Kazunori Yamauchi wants to get your engines revved by teasing you with a ton of new Gran Turismo 5 news, including some new screenshots, new cars, a new course, and details about the new B-Spec mode coming to the game. Plus, GT5 Kart. Okay, it's not called that, but that's exactly what it looks like.
The team is very hard at work on the game, and according to Kaz he had just downloaded the code at the hotel that morning. So what did he reveal? A lot of stuff. Read on for the details and our impressions.
There's a new course coming to GT5, and that's the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. It is one of the most historic racing course in the world, and it doesn't have as many corners. The corners that do exist are high speed, so it's enjoyable for both novice and experts.
What's an announcement about a racing game without the mention of some new cars? Supposedly GT5 is going to have almost 1,000 cars in the game, which just staggers the mind. All that modeling work! Some people just, really, really love cars.
Pagani Zonda R '09
Zondas have been produced since 1999, and they put out about 10 cars per year. Only 106 have been made so far, making them very collectible. Recently a Zonda R recorded a Nurburgring Nordschleife lap-time of 6:47. This is better than the 6:58 lap time Ferrari recently achieved in a 599XX, and a record.
Subaru Impreza Sedan WRX STI '10
Subaru created the STI (Subaru Tecnica International) division in the 1980s to coordinate motorsport developments, and now the Subaru World Rally team uses a version of the WRX STI in all of their races.
Lexus IS-F Racing Concept '08
At Lexus, the F designation denotes their high-powered class of cars, and this a race-tuned, high performance concept car based on the Lexus IS. This one was built with the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (German Touring Car Championship) or DTM in mind. And debuted as the Tokyo Auto Salon in 2008.
Lamborghini Miura P400 Prototype '67
Two prototypes of this car were actually built, and one was destroyed in an accident. J.W. Marriott owns the other one, and the development team was able to visit the car in order to recreate it. It is not very well know that this car still exists.
These next three cars are very special to Kaz, and there's a story that goes along with them. In 1963, Enzo Ferrari was about to sign a deal that would give the Ford Motor Company 50% of Ferrari. But, he pulled the plug at the last minute. Ford wasn't too happy about that, and they decided to try and beat Ferrari at the racing game. This led to Ferrari and Ford dominating the 24 Hours of LeMans from 1960 to 1969.
Ferrari 330 P4 '67
One of Kaz's favorite cars in the world, it actually finished in first, second, and third place at the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona race. You can probably imagine what a slap in the face that was to Ford, and you can see the classic curves and lines that would influence car designs around the world. And Speed Racer as well.
Ford Mark IV Race Car '67
This was the car the defeated Ferrari at the 1967 LeMans race, and remains the only all-American victory at the event with an American-built car, prepared by an American team and driven by American drivers. It's estimated that Ford's war against Ferrari cost the company $72 million dollars. Is that the price of victory?
Jaguar XJ13 Race Car '67
This car was being secretly being built at Jaguar to compete in 1967 LeMans race, but the project was canceled just before the race and it never made it onto the track. Now you can stage your own "What If" race with all 3 cars on the track to see who might have won.
The Red and Blue of Gran Turismo
A-Spec/The Real Driving Simulator
This is the classic A-Spec that you've come to expect from Gran Turismo. Features include:
- Evolution of Physics: tires, suspension geometry
- Wide variety of tuning and settings
- Racing Kart / Production Car / Racing Car / Rally Car / Formula Car
- Something for everyone from the novice to advanced drivers
B-Spec / The Racing Simulation RPG
This is the deep career mode that lets you nurture drivers and manage a racing team. Features include:
- Commands are given to the drivers in a race
- Each driver has a unique personality: nervous, hot-headed, etc.
- Nurture your driver from novice to professional: at first you have only one, but eventually you can have up to six. You need a minimum of 4 drivers to enter a 24 hour race
- The start of a new GT Life
Back in 2001, Sony released Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, and Kaz had planned on producing B-Spec immediately afterwards, but that didn't happen because of a number of problems. It took the team nearly ten years to get the two Spec versions on an equal level. B-Spec was included experimentally in GT4, and it is now completely balanced with the A-Spec side of the game. The same amount of races exist for both A-Spec and B-Spec.
Kaz demonstrated the B-Spec mode for us, which is far above and beyond the B-Spec in GT4. Commands are given to the drivers in a race via a headset icon, and you can tell them to speed up, slow down, keep the pace with your opponents, overtake, pit in, or don't pit. Depending on how "hot" or upset your driver is, he might ignore your orders. The "Command Mode" in B-Spec shows leaderboards, the track, video of the race, physical and mental graphs for your driver, a hot and cool gauge showing his attitude, a visual representation of car locations, conditions of tires, brakes, and damage.
It's a bit like an RTS for the racing crowd, and to be honest it didn't look very exciting. You're just telling a driver what to do, and you're not driving yourself. When I play a racing game, I want to race. I want to slam on the accelerator, bank turns, and slipstream behind my fellow racers. Not click on a headset button. But hey, that's just me. You might enjoy this mode immensely. It gets much deeper, and becomes a statistician's best friend.
Course Maker is a bit of a misnomer for this mode, since it's not a full track editor. You select a theme, adjust the parameters (number of corners, how sharp they are, etc), and then you generate a course automatically. It's robust, to be sure, but it's not pure track creation, which is what a lot of race fans are going to want. As the press notes said, "The course generated will be a surprise." The surprise for me is that there's no track editor.
Kaz did explain that they eventually would like to give players a tool to recreate something from scratch, but that would involve a full CGI tool, so this is the route the took instead. Basically, it just wasn't possible in this version of the game. On the plus side, you can share your generated tracks with friends and race them online.
3D Photo Mode
One confusing quote that came out of this event was from Kaz himself, when he said "3D actually looks the best as stills" while demonstrating GT5's 3D integration. With as much money that Sony is throwing behind their self-created 3D revolution, it's surprising to hear him say that. There's no actual 3D racing in this game. What you get instead is their Photo Mode, which was announced at E3.
"Photo Travel, where you take your car to visit fantastic sights around the world. Stroll about the stage on foot and photograph your cars." You can set different options for the car: lights on, lights off, different suspension settings and so on, and positon it any way you like before you walk around it. Once you're set, you take a snapshot and the game renders it as a 3D view, which actually looks very impressive with Sony's 3D glasses. You can move your head left or right, and the perspective of the car changes.
It's fairly dramatic, and looks fantastic ... but aren't we purchasing Gran Turismo 5, and not Gran Turismo: The Photo Experience?
According to Kaz, "We were saving this for GT6, but the information leaked, so we decided to include it." This mode recreates the dynamic movements that are speciic to karts, and is great for beginners. Then they showed us a Kart Movie which was almost laughable. I mean, you have these incredibly detailed, photorealistic ... go-karts. With fully-modeled, full-size drivers sitting in them. It looks a bit ridiculous.
What's more than ridiculous is that they've managed to cram this mode into the game, yet the standard car models will not have a cockpit view. Kaz said that they tried to implement the black frame cockpits for all of the standard cars, but realized that they wouldn't be able to finish in time. So, you get karts instead of cockpit views.
But, will you care? With nearly 1,000 cars and over 70 tracks, chances are that you aren't going to miss the cockpit view from a Toyota Prius. Yes, there are actually Priuses in the game, because they're built for conservation and speed. Gran Turismo 5 looks like it has a long way to go, and the lack of a 3D racing mode, no cockpits views for some cars, and the lackluster Course Maker are a hindrance, but at the heart of it all, this is still the Gran Turismo you've been waiting for.