TGS 06: Gran Turismo HD Updated Hands-On

We sit down with the premier PS3 racing sim and take it for a few laps.

by

TOKYO--There are two ways to play the latest build of Gran Turismo HD for the PlayStation 3 on the floor of the Tokyo Game Show. You can stand and play the game with the dual-shock analog control, or you can wait in a slightly longer line and experience the game as the motosports gods intended you to: sitting in a form-fitting Sparco racing seat setup complete with roll bars, a Logitech GT wheel and pedal system, full surround-sound speakers, and a 37-inch Sony display to experience the true 1080p high-definition quality of the game. Needless to say, when it came to our first hands-on look at GT HD since the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo, we chose the latter.

It was a fine choice, too. Sitting in the snug seat, fighting the force-feedback controls on the wheel, and generally enjoying the full-sounding car engine and squeal of the tires in a relatively private and enclosed space just feels right and really captures the sense of "you and the road" that makes the GT series so compelling. It helps, too, that the "road" part of this equation is an entirely new track. Dubbed The Eiger Nordwand, it's a long, hilly course vaguely reminiscent in shape of the Yellowstone track in Gran Turismo 4.

While the two tracks might be similar in general layout, they couldn't be more different in terms of visuals. This mountainous, treacherous road features plenty of elevation changes, challenging switchbacks, and a few long straights to let you open up the car. The layout of the track is certainly a challenge, made all the more difficult by the beauty of your surroundings. The imposing snow-peaked Swiss Alps form the backdrop of your race, and on the beginning leg of the lap, you'll get a peek over the perilous cliffs below. The sense of depth to the environments is simply astonishing in GT HD--the mountains feel distant yet are rendered with such detail that you will likely lose a few seconds off your first lap gawking at the scenery. Objects closer to the car are no less impressive, including loads of spectators lining the track waving Swiss flags--it is truly an impressive spectacle. The game's frame rate hung together for most of the demo, dipping only during the tightest corners in the game.

We tackled the course in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IV, one of the 10 selectable rides available (other drives included the Mazda Eunos Roadster, Toyota Celica GT-Four, Suzuki Cappuccino, and the ubiquitous Subaru Impreza WRX), and by the second lap, we were sliding our way around the course with the best of them. If you've spent any time in a GT game, you'll feel right at home with GT HD's driving model. The Mitsubishi felt heavy under acceleration and twitchy under braking (in good ways, mind you), and sliding the tail end of the car around corners became more or less second nature by the second lap.

Unfortunately, we were allowed only two laps on the Eiger course in the slick little racing setup, and it's left us with the hunger to try another few laps with the game. We hope to learn more about Gran Turismo HD in the coming days during TGS 2006, so be sure to check back soon.

[UPDATE] Yesterday, we had a chance to visit Polyphony Digital headquarters and see a presentation from PD president and Gran Turismo series creator Kazunori Yamauchi. During the presentation, Yamauchi outlined his vision not just for the next game in the GT series, Gran Turismo HD, but also for the future of the series going forward.

The biggest news on Gran Turismo HD is that the game will be split into two portions, known as Gran Turismo HD Premium and Gran Turismo HD Classic. The significant differences between the two "sides" of the game are extensive, not just in quantity but in terms of visual quality. First let's talk numbers. Gran Turismo HD Premium will feature 30 cars and two tracks, all of which have been modeled from the ground at a level of visual fidelity that simply hasn't been approached in the game before. As Yamauchi told us, modeling cars for the HD Premium version of the game takes roughly six months for each one, and the models themselves are composed of tens of thousands of polygons (as opposed to merely the thousands that compose those found in GT HD Classic).

As you might expect, the Classic version of GT HD will feature the "quantity" side of the equation--more than 750 cars, 51 tracks, and thousands of downloadable items. All of the assets in the game will come from data supplied from previous GT games, all upgraded for high-definition presentation. Essentially GT HD Classic will be a compilation of previous Gran Turismo games presented in HD quality.

But that isn't the entire story. Because GT HD is being treated as an entirely online project, Yamauchi says he envisions a constantly changing and evolving game after it hits store shelves. The online strategy outlined by Yamauchi included some obvious game features that will be included in the game--including online racing, time trials, drift contests, car clubs, and voice chat--and there will also be some new features that Polyphony Digital plans on adding down the line: spectator mode, bulletin boards, race builder tool, livery editor, and a vibrant marketplace for unlocking new cars, tracks, and so forth.

