You know PlayStation is confident when it dedicates an entire 30 minute State of Play to an upcoming title. Gran Turismo 7 appears to fit that bill, based on this morning’s packed broadcast. The show dove into many of the game’s crunchier aspects, attempting to give players a clear look at the return of The Real Driving Simulator.
A driving simulator for everyone
“Our aim was to create a driving simulator that all players can enjoy,” said director Kazunori Yamauchi at the top of the Gran Turismo 7 State of Play. Though he calls GT7 the “most complete version of GT to date,” Yamauchi was also quick to state that a core pillar of the game’s design was appealing to both hardcore gearheads and relative newcomers to car culture alike.
There are a lot of cars
Gran Turismo 7 boasts a roster of over 400 cars from known automakers around the world. There’s something for just about every taste, and something from every corner of the motorsport world. From simple compacts to hypercar beasts, you’ll need to manage your budget (and play for a long time) if you hope to collect them all.
And a lot of circuits
The World Circuit Menu contains 34 locations both real and fictional, with over 90 layouts. Legendary GT tracks like Trial Mountain, Deep Forest, and High Speed Ring are all back for GT7. More tracks and layouts will be added in future online updates. As for real-world maps, we see glimpses of Daytona, Spa, the Nordschleife, the Red Bull Ring, the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, and Mt. Panorama. We look forward to seeing all the extra tracks added after launch too.
The new map is all about simplicity
The new map is a simple grid-style layout with clear icons placed above each point of interest. No messing around, no world map you’re forced to drive around. Everything is within arm’s reach when you need it. This was a section of the Gran Turismo 7 State of Play I feel was a bit glossed over. Most racing games put maps like this in an open world so you can drive your cars around and enjoy them. GT7‘s goal is clearer: enjoy them on the track, not on the streets. We’re hear to race, not joyride.
You’ll start small
The classic GT campaign grind, familiar to all. The beginning of the campaign will seed you with enough credits to buy a compact car. You’ll then progress through the campaign by entering your little buzz box in a few competitions, learning the ropes, notching wins, and getting your income rolling. From there, it’s onward and upward into higher and higher tiers of the sport.
The Gran Turismo Cafe
The centre of the world map is the Gran Turismo Cafe. The cafe offers a Car Collection Menu. You can complete this Collection Menu by winning races and championships. Following the Collection Menu will unlock more cars for you to use as you progress, and give you clear goals to work towards. From time to time, the people who actually designed your latest unlock will appear to talk about the car in person. A digital coffee with automotive design legends. What a feature. It’s all in aid of bringing the player closer to car culture and the notable names within it.
Brand Central is a shopping mall where players can buy new vehicles with their credits. All of the vehicles available in the mall are from 2001 and later. Beyond the showroom, there are also museums where you can learn the history of each automaker. I actually really like the museum aspect of this submenu, but I can also see a lot of players finding it a bit stuffy and self-important too.
Used Car Dealer
Maybe you’re a cheapskate though. Or maybe you just prefer something with a few K’s on it. The Used Car Dealer sells pre-2001 cars at more affordable prices. Keep an eye out though: the most popular older cars will set you back a lot of credits, maybe more than when the car was first released. And yes, that includes all your favourite Japanese cars from the ’90s that are seeing yet another spike in popularity in 2022. Those who hoped to score 1994 Skyline R32 GT-R V.spec II on the cheap will be confronted with prices that may, in some cases, make their eyes water. Just like in real life! The Used Car Dealer lineup is a live service and will change slightly every day. Check back and see what’s new.
Legendary Car Dealership
You’ve worked hard, ground through races, and now you’ve got a few million credits to burn. Welcome to the Legendary Car Dealership. This is the home of the most iconic and expensive cars in the game. From Aston Martin DB5’s to a concept Ford GT40 in the famous Gulf colours.
The Circuit Experience activity is a way you can learn or practice certain sections of each track. Run them as many times as you like until you get your line perfect.
Custom Race Mode
Build the race of your dreams in Custom Race, which gives you control over the AI, the weather, and numerous other factors. Play with the settings in this mode to create the perfect race, or stack the odds against yourself and see how you fare.
License Tests Are Back
This was a short segment in the Gran Turismo 7 State of Play, but one that made a lot of long-time fans happy. The long quest to hit gold on every license is back. Each license test has been broken out into short mini-games that serve as challenges. Each one will teach you critical skills and techniques for greater vehicle control.
Mission Races are staged, themed events that drop you right into the action. You’ll need to remember the lessons of the License Tests to complete these races. As the trailer notes, a Drag Race will require tuning your car for greater power, and mastering throttle control from a standing start. And yes, there are Drift Trials as well.
Two-player local split-screen is back. There are also plenty of online lobbies and meeting places for players of every skill set. Sport Mode is the competitive lobby where players are expected to take races more seriously.
Visuals And Simulation
Gran Turismo 7‘s big visual boast is its raytraced lighting and reflections, propping up its photorealistic models and textures. GT has always been about a clean, pristine look and Gran Turismo 7 appears to be running with the same.
Time And Weather
Stay with me here because this was one of the most in-depth sections of the show.
