Gran Turismo 7: 25 years of motor racing on PlayStation

Image 1: Gran Turismo 7: A look back at 25 years of motor racing on PlayStationGran Turismo 7 – Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

Gran Turismo celebrates its 25th anniversary in style with the launch of Gran Turismo 7 on PS4 and PS5. A franchise imagined by Kazunori Yamauchi and which has been going on since 1997. Back to the history of the franchise, its designer, its principle and its games (with the exception of special editions). The opportunity to see the evolution of a simulation license hailed for its precision.

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A franchise for lovers of realistic simulations

Image 2: Gran Turismo 7: 25 years of motor racing on PlayStationGran Turismo 7 – Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

Racing sims generally cater to a niche. But in recent years, some franchises manage to reach the general public like Gran Turismo. Back when Sony was taking its first steps into the console market, its PlayStation impressed with the quality of its graphics. To design the first episode of the franchise, Polyphony Digital, a Japanese subsidiary, does not want to offer an arcade approach like at the time. The studio prefers to reinforce its realistic approach with elements of simulation for an exciting, addictive but above all accessible result. From the first Gran Turismo in 1997, the player can save milliseconds on his race by controlling his racing car.

For gamers, there was no proposition as strong as Gran Turismo. Rather than imagining vehicles, the franchise surrounds itself with major manufacturers. Honda, TVR, Aston Martin, so many proposals for racing enthusiasts. For Sony, this is an exclusive as strong as God of War, The Last of Us or Uncharted.

Kazunori Yamauchi, the creator of Gran Turismo

Image 3: Gran Turismo 7: Looking back on 25 years of motor racing on PlayStationKazunori Yamauchi – Credit: Spooner Tuner (Wikipedia)

Born at the end of the 60s, Kazunori Yamauchi enjoys designing video games after his studies. It was in 1992 that he joined the Sony group. The man begins to develop titles, some of which relate to his passion: the automobile. Now at the head of a small team, the creator begins to design what will be Gran Turismo. If the latter designs games before this franchise, it remains the major work of his career.

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Since 1997 to the present day, Kazunori Yamauchi has developed all the episodes of the license. He runs the Polyphony Digital studio, external to Sony, described as perfectionist but above all a huge automobile fan. You will not be surprised, the creator owns several collectible cars.

Realistic Gran Turismo gameplay

In terms of gameplay, the franchise has been keeping the same formula and tweaking it for over 20 years. Proof that from its inception, Gran Turismo had its hands on a treasure. By passing a driver’s license at the start of the game, competitions are unlocked and give access to certain vehicles. With the money won, it is possible to access cars and other circuits.

But the greatest strength of Gran Turismo, it’s its replayability. Each race differs from the other depending on the opponents, especially since the online mode is available. The physics are also very realistic to the delight of fans.

In addition to car manufacturers ready to lend the image of iconic vehicles, TAG Heuer, Swiss watch manufacturer, ensures its expertise in terms of precision timekeeping.

1. Gran Turismo (1997), a revolution in video games

Image 4: Gran Turismo 7: 25 years of motor racing on PlayStationGran Turismo – Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

In 1997, Gran Turismo landed on PlayStation. An unprecedented experience in the video game market that is still far from being as impressive as it is today. The game presented a realistic image of car racing with engaging pieces for the players. The title reaches a community a little older than at the time.

With Gran Turismo, nothing is the same. There are 178 vehicles, several circuits, a vast, more advanced driving mechanics. The game comes with Sony’s brand new DualShock controller with vibrations to feel the fun of running.

Revolutionary when it was released, Gran Turismo still serves as a base today.

Gran Turismo has 11 million copies sold worldwide.

2. Gran Turismo 2 (1999), the perfected formula

Image 5: Gran Turismo 7: looking back on 25 years of motor racing on PlayStationGran Turismo 2 – Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

Inevitably, Sony starts the production of a sequel and two years later, the players benefit from Gran Turismo 2. Inevitably, the players rush on the driving experience. Unfortunately, the short development period hurts the game a bit with bugs and worse sales than its predecessor. But nothing serious : critics love it!

It must be said that the teams put the small dishes in the big ones with two discs for 600 cars! There are 49 circuits and as many additions. Gran Turismo 2 offers many more game modes and wants to reach a neophyte audience. A brand-new all-in-one for the community.

Gran Turismo 2 has 9 million copies sold worldwide.