As Yamauchi explained, the original Gran Turismo games were meant to be played by the user--with GT HD and subsequent games, Yamauchi hopes to provide the ability for players themselves to contribute to the content and make GT HD a more personalized experience, thus the inclusion of livery editors and race creators. Not all of these online features will be available on the day GT HD is released; instead, features will be added over time in regular game updates. In addition to features, Yamauchi said his studio plans on releasing updates for the game's artificial intelligence after the game's release--two such updates are currently planned: one by the end of 2006 and the next in the second quarter of 2007.

From a gameplay standpoint, the physics of Gran Turismo HD have progressed to the point that Yamauchi believes they will need to add multiple difficulty levels to appeal both to the hardcore GT users and those new to the series. The GT HD demo, for example, featured both a normal driving mode and a "professional" setting, which had less grip on the tires, twitchier acceleration, and cars that were simply more "squirrely" under braking. Damage, which Yamauchi jokingly referred to as "the homework [Polyphony Digital] always forgets to turn in], will be in GT HD at some point, though Yamauchi was careful to point out that different cars may suffer differing levels of damage. To appease manufacturers, the game might feature extensive damage on race-trimmed vehicles, while only minimal or cosmetic damage on the everyday factory street models, but this is all still up in the air at this point.

One thing that isn't up in the air is the deal with Ferrari, which was signed and agreed upon just a few weeks ago. The Prancing Pony brand has traditionally shunned the GT series but has finally relented and will feature prominently in the game. We saw modeled renders of Ferrari's gorgeous 599 GTB model during Yamauchi's presentation, and we can't wait to give it a spin in the game. Though details are currently sketchy, Yamauchi hinted that the Ferrari partnership in GT HD and subsequent games may go beyond merely featuring Ferrari's lineup in the game.

One other piece of the GT HD puzzle is the idea of the marketplace. Showing a mock-up of the Sony GT online shopping center, Yamauchi said players will be able to download new cars, tracks, and exclusive items for their version of GT HD. No price point has been announced for any of the items that will be available, nor do we know how downloads will be made available in different regions. For example, if a player is "shopping" in North America, will he or she only be able to purchase cars available in that area? Will cars be available in packs or as individual units? At this point, it's still up in the air. Furthermore, the idea of purchasing new cars and tracks brings up the rather obvious question of unlockable content in the next GT. What incentive will there be for players to unlock cars, if they can merely whip out their credit card and simply buy exactly what they want? Nonetheless, it seems as though a balance will be struck between purchased and unlocked content in the game's after-release support.

So with GT HD coming out and being supported with regular updates postrelease, how does the eventual Gran Turismo 5 fit in the picture? Yamauchi isn't 100 percent certain at this point. Some aspects of GT5 are obvious--eventually every car available in the GT roster will be modeled in the same incredibly precise detail as the 30 being featured in the upcoming GT HD Premium, a project that will take many years. As to what kind of game GT5 will be, Yamauchi explains that it largely depends on the feedback received from GT HD. Perhaps GT5 will be merely a compilation of all the different updates that occur for GT HD in the coming years, or perhaps it will be a logical extension of the kinds of things that are found in the game. We won't know for several more years, however, since GT HD is the first thing on Yamauchi's mind right now. The game is currently slated for release at the end of the year in Japan and Asia and 2007 for North America and Japan. We'll have much more on the game in the coming months, so stay tuned.

Discussion

141 comments
Uber_Antwerp
Uber_Antwerp

Aren't GT5 and HD the same game? Anyways, I played the demo of this at Target today. It looks beautiful and the cars handle amazingly. I was very impressed.

manolobrown2
manolobrown2

yeah that's weird why is this game even on gamespot, wasn't it cancelled and gt 5 is now in the works?

AndysInsane515
AndysInsane515

uhhhh this game isnt even out...i mean i work at gamestop and you kant find it...heard that it isnt even gonna be made anymore...sucks...i mean the PS3, the developers are having a hard time making games for it, its really difficult...but some people dont understand...well its my opinion guys but GTHD wont be out.....

AFWorm
AFWorm

it's definitelly a high quality game. Very real feel. Awesome.

