There’s a reason Gran Turismo Sport calls itself a racing simulator instead of a video game. It’s fitting, then, that the game’s marketing would be a mix of real cars, real drivers and even offer a real motorsport license to those who qualify. Gran Turismo celebrates its 20th year anniversary with new features, new tech and a renewed focus on competition.
Manufacturer, Nation Or Pride
Gran Turismo is focusing less on collecting cars and returning to its competitive roots—giving players something bigger to race for, as evidenced by the game’s trailer released during E3 this year.
Sony and Gran Turismo developer Polyphony have emphasized the game’s esports component, with GT Sport FIA Championship preseason starting November 4. For the first time, two Gran Turismo esports tournaments will be officially sanctioned by Federation Internationale de L’Automobile (FIA)—the governing body of motorsport and road safety.
The Nations Cup will give top players the chance to represent their country of origin and the Manufacturer Fan Cup, his or her favorite auto manufacturer.
Over the years, there has been a growing crossover between esports and traditional athletes. Four graduates of Nissan’s GT Academy have gone on to become professional motorsport racers, beginning with Ricardo Sanchez.
— Gran Turismo (@thegranturismo) July 24, 2017
The annual academy pits the best Gran Turismo players in the world against one another for the chance to become a real-life driver. Sanchez, along with three other GT Academy graduates-turned-pro drivers, shared their stories in video features to inspire other gamers to compete.
Last year, Polyphony announced the ability for players to earn a real FIA license that allows them to participate in real racing events. To become eligible for the license, players must complete the racing etiquette mode, achieve silver or better results in all the campaign mode events and then maintain or exceed a certain level of driver class and sportsmanship points.
For The Love Of Cars
Gran Turismo may be more competitive, but it’s still very much about the cars. Striving for realism, the title has been used as a creative outlet for auto manufacturers. Brands like BMW, Aston Martin and Mercedes have partnered with Gran Turismo to feature “vision” cars—driveable concepts that you won’t find anywhere else. One vision car from Mercedes even made it into the upcoming Justice League movie, to be driven by Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck).
Auto manufacturers are reaching young, engaged audiences through video games. Porsche unveiled the 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS during Microsoft’s E3 press conference in June. The new vehicle appears in both Gran Turismo Sport and Forza Motorsport 7.
Gran Turismo Sport honors its partners with Brand Central—a new portal for purchasing cars and learning the history of each auto manufacturer. The new feature was designed to aid in discovering brands in the real world and includes “premium movies” made by each of these companies.
“Instead of the car dealership from past games, Brand Central is a place where boys discover cars for the first time,” Polyphony founder Kazunori Yamauchi told AListDaily. “When I was in my second year of junior high, I walked into a BMW dealer to pick up a catalog and my heart was racing. We want to recreate that experience of discovering cars for the first time.”
Players in Taiwan not only can discover cars but actually buy one in this $46,000 PS4 Pro bundle. The bundle includes a PlayStation 4 Pro, PSVR headset with Move controllers and PlayStation camera, a 12-month subscription to PlayStation Plus, Bravia 4K HDR television, Thrustmaster T-GT steering wheel and pedal set for the game, an APIGA AP1 racing chair set up and yes—an actual 2018 Mazda MX-5.
Available exclusively for PlayStation 4, Gran Turismo Sport was voted one of the most anticipated games of the holiday season and its demo attracted over a million players.