Gran Turismo 7 has built a wealth of real-world meteorological data into its simulation. This allows the game to not only represent accurate skies and lighting for wherever you are in the world, but true-to-life weather conditions as well. Race fans know that tracks like Spa-Francorchamps exist in an odd little microclimate of their own (F1 fans who were excited for the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix can attest to the frustrations of Spa’s bizarre weather). GT7 wants to model that kind of weather dynamism (though hopefully not to the extent that the race gets put on hold for several hours and ends with a lap or two behind a safety car in the downpour to satisfy the regulations. I’m not bitter, I swear.).
This also feeds into the way the game displays the night sky. The model of stars and planets displayed in the night sky will also map to the real world. Away from the circuit floodlights, the night sky should represent the real one, no matter where you are. If you race all night, you can watch the sun come up and set again in the afternoon. The colour will change depending on atmospherics and pollution. Japan will have a Japanese sky. Los Angeles will have Los Angeles sky (which is to say, none at all). And Bathurst will have a Bathurst sky. Have you ever seen the night sky in Bathurst when the lights are off? Just you wait.
This has more than just at aesthetic affect on your race. Time and weather changes can and will impact track surface temperatures. This will affect your straightline speed and grip through turns. If the weather turns and cloud begins to build, blocking out the sun, it will cause the temperature to drop, slowly reducing overall track temperature. This means you’ll need to manage your tyres on the fly, keeping them warm while trying not to wear them out on the cold surface. The raincloud radar will keep you apprised of any short-term changes.
Like real-life tracks such as Germany’s Nürburgring, one side of the track might be sunny and dry while the other is being doused in rain, with all the hazards and tyre complications that entails.
All this to say, the driving model on this one goes deep.
The pro’s always watch their stuff back, and now you can too. The Replay Mode will let you record and watch your races back as though professionally shot for TV. See where you made mistakes, learn where you need to improve, or maybe just caress your ego after a particularly strong drive.
The Gran Turismo 7 State of Play segment that made the gearheads sit up and pay attention.
The physics sim has been built with input from real world drivers. 7-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton gave his feedback on the sim. GT Championship drivers have also contributed, as well as Polyphony’s technical partners at Michelin. The goal, according to Yamauchi, is to ensure that lap times are consistent with those posted in the real world and that the fine feedback of driving these courses matches the real thing.
The aerodynamics sim is designed to accurately reflect ride height changes, front and rear, and even wind direction are all taken into consideration when determining the slipstream model.
The haptic feedback and adaptive triggers on the DualSense come into play here. Like other racers, Gran Turismo 7 will use the haptics and triggers to provide an extra layer of feedback to the player. Being being able to feel the track shoulders under your tyres, you’ll also feel a tyre lock under heavy braking through the triggers. Yamauchi says the haptic feedback on the DualSense is fine enough that players will be able to feel out the grip on their front tyres by monitoring the vibration through turns alone. The goal is to make you feel like you’re holding a steering wheel, not a controller.
Positional audio will tell exactly where the cards around you are. This is a huge part of the driver’s tool kit. The fine differences in the sound reproduction will allow players, particularly those with headphones, to tell exactly where their rivals are at any given moment. This also includes cabin noise, tyre roar, and external sound like rain and loose rocks kicked off the road.
Tuning And Customisation
The Tuning Shop returns, with roughly 60 performance parts per car. You can alter the performance of your current vehicle in any way you like using any combination of parts. The car Yamauchi uses to demonstrate the tuning in the clip is a 1966 Volkswagen Beetle 1200. The side by side is clear — with even a basic set of upgrades, the tuned Beetle is a rocket in a straight line compared to the stock model.
Of course, there’s also plenty of cosmetic customisation going on as well. Colours, spoilers, roll cages, hubcaps, brake callipers, bodykits, liveries, stickers and decals. They’re all in here. Also, stickers and decals can now be applied just about anywhere, and you can place a lot more of them than in previous games.
And don’t forget to wash your car and change the oil. That’s back too.
Lets get into the Photo Modes. The first Gran Turismo 7 photo mode is called Scapes. Scapes is all about creating the perfect image of your favourite car. Select the background, the weather, the time of day, and frame your vehicle up in 3D space. Add effects to complete the image, and save. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the community creates here.
Race Photo Mode lets photograph any race you’ve participated in. Play back the race, find your moment, and snap away. Alter the shots, add effects, and build your perfect hero shot.
Showcase is where you can show off all your good work to the world. Photos, outfits, liveries, or just a hype clip, it all goes in here. See something you like? Download it and keep it.
Music Rally and Music Replay
These are two brand new features being added to Gran Turismo 7, and I’m glad the State of Play producers left it for the end.
Music Rally is a kind of time attack mode. The race begins, and a song begins to play. You have a beats-per-minute timer counting down to zero. Use the song to energise you and try to hit the checkpoints to get a time extension. This will be ideal for those players that love to drive while listening to music. We all know the right song will have you exceeding the speed limit by accident. Finally, a mode that understands this.
Music Replay is one for the production nerds. This mode will run your replay for you, but will dynamically generate an edit that matches whatever background music you feel like playing. This mode will differ from the standard replay mode, eschewing fixed cameras in favour of dynamic angles and movements, selected at random but in time with the music. In this way, Music Replay will feed you a different replay every time you watch a race back.
And there you go. Everything discussed at this morning’s PlayStation State of Play. Thoughts? Are you hype for GT7? Do you wish they’d talked about something else entirely? Sound off in the comments.
Gran Turismo 7 launches for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 on March 4th, 2022. For more, head to our Gran Turismo 7 hub.