It’s been nearly 15 years since Tourist Trophy was released on the PS2.
Richly remembered by those who first played it all those years ago and cherished by motorcycle racing fans, Tourist Trophy truly is a cult classic.
Developed by Polyphony Digital - the creators of the Gran Turismo series, of course - the game’s concept was quite simple; essentially, take the recently released Gran Turismo 4, with its circuits, game engine and visuals, and replace all of the cars with bikes.
To some, it was no more than a Gran Turismo spin-off. A gimmick. But to others, it is the greatest motorcycle racing game ever made.
In fact, many players who loved the game have spent years asking: will there ever be a Tourist Trophy 2?
Ahead of the game
Tourist Trophy certainly felt like the start of something new and exciting.
The attention to detail and the game’s remarkable engine - rehashed from Gran Turismo 4 - made it feel almost ahead of its time.
Heck, it was ahead of its time. With the launch of the PS3 mere months away upon its release, TT felt almost too good for the PS2 by pushing the limits of what the console could do.
The Real Riding Simulator
Not only did it look good, but it was fun to play, too.
Tourist Trophy adopted a different strategy to the Gran Turismo series; instead of earning money and then investing it in vehicles and upgrades, the idea was to take part in 'challenges' to earn the full complement of bikes from each of the (mostly Japanese) manufacturers.
Some of them are only available when you complete the more advanced licence tests, and naturally there's a steady curve of difficulty. Mastering this game isn’t easy.
Each bike is different, with everything from handling through to the sound the engine makes unique.
Then there’s the actual gameplay, which takes plenty of time to learn. Every aspect of riding the bike around the 35+ circuits, from its weight to the rider’s position, comes into play here. It takes a lot of practice and patience.
In the works
So, Tourist Trophy was a marvel that was fun to play, looked great and really challenged the player. It was pretty popular, and certainly filled a niche. So why hasn’t there been a sequel?
Kazunori Yamauchi, the CEO of Polyphony and producer of the Gran Turismo series, has always maintained that a follow up is something he’s often thought about. However, time and manpower is seemingly the enemy here. Gran Turismo simply must come first.
But that leads to another question: could there be bikes in a Gran Turismo game?
It’s an idea that was in the works once upon a time. During the early days of the PS3’s lifecycle, Polyphony were working on a title called Gran Turismo HD, which was supposed to be an ever-evolving game which would expand over time with downloadable features and content.
In the early stages of development, Polyphony even showed off a variety of vehicles that would feature - including a handful of motorcycles. The idea of being able to collect and race cars and motorcycles in Gran Turismo is one that we're sure fans would enjoy, but sadly the concept was eventually scrapped when HD launched. Not long after that, the HD project was cancelled and pulled from the PlayStation Store entirely, with Gran Turismo 5 becoming priority.
So what comes close to Tourist Trophy in today’s gaming catalogue?
There are certainly motorcycle racing games out there. The MotoGP series, for example, is one of the best racing series around and the new MotoGP 21 is particularly awesome.
Outside of the motorcycling’s premier racing series, there’s also the Ride franchise.
For many, Ride - especially the recent edition Ride 4 - is the spiritual successor to Tourist Trophy. Many, in fact, believe that Ride 4 is almost certainly the best motorcycle game made for eighth generation consoles.
For now, it expertly fills the void while Tourist Trophy 2 remains a far away fantasy.