The Gran Turismo series has always prided itself on being a “driving simulator” as opposed to merely a racing game. Trying to distance itself from games like Burnout Paradise (games fuelled by nitrous oxide and testosterone in equal measures), Gran Turismo has pioneered the idea that a sense of true realism is the best way to capture the romance and excitement of competitive driving.
Admittedly, the graphics are fantastic and the physics are exemplary. But, as anyone who has ever played Gran Turismo will know, the elephant in the living room has always been the absence of damage to vehicles. This blinding oversight made any true claim to realism flawed at the outset.
Series creator Kazunori Yamauchi has said that the “deformation” of vehicles is something they have aspired to but have had difficulty reconciling with car manufactures. It was assumed that the earliest we’d see anything like damage was on the full release of Gran Turismo 5 in 2009.
In an interview with IGN, however, Kazunori Yamauchi has suggested that deformation may come to Gran Turismo 5: Prologue, GT5’s baby brother, in the form of an update as early as this Autumn.
Gran Turismo 5: Prologue was released in the EU in March and is due on US store shelves and the PlayStation Network on April 17th.
The inclusion of damage would be a huge boost to a series which has always stood in contrast to games like Motorstorm and Burnout Paradise where crashing is almost half the reason for playing in the first instance. There is an amount of masochistic fun to be had in Motorstorm by destroying your car, pausing the game, and spinning the camera around, examining each little bit of smouldering shrapnel as it goes flying into the mud. Though no-one is expecting anything to this extent of Gran Turismo, seeing your vehicle’s violent demise is always a small consolation for your bad driving.
It’s early days yet but, if everything goes to plan, this is brilliant news for Gran Turismo fans and for a series that has long been at the top of its genre.
[See also: Gran Turismo 5: Prologue gallery]