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Opinion – Gran Turismo 7 Is Missing Its Opportunity

by Matthew Kato on Jul 04, 2015 at 06:00 AM

I was very surprised that Gran Turismo 7 wasn't announced at E3 last month. I thought it was a no-brainer, not only from how far along I guesstimated developer Polyphony Digital may be with the game, but also for strategic reasons. Apart from gamers wanting to simply play the title, Sony is letting a big opportunity slip through its fingers.

Historically, Polyphony Digital has taken its sweet time with the series – to welcome results – but I think the environment is different since the days that Gran Turismo used to rule the roost. Look around and you'll see that this year the Xbox One will host its second Forza Motorsport title, and third for the Forza series (Forza Horizon 2), while Sony hasn't even had one GT title. Perhaps DriveClub was seen as the way to sate racing fans on PS 4, and I like that title, but to me it's a different experience from Gran Turismo.

Not only is Microsoft running up the score, so to speak, on the franchise, but other series are trying to make their mark in the sim-racing genre. Slightly Mad Studios has started its Project Cars franchise (and already announced a second iteration), and newcomer Kunos Simulazioni has put out Assetto Corsa on PC and is bringing it to the consoles in 2016 with some new features. It's a good time for racing on the new systems, and so far Gran Turismo is missing the party.

Perhaps I was foolish to get my hopes up when creator Kazunori Yamauchi talked openly about GT 7 in the fall of last year (he also talked about the title coming before 2017 recently), but the man said himself that the PS4 would be easier to develop on than the PS3. The game could very well come out in 2016, but GT 7 in holiday 2015 really would have bolstered a Sony first-party lineup that the company itself has admitted is "sparse."

Some see Gran Turismo as synonymous with a previous era – a Sony franchise whose best days were on the PlayStation or PS2. Maybe that's the case, maybe not. But with each sim-racer released that nudges the genre forward, it's just another obstacle GT 7 has to tackle if it wants to be at the top.