3. Gran Turismo 3 (2001), make way for the PS2

Image 6: Gran Turismo 7: Looking back on 25 years of motor racing on PlayStationGran Turismo 3 – Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

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Then comes the PS2 and a major upgrade for the franchise with Gran Turismo 3 (2001). It’s the year 2000 and gamers are asking for a revolution. If the game offers fewer cars (185 in all) and circuits than its predecessor, the studio emphasizes on the graphics with many notable new features.

Among the additions are retro F1 cars, endurance races lasting several hours, a redesign of the interface now classified according to country and manufacturer. A must-have for the console and a passage to the new generation.

Gran Turismo 3 has sold 15 million copies worldwide.

4. Gran Turismo 4 (2005), a very realistic experience

Image 7: Gran Turismo 7: 25 years of motor racing on PlayStationGran Turismo 4 – Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

This episode was launched a year and a half after the third, considered the most comprehensive title in its category. Players enjoyed 700 cars from 80 different manufacturers for a balanced and more authentic experience. In terms of realism, many hail Gran Turismo 4 as the worthy representative of the genre. Jeremy Clarkson of the car show Top Gear said of him that the only way the game would be more real would be “if you had a big spike in you every time you crashed”.

But the general public did not necessarily receive the experience better. It must be said that the teams offer a title much more demanding. Fewer forgiven faults and the demand for complete control of the vehicle to succeed. Fans love Gran Turismo 4 for its mechanical approach. Every tweak helps maximize on-track performance.

Today, it is considered the cornerstone of automotive experiences. Not a revolution but a refining (perhaps too requiring) of the formula.

Gran Turismo 4 has sold 12 million copies worldwide.

5. Gran Turismo 5 (2010), an ultra-complete episode on PS3

Image 8: Gran Turismo 7: looking back on 25 years of motor racing on PlayStationGran Turismo 5 – Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

The PS3 welcomes Gran Turismo 5 and this next-gen console brings its share of new features. Another first: the whole world benefits from the online mode (GT 4 was compatible in a handful of regions). This episode brings new such as physical damage and weather changes. The real-time day/night cycle is even present on some circuits!

We also note the arrival of the World Rally Championship, Super GT and NASCAR licenses. In all, it is more of 1000 vehicles or even 71 circuits. A complete episode enjoying even finer graphics as a worthy representative of Sony’s new console.

Kazunori Yamauchi believes so much in his license that he formalizes Gran Turismo 6 in stride.

Gran Turismo 5 has sold 11 million copies worldwide.

6. Gran Turismo 6 (2013), less impressive sales

Image 9: Gran Turismo 7: 25 years of racing on PlayStationGran Turismo 6 – Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

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This sixth title of the main franchise remains a great experience with almost 1200 vehicles, a revamp of the menus, improved graphics with a new physics engine, etc. Without making big changes, the experience remains effective in terms of realism. There are fun features like the ability to create a track from your own car’s GPS data in the IRL.

The title was released in 2013 and many feared a delay, with little information about it.

Gran Turismo 6 has 2 million copies sold worldwide.

7. Gran Turismo Sport (2017), the in-between on PS4

Image 10: Gran Turismo 7: 25 years of racing on PlayStationGran Turismo Sport – Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

If we haven’t included the specials in this list, it’s impossible not to talk about Gran Turismo Sport. Because before the release of Gran Turismo 7 in 2022, players were not left without games to eat between the PS3 and the current generation. It is a PS4 title but also PSVR with the promise of enhanced immersion. If this mode is limited, we welcome a first step towards this technology. Compatibility with this technology makes Gran Turismo Sport interesting in many ways, espousing its desire to be a realistic simulation since 1997.

Several new features should be noted, such as the arrival of the Porsche license, EA having lost it. There are campaign, sport and arcade modes. Upon its release, Gran Turismo Sport offers 180 vehicles but enriches its garage gradually via updates.

Gran Turismo Sport has 3 million copies sold worldwide.

8. The PS5 welcomes Gran Turismo 7 (2022), a new episode with great promise

Image 11: Gran Turismo 7: 25 years of racing on PlayStationCredit: Sony Computer Entertainment

Then after 25 years of games and as many experiences, various editorial choices and others, Gran Turismo 7 made its appearance on March 4, 2022. One more episode more beautiful and photorealistic than the previous ones, especially in its PS5 version (the title is also available on PS4). Polymorphy Digital always pushes sim racing further with ever greater immersion and realism. It’s simple: you better play Gran Turismo 7 with a steering wheel to feel all the fun precise and precise driving.

In all, Gran Turismo 7 offers 420 iconic licensed vehicles84 tracks on 29 circuits in countries like France, Italy, Japan, USA, etc.

This new episode also marks the return special events and other championships.

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