Myskyline
Myskyline

I hope you can do more with the tons of cars in your garage rather than having them like sitting ducks only to be raced.You know mix it up a bit with NFS underground....never the less Im looking forward to it.

senrils
senrils

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Greydawg
Greydawg

"The game is currently slated for release at the end of the year in Japan and Asia and 2007 for North America and Japan." It's being released in Japan twice? Too bad it's not a launch title.......

The-ace
The-ace

well i don't mind playing GT:HD For a while... Untill the REAL GT5 gets done im gonna wait cuz the buying stuff online sucks. GT5 = GT:HD Premium multiplied by 25 (30 cars becoming 750 with full PS3 capabilities will PWN EVERY SINGLE RACING GAME EVER!!) i'd like to get more cars and better physics and AI. than car damage cuz it sucks to waste you're much hard earned cash in the game on repairing the *ALMOST* dead car you have by the end of the race that's worth alot more than the said car in mint condition + all upgrades. If anyone emphasizes forza over GT just shut up nobody asked your opinion in the first place.

DonMolina
DonMolina

Sorry guyz but I just think you've got it all wrong in your heads... First of all GT is the most realistic Racing game ever. End of story._ Moreover, Premium and Standard will coexist in the same disc. It will be something like the high-res in the arcade mode of GT1 (remember?). And last but not least the on-line purchasing stuff... They just say that they will have over 750 licenced cars in the game, and some more online for everyone to buy... Noone is going to ask you for some extra $$$ to race a Zonda, a Skyline or an Exige...OK??? Plus the new GT HAS FERRARI!!! What more could you ever ask?

cannibal127-9
cannibal127-9

Thank god. I am quite excited about this game, and the hint DEMO of things to come!!!

andyoliver
andyoliver

is there not going to be damage? i think there should be to be honest!! we are just going to get GT4 with a better picture.

CurseOfSadako
CurseOfSadako

The 'downloadable' idea being used in this game is just laughable. I can't believe that droves of Sony loving zombies will walk out and buy it anyway... how much will it cost to download everything (the only way to have the full game)?

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

This is sooooo pointless, why oh why bother with it... it's mearly a port of GT 4 but on the ps3 and with the added features of... paying to download new tracks and cars!!! how rubbish is that (apparently it will cost approx £160/$300 to get all the content.) oh yay true high def 1080p, so that means the graphics wont be much better than the ps2 games, because it has to proccess the graphics (approx 38mb/sec for that) so they'll have to compromise with less detail on the cars (for the slightly more technical minded this means less polygons.) so why bother... please give me a reason 'cos to me it's just a cheap ploy to get more money!

DogOfDeath
DogOfDeath

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

passentry
passentry

I wonder how the Ferraris will drive..

olthof
olthof

i like Forza better... and im a Nintendo fanboy lol (yes i do own Forza btw)

damagooon
damagooon

Haha GT rules. As an avid racing game player, who has played all racing games, GT always has passed the line. All those mentioning Forza are nothing but fanboys. Forza certainly isnt the best , yes it may have damage modeling, but at what cost, lack of real liscencing . Not to mention Forza graphics are awful, cars look like made out of crystal. Thats not what reality is. GT is perfect, I rather have hundreds or real cars ,than have damage. Because THATS the reason GT doesnt have damage, because car companies dont let Polyphony put them. I couldnt care less. As long as the cars are there. And online mode? seriously, this is what bothers me the most from MS fanboys, look, not everyone likes online, why people make it such a big deal? I would NEVER have online on a console EVER. A game is to beat it, if you want online, thats what your computer is for. A game just cant be considered 'bad' because it doenst have online, that is just rubbish. Online is such a waste of money. From EVERY angle you look at it. The online mode is the only thing that saddens me from the next GT. But fortunately the graphics are at par with my expectations. Something neither Forza or PGR have been able to do yet. That does not mean I wont get them however.

xatman911
xatman911

Hopefully this will be even better than the previous ones.

Dinghy_Dog
Dinghy_Dog

Man, whoever waste their money on this... Pay for cars and tracks?

Solidesnake2004
Solidesnake2004

My Response: In the terms of a car enhusiest..... Lets put that shock back where it belongs...... or else. therefore... classic and HD...doesn't matter to me. its an original piece so its back on the platform where it was born Playstation.

