Gran Turismo 7 is just over a month from releasing on March 4, and Sony kicked off the game’s marketing blitz today with a half-hour “State of Play” video dedicated to the title. Before the big show, we also had the chance to participate in a virtual media event and round-table interview with GT series creator Kazunori Yamauchi.
This is the biggest release of information about the game since our exclusive interview with Yamauchi-san in September, so there’s a lot to cover. Our primary focus will be on newly revealed material in today’s presentation; if you’re looking for a comprehensive, “everything-we-know” roundup, see our Gran Turismo 7 Guide, which includes confirmed car and track lists.
It’s worth mentioning that all of the screenshots below are from the PlayStation 5 version of the game. No PlayStation 4 comparisons, screenshots, or videos have been released yet.
Table of Contents
- Gran Turismo World
- Buying Cars
- Tracks, Time-of-Day, and Weather
- Graphics Modes
- 3D Spatial Audio
- Haptic Feedback
- Gran Turismo Café
- Music Replay
- Music Rally
- Scapes Movies…?
- More Questions Remain
Gran Turismo World
Kazunori Yamauchi’s presentation made it more clear than ever: Gran Turismo 7 is about cars. As Yamauchi explained in his opening, “The theme is to convey the culture and fascination for cars — the most fantastic gadget of humankind born in the 20th century — to a new generation of people.”
The game intends to accomplish this by going back to its roots, paying homage to its ancestors with one of the most fundamental elements of classic Gran Turismo titles: the “World Map”. Ditching the sometimes cold and clinical menus of the more recent titles, the warm-and-cozy maps gives the game’s various features a sense of place.
Officially, the map includes the following locations:
- Driving Missions
- License Tests
- Used Car Dealership
- Brand Central
- World Circuits
- Gran Turismo Café
- Legendary Car Dealership
- Tuning Shop
“Gran Turismo 7 has no clear ending,” Yamauchi stated. “I believe GT7 is the type of game where you will get a lot of mileage and discover a new way to play it, even a year down the line.”
An official “day 1” car list still has not been revealed, although we have updated our own Gran Turismo 7 Car List with a list of every vehicle that has appeared in official game media. During the presentation, Kazunori Yamauchi re-confirmed that “over 400 cars will be available from day 1”.
In the game, you will be able to buy cars from three distinct locations:
- “Brand Central”: This is the equivalent of classic game’s “New Car Dealership” where you can purchase cars built in 2001 and later.
- Used Car Dealer: A place to buy older, used cars at more reasonable prices. In our interview, Yamauchi-san confirmed the used car dealer will feature a changing selection of cars every day.
- Legendary Car Dealer: This dealership will feature extraordinary and historically significant cars.
Tracks, Time-of-Day, and Weather
At launch, Gran Turismo 7 will officially contain “over 34 locations and over 90 layouts” of tracks which will host “over 100” race events. Again, an official track list has not been revealed, but our own curated Gran Turismo 7 Track List shows you what nearly all of them will be.
Each track will have several several activities available, including:
- Circuit Experience: As debuted in GT Sport, this mode helps you quickly learn the sections of each track in a series of mini-challenges.
- Time Trial: Take a car and set hot laps around the circuit.
- Drift Trial: Score points for drifting around the circuit.
- Custom Races: Specify your own parameters for a race on the circuit. We still don’t have the exact details of this feature, though we can presume it will at least provide the same functionality as seen in GT Sport.
- Meeting Place: Although we are still light on details for this new feature, Yamauchi-san described it as a virtual social space dedicated to the circuit. “It’s like being at the circuit café at the Nurburgring. You can imagine it as an open lobby where everyone from around the world will join and you will be able to chat with them at any particular time, and you can drive together as well.”
Yamauchi also confirmed some more details about weather and time of day simulation on the game’s circuits.
All tracks will have limited time and weather transitions, featuring morning to evening time progression and weather that can cycle between sunny and cloudy.
