One of the headlining features of the recent Gran Turismo 7 Spec II update is the return of the Gran Turismo Sophy AI, at least to PlayStation 5 versions of the game, and our latest video sees GTPlanet’s lead video producer Chaz Draycott take it out for a test drive.
In case you’ve missed it, Sophy — named for the Greek suffix meaning “knowledge” — is a new racing game AI system developed not by Polyphony Digital but by a specialist department of Sony called Sony AI.
It started out as one intern’s project to develop a racing game AI that could be faster than any human player in Gran Turismo Sport. However Florian Fuchs’ original idea later became the modern Sophy, developed to provide a fast and clean AI racing driver that behaved in a more human fashion.
The team has developed (and continues to develop) Sophy using a machine-learning system called “Quantile-Regression Soft Actor-Critic” (QR-SAC), selecting the best instances after thousands of rounds of training using Sony’s cloud capabilities.
Previously we’ve seen the resulting AI “agents” taking on the fastest players in the world twice — as well as a live performance at the World Series Showdown — before making a limited appearance on our consoles in February 2023.
Sony AI used that period to gauge player reactions to Sophy and refine the system for a larger, permanent appearance, on PlayStation 5 which began on November 2. It’s still a limited mode, available at only nine tracks right now, but Sophy can now use 340 of the game’s cars rather than just four.
With Chaz not being part of GTPlanet’s crew back in February, Sophy 2.0 was the first time he’d have a chance to experience it, and you can see his reactions — especially to the Toyota pod-like reaction emojis — in the video above.
In total Chaz tries three races, with his tuned Porsche 964 at Laguna Seca, a Gr.4 race at Red Bull Ring, and a race in a stock Ferrari 458 at Tsukuba.
As many players have noticed, the tuned car is a little overwhelming as Sophy appears to only select stock vehicles. However the standard machines provide much more of an insight into how Sophy’s movements and tactics are more human — even prone to the occasional optimistic lunge and error, as Chaz helps to write off a $20,000,000 car…
Once again, as with our initial experience back in February 2023 ahead of Sophy’s in-game debut, we’ve come away impressed with the human-like behavior of the new AI. Hopefully future game updates will expand its availability track by track.