FstBrk342
FstBrk342

wow seriously, the whole 'real' feel is wat makes GT wat it is, if u dont like it play something else, well anyways i was unable to read the whole article but are players gonna have to buy extra cars and tracks for Premium? cuz that would be dissapointing

mazchile
mazchile

i don´t care about what the ps3 team is doing, and that's because since The last generation of consoles, the sony guys keep promising and promising things that never happen, like the online gameplay and games like killzone, who was supose to beat halo remember? as paul420 said........FORZA MOTORSPORT!!!!

u2i_l0ver
u2i_l0ver

So has 720p suddenly become Standard Definition? Of course it hasn't. Don't be so stupid, the game will look and play perfectly well on ANY hdtv.

GamesAnytime
GamesAnytime

$60 for the game $20 bucks in downloads other $20 in online suscriptions I dont know if i wanna fork out $100 just to play a GT compilation. Oh and dont forget that in order to enjoy the game in HD you need a high end TV, that supports 1080P those aint cheap neither.

snake0iler
snake0iler

The visuals may be great, but c'mon people, why do I want to pay $60 us ?? to buy a game just so I can pay everytime I want a new car or to race a different track? Even if Sony does something insane like make each car $0.10 to buy (not likely) with 750 cars total in the GT series that would be an extra $75. WTF! I love the GT series and can't wait for a PS3, but micro transactions are bad for the consumer.

slightlyst0opid
slightlyst0opid

I can' t wait for the next gen licence tests. I love those tests so much please more punishing gameplay. Wait i hate this game and it's stupid tests, crappy cars and grinding pace.

Knisathianterly
Knisathianterly

Unfortunatly GrimBee it is just you, the realistic feel for the GT series have made the game what it is today, but i can see where your going with this, your meaning if the GT series was somehow merged with the way Jucied plays, where you have to pay money to upkep your car, if not the you cannot race said car. I agree with the later part of making more real that way, but they are just content with the driving side of it being as real as possible.

GFofgaming
GFofgaming

The game will cost only for the cost to manufacture the disc and manual, so should be less than 10$. MUST HAVE! Even though i will also get motorstorm.

GrimBee
GrimBee

Is it just me, or am i like the only one NOT excited about this game. I wish the series would dump the whole realistic FEEL of it, and kept the looks to be bettered (its that kind of game) but made some kind of Mode, at least, where you can drive, smash, drift for like a day.. and you know, if it was REAL you would be able to stall, talk on the phone whilst driving, if you forgot your seatbelt and crashed you would die and get gameover.. Its totally not real at all. If it was real, we would be treated to the most annoying driving experience in history. I like the way we can speed at 400mph in a dodge viper on a test track, but there is no concequences to this, no adreneline rush. If you crash, you like pinball round the corner, scraping everything in sight, and you eventually spin off and then press start, and restart all over again. I wish that going at speeds, bashing into other cars etc would have its concequences, like, if it was REAL life, and you smashed up your ride, or burned it out, you would use your winnings to both repair it, and to upgrade it. I dont like the formula it is right now, its like bowling with the rails up. Thats all i can explain it as. For a ps3 game, im definately not excited about this.

bossjimbob
bossjimbob

I really dug GT 1 & 2, but am pretty sick of the whole bumper cars physics, lack of online, and damage modeling. GT HD sounds like a step in the right direction but I'm more excited for Forza Motorsport 2 at this point in all honesty. Still, I'm curious to see how GT HD turns out and hopeful that Polyphony delivers the goods.

tuyoiu
tuyoiu

ace combat 6..., tekken 6..., shypon filter ( )..., xD, GT5 = I buy ps3 xD

garchareli
garchareli

Que copado el gran turismo loco...!!!

Paul420
Paul420

I have few words.................Forza Motorsport 2

ajarman1
ajarman1

Looks like the same GT all over - just nicer graphics again. I wasn't impressed with GT4 for evolving the series either, and don't find it the "most realistic" - Ferrari Challenge on the Dreamcast, PGR3, and even Toca 3 on PS2 drive more realistically..."twitchier" as the article mentions above (which I'll take as the cars understeer more realistically - GT series always had a oversteer bias, which is completely unreal for most of the cars). Also, who knows when this will actually come out - and will it really have on-line play this time? I've been waiting to buy Xbox360 or PS3 based on this game - and after playing PGR3, I'm almost convinced not to wait any longer.

mike360gl
mike360gl

hmmm this game really dosnt excite me but i stopped like the gran turismo series after the 3rd...the 4th was just boring and the courses made me wonder if they bothered trying to make thme interesting. no ill stick with pgr3 until forza motorsport 2 comes out. Live Anywhere will revolutionise how we play games!

