Gran Turismo (video game)
North American cover art
|Developer(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Release date(s)||JP December 23, 1997
EU May 8, 1998
NA May 12, 1998
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
Gran Turismo (グランツーリスモ Guran Tsūrisumo?, abbreviated GT, commonly abbreviated GT1) is a racing simulator designed by Kazunori Yamauchi. Gran Turismo was developed and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 1997 for the PlayStation video game console. The game's development group was established as Polyphony Digital in 1998.
After five years of development time, it was well-received publicly and critically, shipping a total of 10.85 million copies worldwide as of April 30, 2008 (making it the bestselling PlayStation game), and scoring an average of 95% in GameRankings' aggregate. The game has started a series, and to date has spawned over 10 spin-offs and sequels.
Gran Turismo is fundamentally based on the racing simulator genre. The player must maneuver a car to compete against artificially intelligent drivers on various race tracks. The game uses two different modes: Arcade Mode and Simulation Mode (Gran Turismo Mode in PAL and Japanese versions). In the arcade mode, the player can freely choose the courses and vehicles they wish to use. Winning races unlocks additional cars and courses.
However, simulation mode requires the player to earn different levels of driver's licenses in order to qualify for events, and earn credits (money), trophies and prize cars by winning race championships. Winning one particular championship also unlocks a video and a few additional demonstration tracks. Credits can be used to purchase additional vehicles, and for parts and tuning.
Gran Turismo features 140 cars and 11 race tracks (as well as their reversed versions). Two Honda del Sol cars from 1995 were included in the Japanese version, but were removed from the North American and European versions. They can be found in the North American version's code (and are unlockable via a GameShark cheat device). In addition to the hidden del Sols, there is also a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette and a 1998 Mazda Roadster exclusive to the Arcade mode. The Corvette and Roadster can also be accessed via GameShark.
The game took five years to be made. In an interview with Kazunori Yamauchi, development of Gran Turismo started in the second half of 1992. Yamauchi added that at different times there were only seven to 15 people that helped to develop the game. When asked how difficult it was to create Gran Turismo, Yamauchi remarked: "It took five years. In those five years, we could not see the end. I would wake up at work, go to sleep at work. It was getting cold, so I knew it must be winter. I estimate I was home only four days a year." Sound design was one aspect that Yamauchi believed was compromised due to a lack of time. Although Kazunori considered the game's artificial intelligence to be superior to its competitors, he remained unsatisfied with its development.
When Gran Turismo was released in Japan, Polyphony Digital was still a development group within Sony Computer Entertainment. The studio was established in April 1998, before the Western release of the game. Yamauchi estimated that Gran Turismo utilised around 75% of the PlayStation's maximum performance.
The opening song for the North American and PAL versions is a Chemical Brothers remix of the Manic Street Preachers song "Everything Must Go". The opening song for the Japanese version is "Moon Over the Castle", composed by Masahiro Andoh. The game itself had a selection of licensed songs, including "Lose Control" by Ash; "Chicken on a Bone" (reworked instrumental), "Shade" (instrumental), "Tangerine" (instrumental), and "Sweet 16" by Feeder (PAL version); "As Heaven is Wide" by Garbage; and "Oxyacetalene", "Skeletal", "Autonomy", and "Industry" by Cubanate (North American and PAL versions). The Japanese version, however, used a completely original score. Aside from "Moon Over the Castle", other songs were remixed for Gran Turismo 2 and Gran Turismo 4.
The game was praised by critics, including in the reviews by IGN (9.5/10) and GameSpot (8.6/10). Gran Turismo won the best simulation of 1999 at the Spotlight Awards, won "Best Driving Game" and "Best Graphics" of 1999 according to the staff of PlayStation Official Magazine (UK), and was voted the sixth best game of all time by the magazine's readers in the same issue. In 2000, readers of Computer and Video Games voted it the eighth best video game of all time. Game Informer ranked it the 21st best video game ever made in 2001. The staff felt that the racing genre had not offered as "complete [a] package" as Gran Turismo.
Gran Turismo was a bestseller in the UK. As of April 2008, the game has shipped 2.55 million copies in Japan, 10,000 in Southeast Asia, 4.3 million in Europe, and 3.99 million in North America for a total of 10.85 million copies, in which to this day, remains the best selling video game for the PlayStation and the third highest-selling game in the Gran Turismo franchise, behind Gran Turismo 4 and Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec respectively. It was also a high seller in Australia, selling over 100,000 units in the first two months and with sales exceeding 130,000 as of October 1998. The game was also referenced in the Eiffel 65 song "My Console".
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