The 12th of November proved to be a momentously uplifting day for Gran Turismo devotees as, after months of rumours, delays and teasing leaks, the final release date for Gran Turismo 5 was finally announced amidst a plethora of ecstatic cheers and relief.
In conjunction, the full car list was also unveiled, confirming that Gran Turismo 5 will have no less than 1031 cars to drive. It’s an undeniably staggering feat for a video game, and easily the largest line-up of cars ever seen in a driving game, trouncing GT4’s previous 700+ strong car collection.
However, there may well be over 1000 cars but literally half of these are from Japanese manufacturers – there are almost 100 Mazdas, and no less than 40 variations of the bloody Nissan Skyline, for example. It’s beyond excessive.
Now I appreciate that Polyphony are indeed a Japanese company, but I can’t help but think that things are a tad unbalanced here: when there are 135 Nissans and only 12 Ferraris, there is cause for concern and outcry. Then again, it is almost to be expected considering the original Gran Turismo consisted almost entirely of Japanese cars and it wasn’t until GT2 that Polyphony discovered the rest of the world.
The thing is, Turn 10, the American developers of Gran Turismo’s main rival Forza Motorsport, also managed to construct an impressively large garage of cars in their latest game, but you don’t see Forza Motorsport 3 overrun with gas guzzling American muscle cars and pointless variants of the same models. In fact, GT5 includes more Japanese cars than the entire showroom of Forza 3. Take note Polyphony.
Things didn’t start off well with the Standard vs. Premium model debate. You see, because Polyphony’s modelling team are fixated with crafting car models with a level of detail that surpasses real life, it would be impossible for every last car to maintain the same quality, let alone fit it all on disc.
Because of this, Polyphony revealed that around 800 cars would be “Standard” models, which were mostly upgraded car models from GT4 with a fresh lick of high definition gloss and updated physics. Premium models however are said to be lavished with an unprecedented level of detail along with fully rendered interiors, meaning that the majority of cars in the game will not be playable with the revolutionary new cockpit camera view. It was even recently reported that you cannot change the wheels on Standard cars, which is an unforgivable sin for those who love to endlessly tinker in the GT Auto.
What we’re possibly left with, then, are roughly 700 – 800 cars directly lifted from GT4, leaving only around 20% of new car content. Of course, I’ve yet to see the standard models in action yet and I’m sure they look more than respectable in glorious 1080p, but the lack of interiors is still disheartening. It makes you wonder what would have happened if they had left the game with just the 200 Premium models, but then people would have doubtlessly complained that this wasn’t enough.
It reminds me a lot of Gran Turismo 3. Back in 2001, GT3 was released with around 150 cars on disc, which, for Gran Turismo’s scrupulous standards at least, was scarce compared to GT2’s previous record of nearly 600. Again, this was principally because of the drastic increase in model detail in the jump to new hardware, and it wasn’t until GT4 three years later that the car list was back on form with over 700. It therefore makes you wonder if history will repeat itself; will GT6 be the game that GT5 was meant to be in the way that GT4 was for GT3?
Then there’s the Bugatti Veyron, arguably one of the most important and iconic cars of the 21st century, which has been relegated to that of a Standard model. In all honesty, I don’t understand this decision since the Veyron was released after GT4 and was therefore modelled during GT5’s era. I can only hope it was written in error on their part.
For me however, there is one omission that hurt the most: Where are the reasonably priced cars from Top Gear? I’m talking of course about the Suzuki Liana, Chevrolet Lacetti and the more recent Kia C’eed, the renowned, modest cars that are the staple of the “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car” segment, whereby a celebrity performs a lap around the Top Gear Test Track.
Speaking of which, it has been widely publicised that the Top Gear Test Track is a featured track in the final game. So yes, we can still pretend to be a certain childish, middle-aged man squealing “POWERRRR” whilst thundering along the track in ridiculously overpowered cars, but be honest: when you first heard the track would be in the game, you had dreams of knocking the likes of Jay Kay and Simon Cowell off the Celebrity lap board whilst exclaiming “and across the line!” at the end of every lap to yourself.
Dithering around in the reasonably priced car is, after-all, an integral part of the Top Gear track experience, so their omission is rather baffling – a possible future DLC pack, perhaps?
I could go on. Where is Koenigsegg? Hello Saab? No BMW E30 or Range Rovers? Porsche? Oh yes, EA still has the sole rights to Porsche. Boo.
Gran Turismo 5 was meant to be a virtual motoring museum of sorts, and on the surface having over 1000 driveable cars is a petrol head’s heavenly wet dream. On the evidence of the car list however, it seems to be a severe case of quantity over quality, but if you ever wanted a tour of the Japanese car industry then look no further.
Still, it’s nothing that a stream of DLC can’t solve but Polyphony certainly has a lot of catching up to do. Let’s just hope the remaining features of GT5 fully live up to what has been an arduous wait for what promises to be the ultimate driving simulator.