Gran Turismo's Vision GT Has Become a Marketing Gimmick

Gran Turismo 7 Vision GT
Credit: Polyphony / Skoda

Gran Turismo 7 Vision GT
Credit: Polyphony / Skoda

When it was introduced in over ten years ago, Gran Turismo's Vision GT Program was pioneering. Now, it's a glorified marketing gimmick.

With the franchise over 25 years old, Gran Turismo has expanded far beyond the Real Driving Simulator. These days, GT is heavily involved with esports, artificial intelligence and even spawned a movie adaptation.

A pioneering concept

Vision GT isn't new to Gran Turismo. In fact, the program has been around since 2013, and we've seen many innovative vehicles make their virtual debuts since then.

The first Vision GT car was Mercedes' AMG Vision Gran Turismo, which debuted in Gran Turismo 6 in 2013. A mix of a Mercedes-Benz racer with the Batmobile, this is what a Vision GT car should be.

Gran Turismo 6
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Credit: Gran Turismo

It was a concept car in every sense of the word, showing what the most forward-thinking engineering minds could create when given a blank canvas and a blank cheque.

A 1:1 model of the AMG Vision GT was even showcased at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2013, giving non-GT players a chance to see it up close and personal.

Polyphony would continue to collaborate with car manufacturers throughout GT6's life cycle and into Gran Turismo Sport. As it went from strength to strength, iconic automotive names such as Aston Martin, Bugatti, McLaren, and Audi signed up for the program, creating some of the most memorable Vision GT cars.

Vision GT's Decline

Not every Vision GT car was striking and beautiful, however. Just like art itself, they were subjective to the beholder's tastes and preferences. What wasn't up for interpretation, though, was that they fitted the Vision GT bill.

The Mercedes-AMG that kicked off the Vision GT program was futuristic yet based in reality. It could feasibly become a real production car in the future.

However, something happened with the Vision GT cars in Gran Turismo 7. They stopped being a genuine window into the future and have since become marketing tools for companies looking to change their image.

Skoda Vision GT
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Credit: Polyphony / Skoda

A textbook example is the most recent Vision GT car from Skoda. Before the Vision GT, Skoda had never featured in a Gran Turismo game, with the Czech manufacturer primarily known for its family and lower-end cars.

Clearly, though, someone at the Skoda marketing department wanted to alter this perception. After all, the company has a history in motorsport, particularly rallying competitions.

However, Skoda's Vision GT reeks of forcing a narrative that doesn't exist.

Skoda Vision GT in Gran Turismo 7
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If you look at Skoda's current fleet of vehicles, you won't find a single sports car, let alone an all-electric one-seater hypercar that wouldn't even be road-legal in most countries.

Realistically, Skoda will never make anything like their Vision GT model and the same can be said for most of the other GT7 Vision GT vehicles, such as Suzuki's entries.

Then there are examples that don't even involve car companies like Bulgari's Vision GT car. Yes, a jewelry company has a car in Gran Turismo 7.

Gran Turismo already has a history of concept cars designed by non-car brands like the Nike One in Gran Turismo 4. There's nothing wrong with diversifying, but there are limits to a brands' credibility.

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A Divisive Issue

What do the Gran Turismo players think about the current state of the Vision GT Program, though? Well, unsurprisingly, there isn't a consensus when it comes to Vision GT.

Reddit user UnKnOwN769 thinks that Polyphony should focus more real cars than futuristic concept cars: "Most people would rather see a different real life car added to the game, especially since there’s many fan favorite cars from GT1-6 that are nowhere to be seen."

Gran Turismo 7 Sophy AI
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Credit: Gran Turismo / Polyphony

Conversely, Reddit user InterestedDisinterested doesn't understand the hate that Vision GT gets: "As far as I'm concerned, they're just fun ways for manufacturers to experiment with radical designs, and in my opinion, most of them are actually pretty fun to drive."

Lastly, Reddit user raidensnakeezio believes that the time has now passed for Vision GT's relevance: "VGT was announced when GT Academy was in full swing, and sim racing was beginning to pick up competitive steam due to the global rise of esports. Thus, VGT became a platform for 'how do we design a meta-breaking car' and not 'how do we design our car.'"

Money talks, however, so there's little doubt that Polyphony and Sony will be receiving a lot of royalties for these virtual publicity machines from car companies. At least those funds can go towards improving GT7 and working on Gran Turismo 8.

Whether you love it or hate it, Gran Turismo's Vision GT looks like it's here to stay. We just want to see more inventive designs from world-renowned manufacturers and less glorified marketing mobiles.

What do you think of the current state of Gran Turismo's Vision GT Program? Let us know in the comments below.

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