With a budget so high even Kazunori Yamauchi won't disclose, and attention to detail so cute you can see the individual screws of its roster's door panels - Gran Turismo 5, like its predecessors, is aiming to set a new benchmark in simulation racing. In fact, such is the inherent detail of Gran Turismo 5, Yamauchi has even started dropping hints that "this could be a PlayStation 4 game" — but we'll move swiftly on from that notion. We don't want to give him any ideas.
With Gran Turismo well known for its outrageously realistic car handling and general racing experience, it is outside of the game's recognised feature-set that we were most interested. From what we've learned, Gran Turismo 5 could end up being the most complete video game to ever release.
- Roster. Gran Turismo 5 will have a lot of cars. Just over a 1,000 to be exact. These cars are divided into two different classes: Premium and Standard. While the 800 or so standard cars will be modelled, detailed and crafted to perfection (way above anything you'll have seen in competing games), it's the 200 Premium cars that are the stand-out attraction. These are meticulously rendered - to the degree of screws, piping behind the grill and exhausts. These vehicles challenge photo-realism for perhaps the first-time in video games' history. The premium cars won't simply stick to highly detailed exteriors however, they will also have their interiors perfectly rendered, down to the stitching pattern of the seats. We could go further, but the point is, this is the most lovingly crafted game you're likely to see on the market this year, perhaps this decade, and its testament to Polyphony's ambition.
- Locations. According to Yamauchi, each of Gran Turismo 5's environments take up to two and a half years to craft. For recognition of just how far Polyphony go, they claim they've been trying to keep up with the graffiti seen at the Nurburgring. Actually — y'know — keep the graffiti up to date. Yeah.
- Photo mode. All of this location detail plays into Gran Turismo 5's new Photo Mode. This will enable you to select a car, slap it in a picturesque part of the real world, and take photos of it. It's all a bit obsessive, but this stuff will be fawned over by Gran Turismo's audience. For everyone else, it's a showpiece for the power of the PlayStation.
- Social gaming. Perhaps the biggest concern people have in regards to Gran Turismo 5 is the online functionality - after all, since the last GT released, gaming has kind of moved forward. Polyphony haven't been sitting on their backsides stroking car bonnets though - GT5 will feature a complete mode titled "My Lounge". My Lounge is essentially an online social hub for your personal Gran Turismo experience, include logs, BBS, mail, friend networks, chat, spectating and more. It's all rather nifty, and sounds brilliantly expandable. With GTTV already a recognised area of the Gran Turismo experience, we're expecting Gran Turismo 5 to grow into some kind of hub.
Gran Turismo 5 launches exclusively on PlayStation 3 on November 2nd.