Everything Wrong With Gran Turismo, And How To Fix It - A Thought Piece
Let's be honest with ourselves here - Gran Turismo is not as good as it used to be. GT Sport has been widely considered a letdown to many players (including myself) - with the shift from its conventional virtual track day experience to an eSports driven competition where it's no longer about how big your dream garage is, but more about you compare to everyone else in online races and competitions. I know that the gaming industry is heading more towards eSports as a whole, but Gran Turismo really jumped the shark with the release of GT Sport last year.
But as saying goes, there's always room for improvement - and I've come up with a number of ideas to ensure Gran Turismo's prolonged success. Before you spam the comments calling me every name under the sun - please remember that this article is purely my own opinion and you don't have to agree with it - but this has been something I've wanting to write for months, and I think now is the time to express it. Also, this is not a criticism of eSports - just in case you were wondering.
THE HEART OF THE ISSUE - GT SPORT ISN'T THAT GOOD
For all the hype it was given by Polyphony, GT Sport has so far failed to deliver on its promises. It's one thing to try and focus the latest game more on actual competition, but to almost disregard what made them successful and replace it with an eSports formula that has no relevance to past games is a bit much. I get why Polyphony wanted to try something different - but with your biggest and most successful franchise? Nope, not buying that lads.
Before you say that I have no clue what I'm talking about, I have spent over 200 hours of my life on this game - so I think I have a pretty good idea of what it's like. It just doesn't feel like a true Gran Turismo game. Its initial release was laughable - with only 130 cars available at launch, and the circuit list being very small compared to past games. Nothing felt special, and it felt like Gran Turismo was (and still is) trying to be a direct competitor to iRacing, rFactor and Assetto Corsa.
Listen, I don't give a shit about BoP, car setup or force feedback - all I want in a Gran Turismo game is iconic cars, exciting circuits and a decent single-player campaign. None of those are there in GT Sport for me.
WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?
The solution is simple: improve the single-player campaign, add B-Spec mode, get some classic Gran Turismo cars in and stop trying to be iRacing.
Or just say "fuck it", and start developing Gran Turismo 7...
IS IT TIME FOR GRAN TURISMO 7?
Short answer, yes. Long answer, definitely yes.
A return to its roots would be the sensible thing for Polyphony to do right now. GT Sport can exist in its own little world, amongst the wannabe eSports champions and sub-par YouTube content creators. Us diehard Gran Turismo fans can look forward to another in a long line of great games.
I've already listed five things I would've liked to see implemented into GT Sport (which can be found here) - but those would all have a suitable place on the next Gran Turismo.
THE FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP NEEDS MORE IMPROVEMENT
For the past few months, the Nations Championship has been taking place throughout various locations around the world. As exciting as it may look, I don't think it's been that good as a broadcasted series.
My biggest nitpick with the competition is the presentation of it all. By that, I'm referring to everything that you see as a viewer - the commentary, the presenters and the locations. There's no doubt in anyone's mind that the FIA are treating this competition seriously, which is a step in the right direction. In terms of the presenters, a rotating line-up of Julia Hardy (who was one of the bright spots throughout the whole season) and which notable face from the motorsports world who was available that weekend is quite off-putting as a viewer. I could tell that Matt Roberts looked like he wanted to be anywhere else apart from at the events - and in my opinion Jack Nicholls is too good as a commentator to be stuck doing the presenting duties. Having Julia Hardy and Lucas Ordonez - who won the first ever GT Academy - as the permanent presenting team for future championships would be a good solution, especially with Ordonez's expertise.
Now, it's time to talk about the race commentary. I don't really know about any of the foreign commentating, but the British commentary was underwhelming to say the least. Switching back and forth between Tom Brooks and Chris McCarthy was a stupid idea, and Jimmy Broadbent just isn't good enough, full stop. Halfway through the one of the events, I got sick and tired of his commentary - with in-jokes and references to his own YouTube streams - and switched it off. Again, lack of continuity is a problem here. The solution? Have Tom Brooks as the main commentator, and James Kirk alongside him as a replacement for Broadbent. Good commentators enhance the viewing experience - and Brooks & Kirk definitely put in solid performances throughout the qualifiers and finals.
Finally, the events need to have one set location for the qualifiers. It's all well and good trying out these worldwide locations - but christ almighty Polyphony, calm down. My suggestion is to have the qualifiers at the Gfinity Arena in London (which is an awesome venue) and the finals can take place in at a big arena in the United States. I can't be arsed with every event being at a different location every time...
CONCLUSION - THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER, BUT IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN FAST
I will admit that Gran Turismo is trying to fix these issues. GT Sport has definitely improved since its launch in late 2017, but it still doesn't feel like the driving simulator it has been advertised as. But as they always they say - there's always from for improvement, and in Gran Turismo's case it needs to happen sooner rather than later.