Gran Turismo 5’s release on the PS3 was an important event for the console. It brought true, next generation racing to the console and an in-depth experience that many sports racing fans were salivating for. In many ways, the GT series has helped to set the tone for racing games on consoles, that is until the Xbox hit the scene with Forza. Suddenly Polyphony Entertainment found themselves behind the eight-ball, and playing a little bit of catch up.
Gran Turismo 6’s release is right around the corner and they’ve been doing a whole lot more to keep up with things. The improvements to the series goes much deeper than simply another installment on the racing franchise. There are some real improvements to the series, and it’s going to be great to get our hands on all the changes that are going into the franchise.
"The painful loading times from Gran Turismo 5 have been reduced, and the graphics have been improved by several notches. While Polyphony is certainly following their standard development schedule of two games per console generation, GT6 certainly isn’t just a filler in this franchise to just keep up with their release schedule."
The Gran Turismo series has always strived to make the most realistic racing game they possibly can, and with each iteration that is released, Polyphony seems to be getting a little bit closer. The Polyphony team has been collecting data on tracks and cars since the release of GT5 and it’s looking like it will really pay off for them. According to the developers they’ve rebuilt the physics engine along with complex aerodynamics and suspension system. This brings a much more realistic weight displacement as players race through corners and over hills. For instances, it’s clear to see how the vehicle shifts it’s weight from one wheel to the other in the trailers, when the player breaks hard, and swings through a corner. This is a much more true-to-life addition to the game that may not be immediately noticeable, but would be if you went back to play the older ones on the PlayStation 2.
The developers have done a good job of improving the franchise from the ground up. The painful loading times from Gran Turismo 5 have been reduced, and the graphics have been improved by several notches. While Polyphony is certainly following their standard development schedule of two games per console generation, GT6 certainly isn’t just a filler in this franchise to just keep up with their release schedule. Lead developer, Kazunori Yamauchi is probably one of the biggest critics of the franchise. He knows what is wrong with each game and what he wants to fix moving forward. It’s this honesty with himself and his development team that allows for vast improvements from game to game.
Not only has Polyphony made changes to the physics, they’ve made extensive overhauls to the audio in the game. While this may not sound like too much, it’s incredibly important. The right audio queues can tell the player how they approach a corner, whether it’s too fast, too slow, just perfect or completely over the limit. The developers are trying incredibly hard to make this game feel like you’re really racing and with a steering wheel and pedals they very well may have nailed the formula for the ultimate simulator.
"Polyphony is releasing GT6 with full 1080p and 60 frames a second support, giving the feeling of a much more fast paced, nail-biting experience. This is a vast improvement over GT5. While this is a great move overall for the game, it definitely seems to suffer from a lack of hardware boost on the PS3."
Polyphony has also done it’s damnedest to keep things that have worked in the past, while changing many aspects of the game. The driver’s view is something they have improved upon. With a static camera they’ve managed to nail the feeling of acceleration and deceleration. While many racing games use various visual effects and physics to control this feeling, making it a dramatic shift between braking and accelerating, GT6 is looking to make it as realistic as it can. The feeling of deceleration takes time and the player can almost feel the weight of the car as players move through the turns.
Polyphony Digital and lead designer, Kazunori Yamauchi are certainly willing to change anything that they feel needs a face lift though. The previous games only serve as a benchmark to move things forward. They’ve decided what worked, and what didn’t work. Remember that sluggishness in control that took awhile to get used to in GT5? Yeah, Yamauchi and his team admitted that it was a problem, without even batting an eye either. The changes to weight distribution in the turns and more accurate physics makes all this feel much more smooth and much more accurate.
Polyphony is releasing GT6 with full 1080p and 60 frames a second support, giving the feeling of a much more fast paced, nail-biting experience. This is a vast improvement over GT5. While this is a great move overall for the game, it definitely seems to suffer from a lack of hardware boost on the PS3. The current demo for GT6 works well so far, however there are a few issues with it, the game has a tendency to skip or feel jittery from time to time, especially leaning into corners with quite a few vehicles around it. While it’s relatively rare, gamers may get annoyed with it if it’s not fixed before release. The good news is that this game doesn’t have to be played in 1080p, and playing in a lower HD resolution seems to fix the frame dropping issues.
There’s really a lot to look forward to in Gran Turismo 6. Polyphony keeps pushing the envelope with each release. Unfortunately, as with every new entry, we may be waiting a bit to see what comes next in the Gran Turismo series on the PlayStation 4, but it will be well worth the wait seeing as there’s already a plenty of differences between Gran Turismo 5 and 6.