However, a few circuits — and he highlighted tracks which host 24-hour races in the real world, like Spa, Le Mans, Daytona, and Nurburgring — will also feature evening through morning for a full 24-hour cycle.
Wet weather will only be available on some unspecified tracks, with the rain affecting both the surface moisture and temperature and accounted for in the physics model. Unlike GT Sport, it won’t be permanent wet weather either, with Yamauchi pointing to the drying line also affecting vehicle handling.
We have known that GT7 would feature sophisticated “ray-traced” graphics for a some time, but they will not be used everywhere. The game features two different graphic rendering modes:
- Frame Rate Mode: Used for gameplay, this mode runs at 60 frames-per-second and does not feature ray-tracing.
- Ray Tracing Mode: Used for race replays, “3D stages”, and Photo Mode.
From the sample video provided comparing the two modes, the difference was subtle, if not indistinguishable in some shots of race replays. The most obvious benefit of ray tracing was the visible reflections of cars onto each other.
3D Spatial Audio
Although Yamauchi-san has stated the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 versions of the game are equivalent, the PlayStation 5 version does provide a significantly upgraded auditory experience in the form of “3D Spatial Audio”.
While GT7 provides the equivalent of a 16-channel audio system by default, the PS5 can render “several hundred channels of speakers” using ambisonic technology. Ambisonics is a “full-sphere” surround-sound format which can simulate sound sources both above and below the listener. Ambisonic transmission channels do not carry discrete speaker signals; instead it sends a speaker-independent representation of where the sound is coming from which is then decoded by the audio equipment.
Yamauchi says the best way to experience this effect is with headphones. You should be able to tell exactly where the sounds are coming from, be it helicopters flying over the track, other cars around you, or the sound of screeching tires below.
The atmospheric sounds have also been enhanced; sounds will reflect off of different materials in different ways, depending on the texture and hardness of the surface, creating a more natural ambiance.
Another PS5-exclusive feature, we now have more specific details about exactly what sensations are transmitted through the console’s sophisticated DualSense controller, including differences in surface texture, slipping vibrations in the front tires, engine/drivetrain vibrations, and the resonance of the car’s body.
The controller’s adaptive triggers will be put to good use as well. In addition to the vibrations induced by anti-lock braking systems, players will feel a unique difference in the weight of the brake pedal between cars.
Gran Turismo Café
Yamauchi-san spent a significant amount of time discussing the new “Gran Turismo Café” feature in both his presentation and during the interviews, suggesting it will play an important role in GT7. It will be central to the game’s educational features and will encourage players to embrace car culture in a comfortable, virtual café.
The café’s owner, Luca, will be your guide, presenting you with over 30 different “Menu Books” explaining various cars in the game. Yamauchi mentioned that some designers of these cars will make appearances in the café as you are learning about them, though we will have to wait to find out exactly who they are and how they will actually appear in-game.
Clearing all of the Menu Books will bring GT7 to what Yamauchi described as the game’s “so-called ending”, though he was quick to mention the game does not have an actual end point.
“Because we have such a complex system [in GT7], the Café is something that provides a sort of road map to the things that you can do in the game. These Menu Books, they are not going to be hard targets, but they lead the player to understand the different things that you can do in the game and it’s something that will give a better understanding of the world of Gran Turismo,” Yamauchi explained.
“We had the Museum that first appeared in Gran Turismo Sport, but this takes it one step further. […] I think this is important for the future of Gran Turismo as well, for you to see the people that are involved in the industry and the culture of cars.”
The return of car tuning and performance parts is one of the most hotly anticipated features of Gran Turismo 7. Yamauchi-san is excited about it, too: he described the Tuning screen as a “mini-game” all its own, and his personal favorite part of GT7.
This screen is divided into three parts: the left shows you the various indexes of the car’s performance, the right shows the settings and options themselves, and the middle allows you to measure the impact of the changes you make, including the impact on the overall “Performance Point” value.
