There are a lot of exciting racing games on the way in the next year or so. Two of these are the first next-gen entries from the big racing simulator series Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport. However, there is a Forza coming out before these, as Forza Horizon 5 lands in November this year.
There is currently no equivalent game on PlayStation, Polyphony create the main series of GT games and that's it. There is no "GT Horizon", but could that happen one day? And what would this series look like?
An untapped market
As Forza and Gran Turismo are both console-exclusive series, the two never cross paths. This means that despite Forza Horizon's success, it can never tap into the PlayStation market that GT calls home. The PlayStation 5 recently surpassed 10 million units sold, and that number will rise rapidly when they become readily available.
Critics of a potential GT Horizon will correctly point out that Polyphony are stretched as thinly as they can be with Gran Turismo 7. However, it's not that simple, as Turn 10 don't make both Forza Motorsport and Horizon. Playground Games do most of the developmental work for the Horizon series. Turn 10 helps steer the ship but they don't power it.
So, Polyphony and Sony would likely bring onboard a new team to aid Polyphony in their GT Horizon project. Sony could even create a new development company that could sit under Turn 10. This would be just like what Microsoft did with Forza and Playground games.
What would GT Horizon look like?
We said earlier that there is only one main GT series, there are no spin-offs. That technically isn't true though, as there is GT Sport, which breaks the chain of sequential GT games between GT6 and GT7. There are no plans to make a GT Sport 2, but there is an opportunity to take onboard elements pioneered in GT Sport.
GT Sport is a much more online-orientated game than the regular GT games, so it has some of the basic elements of an online sandbox.
Many fans of Horizon were disappointed that Horizon 5 is set in Mexico instead of Japan, as most were asking for. GT has a fantastic opportunity to set their game in Japan, as this is the home nation of both PlayStation and Polyphony. Plus, GT Sport's photo mode already has some beautiful Japanese backdrops in its library.
Japan is such a unique, fascinating and beautiful country that a lot of people are unable to experience. GT could offer the opportunity to really explore the islands.
Why it'll never happen (probably)
Gran Turismo is the Real Driving Simulator, it is anything but an arcade racer. A Horizon-style title is the last thing that GT is about, it's not in its DNA. This is even more the case when you realise how serious Gran Turismo is about its Esports.
GT would love to shake its unwanted image of being (at times) a boring game, something that has largely gone since GT Sport's release.
GT arguably started the Esports revolution, as it was carrying out tournaments well before series such as the Formula 1 and WRC games. This market has only got larger in the last five years and aside from improving the physics model, this is likely where most of Polyphony's efforts will be concentrated.
If Sony did want to make a racing sandbox game, they'd probably make it by utilising a new company or one that's different to PolyPhony. There is a chance that they'd want to cash in on the GT brand, but the GT brand isn't about sandbox free-roaming racing game.
You can never say "never" though, as games such as an official IndyCar title isn't something we thought we'd see and that's on the way in 2023.