ⓘ Gran Turismo (series)
Gran Turismo, abbreviated GT, is a series of racing simulation video games developed by Polyphony Digital. Developed for PlayStation systems, Gran Turismo games are intended to emulate the appearance and performance of a large selection of vehicles, nearly all of which are licensed reproductions of real-world automobiles. Since the franchises debut in 1997, over 80 million units have been sold worldwide for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Portable, making it the highest selling video game franchise under the PlayStation brand.
The Gran Turismo series is developed by Polyphony Digital and produced by Kazunori Yamauchi. Gran Turismo can trace back its origins to 1992, when Kazunori Yamauchi set out with a group of seven to develop the original Gran Turismo, which took five years to complete.
The appeal of the Gran Turismo series is due significantly to its graphics, a large number of licensed vehicles, attention to vehicle detail, accurate driving physics emulation, and the ability to tune performance, hence the subtitle "The Real Driving Simulator", incorporated to the franchises iconography since Gran Turismo 4. Handling of the vehicles is modeled on real-life driving impressions, tuning is based on principles of physics, and the sound of the vehicles engine is based on recordings of the actual vehicles. The game has been a flagship for the PlayStation consoles graphics capabilities, and is often used to demonstrate the systems potential.
Although Gran Turismo has an arcade mode, most gameplay derives from its simulation mode. Players start with a certain number of credits, usually 10.000, which are used to purchase vehicles from several manufacturer-specific shops, or more likely at the beginning from used car dealers, and then tune their car at the appropriate parts store for best performance. Certain events are open only to particular types of vehicles. In order to enter and progress through more difficult races, a license-testing system has been implemented, which guides players through skill development. Players may apply prize money won in events to upgrade their existing car or buy a new one, collecting a garage of vehicles.
Since Gran Turismo 5 Prologue launched on the PS3, an online aspect of the gameplay has started to evolve. GT5 Prologue has enabled users to race online with up to 16 players on track at once. Gran Turismo 4 for the PS2 was actually the first online-enabled Gran Turismo game but the online aspect of the game did not make it past beta stage.
According to Yamauchi, the cars in the first two games were made from 300 polygons, while those in Gran Turismo 3 and 4 were made up of 4.000 polygons, and the "premium cars" in Gran Turismo 5 were made up of 500.000 "standard cars" are slightly more detailed versions of those in Gran Turismo 4.
With the release of Gran Turismo Sport, it became the first game solely focusing on online-only racing, whereas offline is limited. However, Gran Turismo Sport provided post-release content at no charge, including cars and tracks, along with offline events, as well as bug fixes.
The Gran Turismo series is represented by seven primary releases, two for the PlayStation, two for the PlayStation 2, two for the PlayStation 3, and one and currently to date for the PlayStation 4. The series is also represented by many other "abbreviated" releases on the PS2 and PS3.
3.1. Gran Turismo related products Official simulator kits
Polyphony Digital has collaborated with peripherals manufacturer Logitech and auto parts maker Sparco to design official driving simulator kits for the Gran Turismo franchise. The most recent product designation is Driving Force GT. Two other racing wheels are compatible with Gran Turismo.
3.2. Gran Turismo related products Official model car kits
In 2009, radio-control model car company HPI Racing released an official RC car tie-in: the HPI E10 RTR Ford GT LM Race Car Spec II designed by Gran Turismo 200mm, a pre-built officially licensed radio-control car kit built to look exactly like the cover car for Gran Turismo 4. Plans for future releases include releasing more kits to replicate other Gran Turismo cover cars.
3.3. Gran Turismo related products Street namings
In acknowledgment of the Mount Panorama Circuit’s inclusion in Gran Turismo 6, the City of Bathurst in Australia unveiled a new street called Gran Turismo Drive’ in December 2013. Mayor of Bathurst, Cr Gary Rush said" Driving a lap of our world famous motor racing circuit is a life changing experience for those who have the chance, and the Bathurst Regional Council is very excited about opening up the Mount Panorama experience through the launch of Gran Turismo 6.”
Also in 2013, series creator Kazunori Yamauchi had a street named in honor of him in the city of Ronda. Named" Paseo de Kazunori Yamauchi,” the street snakes around the Parador de Ronda. According to Rondas city mayor Maria de la Paz Fernandez Lobato, "There is no doubt that his work has a huge cultural resonance with people today. He has driven the racing game genre to new levels of realism and his creations are as much art as technology. Ronda’s association with Gran Turismo is also a reflection that our ancient city is a modern, vibrant place to live and very much part of the 21st century.”
4.1. Gran Turismo Awards SEMA 6th annual Gran Turismo Awards 2008
The sixth annual Gran Turismo Awards was held at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The exhibitors were given a chance to have their car featured in a future version of Gran Turismo as a drivable vehicle, with Gran Turismo creator and series producer Kazunori Yamauchi judging the five finalists to award the "Best in Show" prize.
