There had been rumours circulating that Gran Turismo 7 will not be the PlayStation 5 exclusive that we all expected it to be. That was confirmed yesterday when developers Polyphony revealed that GT7 will be released for both the PS5 and PS4 systems.
The question remains then, why did the developers decide to do this and what is the best way to go about it? We give our take here.
An enforced change
Anybody who has attempted to purchase a PlayStation 5 post-release will know of the struggle you have to endure to get one. It's not a simple case of going down to your local video game retailer and getting one off the shelf, far from it.
The demand for PS5's has exceeded the rate that Sony can produce them by at least a factor of ten. When a retailer drops a new batch of PS5 systems, they're gone within minutes, if not seconds. This has shown no sign of changing anytime soon, with rumours this shortfall could continue until next year or even 2023.
Because of this, Polyphony is concerned that the market for GT7 will be too small for the game to be a financial success when it launches. However, despite this, the PS5 is the fastest-selling console in Sony's history, passing the 10 million mark a few months ago. So, perhaps this viewpoint is a little too conservative.
What to do
Most games for the PS5 have so far also been released on PS4 as well. Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty, FIFA, and more have all been released on both systems, as is common when a new console hits the market. This usually changes about a year or so after the initial release, but this generation isn't transitioning as fast as previous ones did.
So, which example should Gran Turismo follow? Well, we can find none better than what Codemasters did with F1 2021.
F1 2021 is a brilliant title and builds upon what was another great game in 2020. Developers Codemasters opted to create F1 2021 in such a way that allows all of the features of the game to be in both the next and current-gen versions. That means that everything from My Team, to Braking Point and everything in Multiplayer, is available in both versions.
Although we've received no official word on it, this could be why Classic Cars weren't included in 2021.
How could GT7 achieve this? Well, the answer is something that some gamers may not want to hear.
What not to do
F1 2021 worked on both next and old-gen because it's a title that's relatively small in scale when you think about it. Yes, there are a lot of game modes, but when you compare it to most racing simulators, the number of cars and tracks is relatively small.
Gran Turismo is massive in terms of the number of circuits and cars at its disposal, but that hasn't always been the case. Typically, when jumping up a generation, the number of cars and circuits drops because of the massive redesign that has to take place.
Take Gran Turismo 5, for example. GT5 was the first GT released on the PS3 and launched with over 1,000 cars in the game's roster. While this is a huge number, less than 300 were "premium" cars, with the rest being ported from GT4.
That caused a huge dip in quality, and fans weren't happy. Polyphony didn't repeat this mistake for GT Sport and the PS4, but players were annoyed at the lack of content on launch.
It's a classic "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation, as whatever Polyphony do, some won't be happy. Given that cars and circuits can be added in via DLC later, and that GT7 is meant to show off the capabilities of the PS5, Polyphony will likely opt for a "less is more" approach.
This also would help the PS4 version, as this would take up less memory on the install files and allow for the system to run smoother. Anybody who has played Cyberpunk 2077 on the original PS4 will know how much this old hardware can struggle to run scaled-down PS5 titles.
GT has never been released on more than one console at the same time, so racing gamers and Polyphony are heading into uncharted waters.
Gran Turismo 7's release date has varied a lot since it was first announced in June last year. GT7 was revealed alongside the PlayStation 5 system and looked for all the world that it would be a launch title. However, that didn't happen and GT7 currently looks like being released towards the back end of 2022.
We've seen the odd clip, but the most information we got about GT7 was from the original reveal trailer. It's been a while, but this trailer still gives us goosebumps, we can't wait to give it a try next year!