As Yamauchi-san described in our September interview, the Performance Point value is not derived from a simple formula, but by an evaluation of the car after it drives a simulated lap in the background.
When asked about how these settings could be shared, Yamauchi had an interesting response, noting that the screen had been designed with the use of screenshots in mind. “The settings can’t necessarily be shared through the [in-game] Showcase, but we were careful of how the settings screens are set up now. There are a lot of different details in the settings there, but if you take a few screen captures and share that, you will be able to share settings with friends,” Yamauchi explained. No doubt, GTPlanet’s Gran Turismo 7 forum will be more important than ever amongst players sharing tunes.
He went on to describe why a more detailed tune sharing feature was not implemented. “The status of the cars could be different between players, based on different aero parts, tuning parts, or performance parts being installed. If we just copied over settings data from a different car, there could be some discrepancies that would not work. That’s why we made it so that you can’t share directly.”
Yamauchi acknowledged how difficult and intimidating car tuning can be and confirmed that Polyphony Digital will be digitally publishing “Apex” — their book on vehicle dynamics originally included in the GT5 Collector’s Edition — for free.
Music has a long history in the Gran Turismo series, and GT7 is set to double-down on this tradition by reviving and updating a feature that was first introduced in Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec.
Gran Turismo 7 includes dynamic replays with randomly-positioned cameras that cut between different shots to the beat of the music. No two replays will look the same and will use different cameras every time.
“I’ve always had this wish to integrate music in a different form in Gran Turismo for a long time now. Over the last five years, at Polyphony’s studios, myself and our staff have a sound room where we play piano and different instruments into the night. That’s where the music replay idea came from and we succeeded integrating that into GT7,” Yamauchi said.
When the term “Music Rally” first appeared in a Japanese promotional booklet for GT7 back in December, we were not sure what to make of it. As it turns out, that was not a typo or mis-translation: it will be Gran Turismo 7’s quirky, just-for-fun feature.
It’s basically a checkpoint-style game mode — but instead of racing against the clock, you are racing against the beat of music. You start out with a set number of “beats” which are replenished if you make it through a checkpoint in time. As the BPM changes, you will have to adjust your driving to make it through the next checkpoint before your “beats” run out.
The goal is to drive as far as possible before running out of beats, and you’ll be able to compete with your friends based on the distance you are able to go.
“In Music Rally, we really just wanted people to enjoy the music,” explained Yamauchi. “We also wanted to make it so that people who are playing this for the first time — who never played a car game before or kids playing a car game for the first time — we wanted it to be something that they could enjoy.”
Although no official information about this feature has been released (and Yamauchi-san did not take our question about it) a screenshot in the media pack reveals a curious feature called “Scapes Movies”.
This is likely an extension of the “Photo Scapes” feature which debuted in GT Sport, which allows you to render your virtual cars inside actual photographs. Sport also featured background menu videos which appeared to show your car in motion driving through similarly photo-realistic environments. Assuming this feature gives players more creative control over those types of videos, it would certainly be a fun and impressive new feature to play around with.
Another unexplained feature in the Garage menu is labeled as “Gifts”, as well as the “Wishlist” icon in the car dealership screens.
More Questions Remain
Although this informational blowout for Gran Turismo 7 answered many questions, it raised new ones as well.
At this point, we still have yet to see details about the game’s online features, although Yamauchi has remarked they will be equivalent to GT Sport’s with more stability and optimizations. We eagerly await the official car and track lists and more details on “Scapes Movies”, as well. It is also worth noting that FIA branding is still absent from any GT7 material, suggesting Polyphony Digital’s partnership with the governing body of motorsport may be over.
With less than a month to go before GT7’s release on March 4, the floodgates are about to open as PlayStation begins the multi-national push to promote one of the company’s biggest first-party titles. As always, we’ll be keeping a close eye on anything and everything released — stay tuned!