spend hours driving the same few metres to earn that elusive gold trophy.

Music was the slightly odd focus of some of the modes shown. Replays can now be set to music, with the camera changing in time with the soundtrack, but the effect wasn’t so different to a standard replay in my opinion. The highlight in this rather niche genre was the Music Rally mode - basically a checkpoint race where the countdown syncs to the beat of the music.

Last but not least, we were shown some of Gran Turismo 7’s multiplayer options, including two-player local split screen, which is welcome, if a bit of a throwback. Online, there are lobbies and “meeting places”, which we were told are good for playing with friends, and Sport Mode, which is where we can partake in “serious racing” with players around the world.

Final thoughts

I wasn’t sure how much more we’d see of Gran Turismo 7 before its release on 4th March, but not only did this video drop a lot more detail, it also served to further whet my appetite for some racing in a month’s time. With the launch date approaching at a rapid pace, this may well be my final opportunity to speculate about the game before it comes out.

With its attention to detail and huge range of modes that should cater to both the sim racing and arcade racing fans out there, this game has the potential to be something really special. The addition of the historical content and dedication to the stories behind the pretty cars is something I’ve never seen in a video game before, and shows that the designers and developers are truly dedicated to their subject matter.

If there’s one thing I’m still a little skeptical about, it’s that we still haven’t seen any footage from a PlayStation 4 console - let alone the original model. PlayStation 5 players are worried that the existence of a PS4 version will mean the game will have to hold back in some respects, but my concern is over performance and missing features on last-gen hardware.

Still, it’s rare for me to be this excited about a game, and it’s even rarer for me to have sustained that excitement through the entire pre-release period. With solid on-track action, beautiful graphics, a generous selection of cars and tracks, stunning weather, and all the colour and educational aspects that come with the focus on “car culture”, Gran Turismo 7 could be the definitive racing game - we’ll just have to wait to find out for sure.

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