Kazunori Yamauchi’s tremendous passion for motorsport is terribly contagious. In 1997, the Polyphony Digital team set a new standard for console driving with Gran Turismo. your tools? The 32-bit of the first PlayStation was of course pushed to the limit, but it was the cult of detail that made the difference. 25 years later, Yamauchi is aware of what the next great leap in quality in driving simulators will be, he will shape it in Gran Turismo 7 and the technology of PS5 will be the key element to realize this vision.

Ahead of the first State of Play in 2022, Polyphony Digital and PlayStation Studios had the courtesy of inviting us to a preview of all the news of Gran Turismo 7, including the return of its star modes and those handwritten by Yamauchi himself Gaming experiences that we miss so much in Gran Turismo Sport. Because GT7 is the return through the front door of the saga. A seventh installment brimming with the same ambition as the original Gran Turismo. And those are big words.

We won’t deny you, at VidaExtra we are crazy about everything related to driving. Whether it’s simulation, more arcade style or the one that invites us to go through immersive open worlds. And in this regard, we already anticipate that Gran Turismo will not return to compete with the other motorsport alternatives, but to offer new sensations and live up to the enormous expectations that 25 years later still generate its acronym.

However, we assume a common ground: the photorealistic finishes achieved by driving video games no longer leave us in a state of shock. Not like the first four parts of Gran Turismo. As our colleague Rubén noted, beyond resolution or performance, the graphical jumps between one generation and another no longer seem so spectacular. A challenge that Yamauchi is not only fully aware of, but that he takes into account in this installment, finding new ways in the PS5 DualSense to convey real passion for driving beyond the screen.

In fact, the central idea around which Gran Turismo 7 revolves isn’t limited to the simulation approach: Yamahuchi’s ultimate goal, he told us, is to celebrate the past 150 years of motorsport and culture. And at the same time offer on PS5 and PS4 a motoring experience capable of captivating fans of the usual saga, the most demanding fans of simulators and welcoming those who have started to discover the world of motorsport. There are of course many open fronts at once.

The three keys to Gran Turismo 7: DualSense, Raytracing and Spatial Sound

When Kazunori Yamauchi designed the original Gran Turismo and its even more acclaimed sequel, he knew how to make the most of the original PlayStation hardware. Gran Turismo 7 captures the spirit of those installments and that means – first and foremost – putting everything on the table that this new part of Sony’s next-gen console can take advantage of, which is no small feat. A Gran Turismo tailored for PS5? So that’s how.

In short, the cars and tracks in Gran Turismo 7 will look amazing thanks to ray tracing technology, and the truth is that Polyphony has benefited from it like few other studios have done so far. The reflections projected onto the sheet metal, every single detail of the dashboard and the most subtle finishes are simply amazing; and the on-screen result translates into new levels of realism that are difficult to get used to with the naked eye. Both in losing in the details of our car and in the competition and logically in the replays.

However, given the huge jump in quality that the use of ray tracing brings visually, the player must weigh another advantage that is just as interesting or even more interesting than this technology: as Yamauchi told us, when the ray mode has activated tracing limited the fps (frames per second), so Gran Turismo 7 also gives the player the option to play in performance mode, guaranteeing a 60fps experience during gameplay. Which one is better? Well, there and each player must weigh their tastes.

In fact, it won’t be the only detail that will split players’ opinions. Although this type of simulator has always been played with a force feedback steering wheel, Gran Turismo 7 was developed with the aim of making the most of DualSense and its possibilities.

  • Right from the start, the adaptive triggers react individually to elements such as the braking resistance of each car and, in addition, take into account both the anti-lock braking system and wheel skidding.
  • But that’s not all: thanks to the haptic feedback system, the player feels the ruts on the curbs or the finest potholes in the asphalt. Generate unprecedented controller immersion in a console driving game.

The third main axis that supports the bulk of the news, mainly focused on exploiting the unique possibilities of PS5, goes through the 3D Tempest audio technology with compatible headphones. Just as Yamahuchi showed us, not only by playing with headphones or speakers, the player will know what is happening in the cabin of his car, but he will also precisely and accurately feel the position of the other cars and drivers on the road. Sharpness, as well as the position of helicopters flying overhead, and even the rain on the car roof and windows. In addition, the sound of the tires adapts to the driver’s position.

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Regarding the weather, Gran Turismo 7’s claim to offer realism is not limited to the technical, the visual or the sound, but also includes the simulation of time and climate. Japan’s skies will change like Japan, and California’s skies will change like California. The moon will rise and set in the same way as any location and the color of the sky and lighting will depend on the weather. As Yamahuchi told us, the game’s simulation is not limited to the representation of the stars, but also to the visibility of the planets.

And that is reflected in the game. This will affect the lighting and/or color temperature of the item; but also on the environment of each race or the surface on which we ride. When it rains, puddles appear on the track, changing in shape and depth as the rain develops throughout the game, appearing in very localized places and naturally. Logically, this has an effect when driving over it at certain speeds. And that’s not all: Depending on the weather, the track dries at different speeds for each race.

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However, players will not be completely defenseless as they have a weather radar in the UI that they can manage as they please. Crazy.

No less interesting is the way Gran Turismo 7 uses ultra-fast SSD technology, which reduces the transition to immersion in the race to a few seconds. But that’s not all: in Gran Turismo the customization of cars returns and the possibility of improving them by adjusting all their values ​​in detail.

What makes Gran Turismo 7 different from previous deliveries is that although we make adjustments to our car, according to Yamahuchi, unlike the results of the changes through an equation, a simulation of the adjustments we make works in real time that details the performance of the respective car. Crazy.

The return of classic modes and two new surprises

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Gran Turismo Sport deservedly divided opinion. His way of focusing mainly on bringing the experience to eSports meant leaving out a very significant part of the essence of Gran Turismo and its many offline pursuits. Yamauchi takes note of this and given this new numbered installment, it has been proposed to restore the best of the numbered installments, add the GT Sport competitive experience and introduce two new game modes.

First of all, Gran Turismo 7’s interface restores the world map scheme, from which we can approach all the possibilities that the game offers us at a glance. A huge range of options that invites us not to get lost in the dealerships that are regularly updated, or to optimize our cars through the ambitious competitive online experience of Gran Turismo Sport in a special mode. And yes, split-screen couch multiplayer will be present in GT7.

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As far as the supply of vehicles is concerned, things are going to get off to a strong start. Gran Turismo 7 offers three dealerships with more than 420 cars since the day of release:

  • Brand Central, kind of a big mall with 2001 models
  • A used car dealer at lower prices, including very popular models
  • And a dealership dedicated to legendary cars and behind which every car has a great story.

There will be many excuses and excuses to drive or try new cars. In fact, Yamauchi is considering the possibility of us feeling overwhelmed early in the game. And it’s there…