JimboHutch
JimboHutch

Why does gran turismo continue to be a game with "bumper cars" without any visible damage on the cars. I loved the gran turismo series but stopped buying into the game after A-Spec. I don't want 20 versions of the skyline and lancer and then be stuck with these cars that slide off walls and bounce around off of other cars.

ZosoFan
ZosoFan

Just buy a PS2, it has the same games.

CaribouLou5
CaribouLou5

must...resist...urge to buy PS3... must...keep...resisting...

DannyBoyVai
DannyBoyVai

You COULD Slide around on the walls. But whats the point ?. People buy these games because they give you the greatest FEEL of real driving available. Everything else is Arcade to the max in comparison to the GT series. Its certainly for purists... nothing does it better though. People either love or hate it. I love it but i do need Arcade racing in equal measure lol.

revelations
revelations

Count me dissapointed. It looks very unimpressive. And I love the whole sliding around on the walls. You dont need to be good at driving, just grind along the walls of the course. ;)

jayme22
jayme22

this is going to get silly now having to pay extra for stuff i hope they are going to give out the games free because there is no way that i can justify paying 50-60 on a game and then having to pay more ontop of that just so i can take a ferrari out. sorry GT fans but i hope PolyD loses all of its contracted cars cuz no one will play it anymore i certanly wont be buying the premium package and i dont think anyone else will either save it for when it is fully completed. and when this does come out and people do buy it i want those people to think everytime they enter their credit card details that they have just got robbed. Since when have game manufactures ever given you half of a game you always buy a game cuz you know alot of work has gone into it and its the full package yet again its another way to get money out of people that havent got anything better to do than play games

Gamepro2421
Gamepro2421

i wonder if GT HD Premium will still ship out wit ha price tag of $60 like the other games even though there's only 30 cars and 2 tracks to play. I like the idea of having a marketplace. Technology moves so fast now adays that this is the only way to hold our interest in this kind of a game (especially the Premium build) where we are buying it pretty much for amazing visuals and realistic physics. I just hope they dont go overboard, wether to scam or by nessesity to support the tech, on marketplace pricing.

murphster21
murphster21

So, they want to release a shell of a game and upgrade as they finish modes? I know the GT series has suffered delays on every installment but this is not the way to do it. When i buy a game, i want to know what i'm getting, rather than what someone promises i'll get

Ivoryblaze
Ivoryblaze

Game looks awesome now just add damage, and get rid of the license tests!

gozyaj
gozyaj

Is that a picture in the background?? Is it?? Looks real... but more to tweak. GT baby!!!

mark_unix
mark_unix

bashmentkid is it you or don't you know it's a Playstation2 port? for a port the game looks amazing compared to many of the xbox360 ports which just look like xbox1 games... santiagochile Midnight Club 2? really? have you even played GT4 in your entire life or do you think it's an arcade racer? i think your mixing up genres.

bashmentkid
bashmentkid

is it me or does this game look no better than PGR3? racing games have got to a point now where you can add a few million more polygons to a car model and no one would notice. i noticed in the gameplay trailer the car driving through the tunnel didnt have real time reflections of the shadows of the support pillars coursing over it, it stayed the same uniform colour. the crowds didnt react when the car nearly ran them over but hit an invisible wall. and i also couldnt help notice that i would be paying through the nose for a blu ray disc that can store 50 gigs of data, which sony tells me i desperately need, yet all the cars and tracks that are supposed to fill it are mysteriously absent. ah its ok though. its just the old GT game in drag anyway.

xxLamppostxx
xxLamppostxx

yea we will see how this game stacks up to forza 2 ... xbox > ps3 in my oppinion but we shall see ... kinda a steep price for ps3 ... in my oppinion if i was going to shell out 500-600 for a consule ( which i have for 360) and not going to buy a ps3 , go get your comp some parts . comp gaming all the way!!!

xche78x
xche78x

this will be the greatest incomplete game in the history. will be released even if it doesnt meet the expectations of Mr.Yamauchi which is kind of very BIG. well Good Luck Polyphony Digital because there's millions of worldwide racing fans/drivers/anything related just right behind your back ready to purchase your CAR WORLD SIMULATION ^_^