Gran Turismo - The History of the Real Driving Simulator #AutoGamingBlog (Part 1/4)
Since it’s inception, Gran Turismo have made their name in the world of racing sims. It have bacame one of the major reasons why owning a Playstation is worthy. It have won the hearts of every gamer, even now in it’s current form, Gran Turismo Sport.
For this blog, I planned 4 parts, each contained different generation games from each console. So, let’s start this blog, shall we?
Prior to the release of Gran Turismo in 1997, several other racing sims have been launched. The racing simulator concept actually dates back to 1982’s Pole Position by Namco.
On 1986, Konami released WEC Le Mans, an early car driving simulator based on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It was the first racing game attempted to realistically simulate car driving. It was commercially successful and highly praised.
Several later games have launched after the success, other titles followed suit, such as the known Formula One Grand Prix series and the NASCAR series.
Sadly however, even some titles were really successful in terms of sales and reviews, most racing simulators at the time only focused on race cars, such as F1, WEC, NASCAR and anything else. Most games that features road cars at that time were arcade racing games. But then, until Gran Turismo appeared in the late ‘90s, there’s no big revolution made to the industry.
"Basically we’re not trying to fake reality – I’d rather create the sensation of handling a remote control car but with the kind of dynamics that you’d expect from a real car."
Born in August 5, 1967, he started with a obession of car when he was 3. His father, a travelling salesman, would go from a place to another to do his business. As a child, Yamauchi always gazing through the window, watching every car passing by. It was not too long that he would name every car on the road. Later, he owned a Toyota Celica XX as his first car, and then he upgraded to a Skyline GT-R R32 and he used to street race with the cars (before he crashed the R32).
Later, he found a job in Sony, first helping Sony making the first Playstation by designing the console’s original hardware and controller, then he went on and founded his studio, Polys Entertainment (now known as Polyphony Digital).
Before he made the legendary Gran Turismo series, the studio made another racing game series, known as Motor Toon Grand Prix. It wasn’t successful, however.
Shortly afterwards, and following five years of protracted research and development - Yamauchi setting a precedent for the rest of his career - and made one of the most prominent, most influential racing games of all time.
"Gran Turismo was one of the first 3D racing games, and one of the first, if not the first to introduce physics simulations. There was no definite future for either one of those subjects, so we were very much in the dark."
The first game of Gran Turismo series, was finally released in December 1997 in Japan.
To make it, Kazunori and his team spent five years to complete. He even stated that he only came home for 4 days for the development of the game. As he stated, there’s no racing game like Gran Turismo before.
It’s the first racing game to feature more than 100 cars (features 140 cars). Unlike most racing games of it’s time, the game uses two different modes: Arcade Mode and Simulation Mode (Gran Turismo Mode in PAL and Japanese versions). Yamauchi estimated that Gran Turismo utilised around 75% of the PlayStation’s maximum performance.
Kazunori stated that the game is intended to be a niche, but who knows what have happened.
However, even Kazunori never knew his hard work paid off in a good way. Gran Turismo became a wild success, and eventually 10.85 million copies (the game has shipped 2.55 million copies in Japan, 10,000 in Southeast Asia, 4.3 million in Europe, and 3.99 million in North America) were sold worldwide. Also, the game was also highly praised, making it the highest rated racing video game of all-time. It was also the most popular Playstation
Meanwhile, Even the sales were suprisingly good, Kazunori wasn’t pleased with the results Gran Turismo 1 have offered, so he planned to make the sequel “a better product”. So, Gran Turismo 2 was born, 2 years later.
Gran Turismo 2, like it’s predecessor, is also both a sales success and a critical acclaim. The game sold as much as 9.37 million copies, and not only this, many improvements were made from the original. It contained as much as 650 cars, and also, being the only Gran Turismo title to require 2 discs to store all the data.
However, the game suffered from various errors and glitches, thanks to developers rushed to launch the game. One famous bug is players can’t finish the game at 98.2%, because drag racing was originally planned, but was removed during development. Sony tried to fix it by sending fixed copies to players.
It was still popular, despite the problems the game had.
With the PS2 game console released, Polophony is planning for more. At the console’s debut at the Tokyo Game Show, Polyphony released a demo called Gran Turismo 2000, which showed the console’s graphic abilities and power. And Polyphony is not done with it yet. They are going to make more revolutions to the gaming industry.
Thanks for reading this blog post. And sorry for the English I used. Stay tuned for the next part, we’re going to talk about the GT games in PS2!
Source: I find about it on Wikipedia and some other websites.