previews\ May 14, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Gran Turismo 4 - PS2 - Preview

E3 2003 – Hands On


When I walked into a press conference about Gran Turismo 4, I was really excited to see what they had done on the newest release in the award winning driving series for the PS2. After A-Spec, I was really curious to see what exactly could be done to improve on something that was already as good as it was. Well, there were a lot more improvements than I had expected … so read on and check it out.


First off, Polyphony Digital had to spend a lot of time setting goals and figuring out how they could raise the bar, especially with the high expectations and fan base that they had accumulated. Well, they went in with the mission statement for GT4 being “Re-experience the history of cars, from it’s birth to present, in a way only possible with Gran Turismo 4”, which of course leads into a LOT of newer and classic cars (over 500) and models including more hot rod style American models like the Chevelle SS 464 and the Camaro Z-28 302. I tried the different cars out to see how the feel, sounds, etc. were and let me say that they really did get as much realistic detail out of them as possible, from handling to the growling V-8’s or turbo charged Euro models. The finalized version will also include Standard, Convertible, Racing, and Street Racing car styles, all detailed down to a re-vamped parts and upgrades engine to make it as demanding and accurate as today’s standards can be.


Polyphony Digital is looking to make this as accurate of a driving sim as possible, and to do this they actually went out to the Tsukuba Circuit Track (which will be included in the game) and had drivers take a certain car, imitated the vehicle and specs in the game, and have got it down to where real life vs. Gran Turismo 4 racing is off by only 0.03 seconds … no joke. The developer looks at these improvements as being “the evolution of the creator’s skills … not the hardware”, and it shows in almost every aspect. GT4 is actually accurate enough to be used for practice preparations in real world circuit driving, due to above test and some 20 minute time attack checks in addition to a new steering wheel being developed exclusively for GT4. This wheel will have an independent shift lever and improved force feedback and steering to simulate realism. It will also have 900 degree lock to lock steering which is what real world cars today have. It will also make corrections to itself depending on car type etc. For example, a more “luxury” car will have a more cushy and smooth feel to it, while a hard core racing machine will be a little rougher to operate.


The graphics of GT4 were also picked up, and included the cars rocking and shaking realistically and some really amazing lighting effects on the track, and on the cars themselves. In addition, they have now done away with the background being a still shot photo and everything … and I mean EVERYTHING … is done in full 3-D modeling and looked absolutely amazing.


So far, GT4 will be single player, and there were multiple PS2’s hooked up for network play. I spoke with the developer, who stated that they have not finalized plans for online play yet, but the press kit stated that it was in the works. PS2 owners … rejoice that this game will be exclusively for you. Trust me … you will not be disappointed.

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