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Gran Turismo 7 is all about cars. That may sound like an obvious statement for a racing game, but series director Kazunori Yamauchi wants this entry in his famous automotive franchise to act as a celebration of car culture. And he hopes it will create new automobile enthusiasts.
The game comes out on March 4, 2022, for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4. During today’s State of Play, Sony gave the world its best looks yet at Gran Turismo 7. I was part of a media briefing that gave me even more details.
Gran Turismo 7 is ambitious. It needs to be. Gran Turismo was once the undisputed king of the racing sim genre. But it’s been almost 10 years since the launch of Gran Turismo 6, which came out for the PlayStation 3. The PlayStation 4 entry, Gran Turismo Sport, put more of an emphasis on online competition, a divisive move for fans of the franchise.
This series was once one of the most important pillars for the PlayStation brand. Now it feels like it has taken a backseat (pun entirely intended) to other racing franchises like Xbox’s Forza. Gran Turismo 7 is the franchise’s opportunity to get back on track (yes, another intentional pun).
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Developer Polyphony Digital is filling Gran Turismo 7 with content. This includes over 400 cars available at launch. Players can race in 34 locations — both from the real world and imagined — arranged into 97 different track layouts. The soundtrack includes 300 tracks from 75 artists.
It’s also looking to take advantage of the PlayStation 5. Yes, the game is also coming to PlayStation 4 — Yamauchi noted that it was difficult developing for both systems simultaneously — but Sony’s marketing focuses intensely on the PS5 version.
On PS5, players can choose from two graphics modes. A frame-rate option will give players a smooth 60 fps experience, while a ray-tracing mode allows for fancy lighting and reflections while sacrificing performance. The latter may be better suited for activities like replays and photo modes.
Gran Turismo 7 is also using the Dual Sense controller’s haptics and adaptive triggers to simulate the feel of car, including locking brakes. It won’t, however, use the controller’s built-in speaker.
Some coffee with your diesel
I found Gran Turismo 7’s new modes the most intriguing. This includes Gran Turismo Café, which offers car history and a progression system. Here, you’re given “menus” with different quests. Complete them, and you’ll learn more about the game’s cars, sometimes from the voices of the people who actually designed them.
Gran Turismo Café is also just, well, pretty. It’s serene, and it epitomizes the aesthetic of Gran Turismo 7. Even though this is a game about racing loud, mechanical machines, there’s an elegance to the presentation.
This extends to car lots. You can purchase automobiles from three places. Brand Central is where you’ll get new cars. But it isn’t just a store. You can learn about the history of game’s major brands, like Porsche, here. That museum-feeling extends even further to the Legendary Car Dealer, a beautiful place where you can purchase some of the most iconic vehicles of all time. And then there’s the Used Car Dealer, which is self-explanatory.
I’m not a big car guy myself, but Gran Turismo 7’s love and reverence for the hobby make me want to learn more. The game is happy to do just that.
Gran Turismo 7 is also placing an emphasis on music. On PS5, it supports 3D spatial audio. It also has a new mode, Music Replay, which is more about enjoying the music than racing. You drive along a track and pass under gates to extend your time limit — or music beats — and you “win” once the song ends.
You’ll also find the other sort of modes that you’d expect, including ones for car customization, online racing, and more. It looks like a complete package.
It feels like a long time since Gran Turismo has been a big deal. Gran Turismo 7 could well bring the franchise back into prominence.