The awards ceremony was held at The Joint, located inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Las Vegas and was hosted by experienced Formula D driver, Tanner Foust. Following the ceremony, Hip-hop star Ludacris and special guests Tommy Lee and Dave Navarro treated the guests to a special live performance.
The winners of the awards are as follows:
- Best Domestic: 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Rally Sport James Shipka
- Best European Import: Volkswagen Concept Car Robert Gal
- Best Japanese Import: 2008 Infiniti G37 JR Rocha
- Best Truck/SUV: 1938 Chevrolet John Wargo
- Best Hot Rod: 1933 the Factory Five Racing Hot Rod Jason Lavigne
- Best In Show: 2008 Infiniti G37 JR Rocha
5. Gran Turismo Trophy
Since 2008, Kazunori Yamauchi is invited to the Pebble Beach Concours dElegance to present the Gran Turismo Trophy – an award "to support those who make efforts to preserve irreplaceable, precious automotive culture for future generations to come". The winners are featured in the Gran Turismo series.
The winners of the awards are as follows:
- 2009 – 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia TZ carrozzata da Zagato
- 2011 – 1960 Plymouth XNR Ghia Roadster
- 2015 – 1952 Cunningham C-4R Competition Roadster
- 2017 – 1929 Mercedes-Benz 680S Barker Tourer
- 2018 – 1966 All American Racers Eagle Special
- 2010 – 1952 Abarth 1500 Biposto Bertone BAT-1
- 2012 – 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Pininfarina Coupe
- 2016 – 1966 Ferrari 330 P4 Drogo Spyder
- 2013 – 1953 Aston Martin DB3S Sports
- 2014 – 1954 Maserati A6GCS Spider
- 2008 – 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400 Bertone prototype
The series has been involved in sponsoring various real-life sporting events and teams, including the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb as of November 2014, D1GP since the 2008 season, the 2004 Race of Champions, the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight at Circuit de la Sarthe until 2012, and racing teams such as Prost Grand Prix, Pescarolo Sport, Audi/Oreca, Peugeot, Abt Sportsline, Signatech-Nissan, Audi A4 DTM, Vita4One-BMW Z4, Aston Martin Rapide S, Igor Fraga and Sebastien Loeb.
7. GT Academy
The GT Academy is a driver discovery/development program initiated in 2008 through a partnership between Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Polyphony Digital, and Nissan Europe.
Online qualifiers are held within Gran Turismo, and the top qualifiers are invited to National Finals in each participating country. The top winners of each country are sent to a Race Camp held at Silverstone, UK for the final selection. The winner undergoes an intensive Driver Development Programme designed by Nissan which will train and license them into a professional driver, competing in races worldwide. The four winning drivers will automatically join the Nismo Global Driver Exchange and go on to race in the following years Dubai 24 Hour.
Winners of the Gran Turismo Academy include Lucas Ordoñez, Jordan Tresson and Jann Mardenborough, who have all gone on to compete in professional real-life racing. Some of these winners, who would normally be seen as "non-professionals", have received praise relating to how they are as skilled as drivers with years of experience. Based on this merit, four GT Academy drivers have been barred entry to the British GT specifically the gentleman driver section of the competition.
The Gran Turismo video game series has been one of the most popular over its lifetime, appealing to an audience ranging from casual gamers to fans of realistic racing sims.
Because of the success of the Gran Turismo series, Guinness World Records awarded the series 7 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamers Edition 2008. These records include "Largest Number of Cars in a Racing game", "Highest Selling PlayStation Game", "Oldest Car in a Racing Game", and "Largest Instruction Guide for a Racing Game".
With a collective sales total of 80.4 million units sold, it is the highest-selling PlayStation exclusive franchise of all time.
In the final issue of the Official UK PlayStation Magazine, Gran Turismo 2 was chosen as the 5th best game of all time. Edge magazine said the first game was one of the 10 greatest videogames of the last 20 years.
In 2005, Maeda Corporation, in association with Tokyo University of Science, researched the feasibility of making a real-life replica version of the fictional Grand Valley Speedway used in the series.
In 2013, Sony announced it is developing a live action Gran Turismo film with Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti from The Social Network producing the film, along with Josh Bratman, Elizabeth Contillon and Devon Franklin. DeLuna will oversee the film with Matt Millan and Joseph Kosinski will co-write the film with Alex Tse and is in talks to direct the film. Jon and Erich Hoeber will write the film.
At the Jalopnik Film Festival, Kazunori announced a documentary film covering the past 15 years of the game series to now for himself, titled KAZ: Pushing The Virtual Divide. It was released on January 22, 2014 on Hulu.
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