Gran Turismo (PSP)
North American cover art featuring the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Release date(s)||October 1, 2009|
Gran Turismo (グランツーリスモ Guran Tsūrisumo?, also previously known as Gran Turismo 4 Mobile, Gran Turismo Mobile, Gran Turismo 5 Portable and Gran Turismo Portable) is a 2009 PlayStation Portable (PSP) game developed by Polyphony Digital. The game was announced at the E3 Sony press conference on May 11, 2004, the same conference where Sony announced the original PSP. Following five years of delays and speculation, it made a reappearance at E3 on June 2, 2009 in a playable form. It was released on October 1, 2009 as one of the launch titles for the new PSP Go. As of March, 2013, Gran Turismo has sold 4.22 million units, making it one of the best-selling PSP games. On June 1, 2010, the game was rereleased as part of the Greatest Hits.
The game is centered on an open-ended design. The single-player menu presents players with three variables — Mode Selection (Time Trial, Single Race, and Drift Trial), Car Selection, and Track Selection. The player can pick and choose circuits and vehicles, with credits earned based on the difficulty, performance and number of laps they have chosen. Players can select from any number of laps, one to 99. There are 45 tracks (including layout variations) plus the added bonus of reverse on most tracks, which takes the track number close to 75. For the first time in the series, the game features the use of custom soundtracks that enables players to play their own songs while racing, but this option must first be unlocked by completing section B or C of the Driving Challenges. The music tracks can be used for offline or online races.
There are some hidden tracks which are removed prior to release (notably Smokey Mountain and Tahiti Circuit from Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec - both which initially debuted in 2 with some differences). These tracks are only accessible via PSPs that have custom firmware and running Gameshark-like programs, and some issues have been reported with them. Gran Turismo features 833 vehicles, each modeled accurately and statistics derived from their real life counterparts. Players will start with a low-powered car, but can upgrade as they progress through the game. The dealerships available change after every other race, so players won't always be able to buy what they are looking for. Like Tourist Trophy, there are only four cars (3 are opponents) feature in a race at any one time. There is an interior view available for each car — however, it is not detailed. For multiplayer, players have access to four-player local wireless play across a handful of modes, with various options that allow players of all skill types to play together. There is no online play (although it supports adhoc Party for PlayStation Portable) nor are there any online leaderboards for time trial times or the ability to share ghost laps with other players.
The game features over 800 cars, although only four cars are present in any race. The exotic car manufacturer Ferrari is featured, and for the first time in the main Gran Turismo series, Lamborghini, Bugatti and various other cars were introduced and fully licensed. There is no damage model in the game.
Gran Turismo is centered on completing driving missions in order to advance in the game, unlike Gran Turismo 4's open-ended map. The game uses a new trading system to allow players to acquire cars. Ad hoc multiplayer will be supported for up to four players. Gran Turismo also allows online play through the free downloadable PlayStation 3 (PS3) application Adhoc Party for PlayStation Portable. During an interview at E3, it was revealed that tracks featured in the game (such as Valencia Ricardo Tormo) are directly sourced from Gran Turismo 4 and Tourist Trophy, while the game's physics engine is based on Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. Downloadable content (DLC) will not be released for Gran Turismo, although five cars already included in the game are available for free download off the PlayStation Store in exclusive colors.
Fitting a full-scale Gran Turismo on the PSP platform was a challenge for Polyphony Digital. Series director Kazunori Yamauchi stated that the main problem was trying to fit the game in such a small memory space. Regardless, Gran Turismo runs at 60 frames per second (rare for a portable title) and takes up only 1GB of storage.
Originally named Gran Turismo 4 Mobile, the game was initially to have a release date sometime in April 2005 —  however, it was notably absent from the 2004 Tokyo Game Show and then from E3 2005, a year after it was first announced. At the end of 2005, Sony Computer Entertainment announced that the game would be pushed back to sometime in 2006. Despite no news for most of 2006, Kazunori Yamauchi assured audiences that Gran Turismo for the PSP was still in development and on its way.
In April 2008, Yamauchi stated that developing Gran Turismo 5 on the PlayStation 3 "took much more time and effort and this was because loads of new stylish cars have started to come out so it took longer to develop than we had first imagined," and that it was unlikely the PSP version would be released by the end of 2008. A version of Gran Turismo for the PSP was shown during Sony's E3 2009 keynote on June 2, 2009. Called simply Gran Turismo, its October 1, 2009 release date coincides with the launch of the PSP Go (announced at the same conference). Yamauchi discussed many reasons for the delays, with one of them being Polyphony Digital's busy schedule with releases of Gran Turismo 4, Tourist Trophy, Gran Turismo HD, and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue during the time of Gran Turismo's development. The company also refused to outsource the game to another developer describing that move as, "unthinkable." Yamauchi also considered other names for the PSP game, either Gran Turismo Spyder or Gran Turismo Portable, but decided at the end to name it just Gran Turismo because he wanted people to know that it was a "fully-specced Gran Turismo."
A free Downloadable content pack for the game was released consisting five exclusive cars not available in the game's car dealerships. Exotic cars such as the Ferrari Enzo and Lamborghini Countach are included. On June 1, 2010, the game was re-released as part of Sony's Greatest Hits budget line of video games.
Marketing and release
As part of its promotion of the game, Sony had a crane built at GamesCom in Cologne, Germany that would hang the journalists 15 meters above the ground to try out the game. Sony Canada has also been known to advertise the game on various billboards in the Toronto, Ontario region. Sony has recently started a TV teaser campaign. The most recent commercial for the game was shot at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Gran Turismo is available as both a Universal Media Disc (UMD) at retail and as a digital download from the PlayStation Store. Users are able to install part of Gran Turismo on their memory stick. The install takes about 1GB of space. The UMD still needs to be in the PSP's UMD drive to run the game. The loading times of the game are drastically reduced after installing.
Gran Turismo received average reviews from critics. On Metacritic, the game has an overall rating of 74 out of 100, based on 73 reviews. On GameRankings, it has a score of 74.63% based on 56 reviews. It was praised for still featuring the same realistically handling cars for the console games as well as having a large number of cars but it was criticized for not having a traditional career mode nor the ability to upgrade cars.
As of March 2013, Gran Turismo has sold 4.22 million copies worldwide.
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