It’s been both the best of times and worst of times for Gran Turismo fans in 2009. It started out in what many believed would be the year of Gran Turismo 5, but actually turned out to be the year of another title almost nobody was expecting: Gran Turismo PSP! Regardless, we’ve learned a lot about GT5 – from WRC, to NASCAR, to our first look at damage and rumors of a track editor, it’s been a pretty good year. Now, as we look forward to GT5‘s Japanese release in March, here’s a look back at 2009, along with all the links in case you missed something along the way…
- GT5 Prologue was shown running in full “3D” at the Consumer Electronics Show, used to show off a prototype of Sony’s 3D display technology. I saw it myself and it was extremely impressive.
- Winner of the first GT Academy, Lucas Ordonez, successfully competes in the 24 Hours of Dubai.
- We get a close-up look at Circuit de La Sarthe, via game-play footage of the track running in GT5 Prologue.
- Polyphony Digital’s Citroen GT super car gets set for production.
- Word hits the web that Gran Turismo 5 will be playable only in “B-Spec Mode”. (Just kidding!)
- The Internet heats up after our long-respected insider, Amar212, reveals many exciting tidbits about the future of the Gran Turismo series. Discussing everything from the then un-announced Gran Turismo PSP to a mysterious track-editor in GT5, Amar’s words are still referenced today as we try to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together…
- Kazunori Yamauchi casually mentions night racing and “weather changes” for Gran Turismo 5 in an interview published by Audi.
- A leaked video from the PlayStation Qore magazine confirms that Gran Turismo PSP will be released alongside the new PSP Go hardware.
- Gran Turismo PSP is officially announced and dated, and its first video trailer is released.
- Gran Turismo 5 is officially announced during Sony’s press conference at E3 2009, and we finally get our first look at the game in a new trailer. In addition to the updated visuals, the video also confirmed the WRC and NASCAR licenses, along with our very first look at the game’s new damage rendering.
- In three different interviews (here, here, and here), Kazunori Yamauchi reiterates that Polyphony Digital can “release [Gran Turismo 5] whenever we want”, leading many to suspect a 2009 release date.
- GTPlanet expands to Facebook and Twitter, which have become two very popular extensions of the site with several thousand followers and fans. (Thanks again, guys!)
- Yamauchi emphasizes that the GT5 trailer shown off at E3 in June showed a “very small portion” of the game.
- GTPlanet acquires internal company documents which clearly outline a December 2009 release date for Gran Turismo 5.
- The infamous automotive brands of Lamborghini and Bugatti finally come to the Gran Turismo series.
- GT5 Prologue sells 4 million copies.
- The very first game-play footage of Gran Turismo 5 hits the web via a demo shown off at GamesCom.
- Yamauchi states that Gran Turismo 5 will be released “shortly after” Gran Turismo PSP.
- A brochure distributed by Sony at GamesCom shows the game is scheduled for release in the “fourth quarter” of 2009.
- Early reviews of Gran Turismo PSP are lukewarm, with most commentators disappointed with the open structure of the game and a lack of “career mode”.
- A surprise Gran Turismo 5 trailer is discovered in GT PSP.
- A breathtaking video showcasing the Ferrari 458 Italia in Gran Turismo 5 is released, providing a glimpse of new landscapes in the game.
- During a press conference at the Tokyo Game Show, Kazunori Yamauchi announces a March 2010 release date for GT5 in Japan, providing quite an unexpected shock for many fans.
- 5 years after it was first announced, Gran Turismo PSP is released worldwide.
- A secret and still-unpublished GT5 video is shown to a select group of journalists, showing off what was described as very impressive and improved damage model.
- A new GT5 video showing the Toyota FT-86 Concept is released, giving a peek at what appears to be yet another new mountainous road in the game.
- Yamauchi comments that they’re working on a “brand new” damage model for GT5 – a curious remark after some people criticized the game-play damage modeling shown off at GamesCom earlier in the year.
- In a clip that’s supposed to be showing off the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, we catch a glimpse of GT5‘s box art on what appears to be a boxed-set large enough to contain three separate discs. Speculation abounds…
- Yamauchi casts doubt on night racing and weather will eventually make it into GT5.
- The month starts out with a bang, as a Sony marketing manager casually mentions that “you can create tracks” in Gran Turismo 5, confirming what our own insider had told us about months earlier.
- Kazunori Yamauchi hints at what may be a “rewind” feature in GT5.
- Yamauchi comments that Gran Turismo 5‘s “weather system” is “done”, but emphasizes that he’s still not sure if it will make it into the final game or not, citing issues of “quality”.
- The Gran Turismo 5 Time Trial Challenge and the second GT Academy are officially announced, to be played out in a new demo showcasing GT5‘s new physics engine at the new Indianpolis Motor Speedway circuit.
- An SCEA producer for the Gran Turismo franchise mentions a “Summer 2010” North American release date for GT5.
- On Christmas day, new GT5 city tracks located in Rome and Madrid are revealed in a new video.
It’s been a pleasure (most of the time…) keeping up with GT and Kazunori Yamauchi over the past year. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride, and I hope you’ll continue to count on GTPlanet as we get ever closer to GT5 and beyond. See you in 2010!