When it debuted in February of 2005, Gran Turismo 4 was greeted with phenomenal acclaim. It featured over 700 cars from 80 different manufacturers. I’m actually embarrassed at the amount of time I devoted to building my garage. For the day, it was graphically astounding and the driving physics were honed to perfection. Four years later, the sequel is still in production, overworked, over budget and teetering on the brink of irrelevance.
When the PS3 was introduced, GT5 was used to sell consoles. Gorgeous cut scenes were shown with Astons and Alfas side by side tearing up Fuji Speedway. I was so pumped. I diligently saved my pennies and purchased a PS3 as soon as it came out. As it turned out, Gran Turismo 5 was still a ways off, but in December of 2006 Polyphony Digital and SCE did provide us a taste with Gran Turismo HD. Not bad, but I needed more than the handful of cars and the single track this free demo provided. The sample looked so good though that I figured the finished product would be just around the corner. I was sorely mistaken.
Months turned into years and then the announcement came. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue was to be released on April 17, 2008. Why Prologue? Because what the manufacturer was asking me to do was fork over $40 for roughly 70 cars and 6 tracks. A glorified demo, basically. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful but it was missing the Nürburgring and oh, about 90% of the cars. And while this is more of a rant than a review, I must interject a bit of the latter. GT5 Prologue is a simulator in every sense of the word. Customization of spring rates and camber angles does add to the realism, but the overall experience felt cold and sterile. Can I get some real driving music please? Alright, back to the rant.
Gran Turismo 5 (the final version) was originally slated for 2008. When that came and went and the final product wasn’t ready, Sony threw together Prologue and pushed the release date back to 2009. Now we’re hearing that game designer and Polyphony Digital CEO Kazonuri Yamauchi, in his infinite wisdom, has decided to put damage in the game. While I agree this should have been introduced as early as GT4, what resulted was yet another delay. Now we’re talking 2010.
Whether you’re the book type (Heart of Darkness) or the movie type (Apocalypse Now) we can all agree that this is Colonel Kurtz all over again. Somebody should just go up the river and bring me this guy’s head. Rant over.