Gran Turismo 6 has plenty going for it, but there's one feature in particular that will have the hardest of hardcore racing fans salivating. The thing is, though, no one else is going to care about it.
Using a USB stick and a special in-car dashboard interface, the PS3 driving simulator can recreate real-life laps in the game, allowing racers to analyze and obsess over their driving from every possible angle. Gran Turismo 6 came out today for PS3, but this "GPS Visualizer" feature will be added later as DLC. And there are a few stipulations and requirements.
Specifically, when it launches the visualizer will only be available to those driving the Toyota Scion FR-S, and you'll have to be driving on a track that also exists within the game.
One feature in particular will have the hardest of hardcore racing fans salivating, but the thing is, though, no one else is going to care about it.
So again, this is for an extremely niche audience. But it's a proof of concept that Toyota's chief Scion engineer and Gran Turismo developers Polyphony Digital have been working on for years, and they're super excited to have it working.
Sony held an event in the desert outside Los Angeles at the Willow Springs National Raceway recently to show off Gran Turismo 6's GPS Visualizer feature. We took several laps around the track and then watched a virtual replay in the game; it's quite remarkable. And Gran Turismo's North American Producer Taku Imasaki, who's been working on the series for 15 years, had plenty to say about it.
Complex: So what exactly are we doing here today?
Imasaki: Today's event has two purposes. The first is it's the first showing of Gran Turismo in its full size. We've had demos and stuff before but this is the first time we're showing the actual game to the media, and it's a hands-on experience. We are also highlighting one of its exciting new features, which is the GPS visualizer, which is going to be available later after the launch at some point as DLC.
What you do is you take a memory stick and you stick it into the car, and then you come back, stick it back in the PlayStation, and you'll get to relive that experience within the game. And Gran Turismo 6 will have this feature. It's a joint collaboration project between us and Toyota. And the chief engineer on the Scion FR-S had that in mind when he developed the car. It's so cool. We kind of got involved in the development of the car. That's why the car has that feature now.
Is this something a lot of players will be taking advantage of?Also I have to say that it's the first time that this track, the Willow Springs track, is going to be in the game, starting from GT6. And it's a track that we've always been pushing Japan to include in the game, because it's like the people's track for LA. As the North American producer I'm happy to see that track finally in the game.
It depends on how you see it. I'm in that niche crowd, maybe, those people who want to go out on a regular basis on a track day, on a weekend. It would be a great feature for them because all they think about is "How do I improve my lap time on that track?" So so long as that track is in the game, they can practice and practice and practice. You have an interactive replay that you work with at home. And by studying where you're not doing well and from all sorts of angles—you can't do that on YouTube, but you can do that on Gran Turismo. You can rewind it again and see it from different angles and analyze it and stuff. It's almost like the golfer analyzing his golf swing and doing better.
But they need to be driving the FR-S?
Right now they need to be driving the FR-S. The Toyota representative says he wants to use this in other cars as well. That would be great, that more cars would implement this feature. It's kind of like a Nike Plus, right? For cars.
Someone before mentioned a GPS thing as well that you can use.
Right, so another thing in the works in regards to GPS is a mobile app where you can trace, like, your commute back home, and you can recreate your commute in the game. So it will create a track based on what you tracked on your phone. So that's another exciting project that we're working on. That's more like a mobile app.
But that won't be at launch?
That might be at a later date. So lots of cool things being worked on. You'll start seeing them as add-ons to the game.
And the goal with all of this is attempting to bring Gran Turismo and real life closer together?
Exactly. Blurring the edge of reality.
What kind of other stuff are you doing toward that?
All I have to say is we are friends with a lot of automotive industry companies and we have, like, a project with each of them. The recent one that we announced was Vision Gran Turismo. It's a collaboration between us and the design departments of each car company. And we work on concept cars. They all know Gran Turismo, right? So we ask them, "Can you develop a concept car for a game?" We asked that of every company, and they're coming up with all these concepts. You're going to start seeing those at future auto shows. Every company will say, "This is a Gran Turismo car from us." You'll start seeing a lot of that in the coming months.
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That's great for you guys, but what do they get out of it?
The auto industry is suffering from their audience growing older. They get our audience from that. And they get more exposure. Eyeballs. We are almost like a window to that generation, because people don't watch commercials anymore. People skip commercials with DVR. So games is a strong medium when it comes to that stuff. With a successful game like Gran Turismo I'm sure they see the opportunity to reach out to the true automotive audience through our game.
And on your end we're going to keep seeing you guys try to blur the line between reality and the game?
Everything we do is going to have that purpose, of making our game more authentic and using our game as a tool to live the automotive life. It's more than a game. It's like, you see the subtitle: it's a "driving simulator." It's more than a game. It's come a long way.
Thanks, Taku! So what do you think? Will you ever get to see this niche feature of Gran Turismo 6 in action? Let us know in the comments below or drop us a line on Twitter!