Features How ‘Vision Gran Turismo’ is keeping Gran Turismo relevant

Features

James Allen

Writer

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More often than not, it's easy to dismiss the marketing speak from press releases highlighting a co-operation between two big brands. Though the content of the press statement may, at its core, be factually correct, we all know it's been created purely for publicity purposes.

As a result, a majority are instantly forgettable. However, Bugatti's official Frankfurt Motor Show press release was a bit different – not because of the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo it was promoting, but due to the sentiments that were being attributed to various key figures at the company.

Whereas a majority of the statements on Vision Gran Turismo releases have predominantly focused on what meanare from a design standpoint, Bugatti's instead put great emphasis on what a privilege it is to design a concept car for a video game. 

For example, Wolfgang Durheimer (Bugatti's President) states his company's Vision Gran Turismo is "our way of thanking [our fans] for their loyalty and enthusiasm", whilst Florian Umbach (Bugatti's Head of Chassis Development) went to some length on how engineers from across the Volkswagen Group (the vast conglomerate that owns Bugatti) collaborated with the designers make sure the Vision Gran Turismo would function as a competitive racing car.

Perhaps the most interesting comments, though, came from Bugatti's Head of Exterior Design, Sasha Selipanov. According to him, Bugatti as a company sees it as a "great honour" to be involved in the Vision Gran Turismo initiative.

Even in press releases that highlight a "made exclusively for [insert company/client name here]" product, having someone cite it to be a "great honour" – especially when the person attributed to that quote is from a firm as prestigious as Bugatti – is something worth paying attention to.

The fact Selipanov goes on cite "iconic" Vision Gran Turismos made by car companies outside of the Volkswagen Group portfolio is further evidence to suggest that, actually, this one-off concept car designed for a console game really means a lot to the Bugatti brand and the people on its payroll.

Of course, the company will have pride and a vested interest in its design study, especially when concept cars are such costly projects in terms of time and resources for manufacturers to pursue. But that makes the whole Vision Gran Turismo initiative such a monumental achievement that deserves far more recognition – it's a surprise that any car companies agreed to participate in the Vision Gran Turismo initiative at all, let alone approach the project with such sincerity and optimism.

And it's the positive reaction to this unique virtual concept car programme that has the potential to keep Gran Turismo at the forefront of the industry. Even if the Vision Gran Turismo cars themselves haven't clicked with every Gran Turismo 6 player, they've surely forged valuable connections and working relationships between the participating manufacturers and Gran Turismo developer Polyphony Digital.

We may, in fact, be seeing the first hints of those future working relationships with the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo. Look closely at the corny intro to that car's reveal trailer, and you'll spot a Dualshock 4 controller and a Logitech G29. Having PS4-compatible peripherals featured in promotional material for a car destined for a PS3 game may indeed be an oversight on the part of the video's director, but it's worth pointing out that Bugatti is a brand with a reputation for ensuring every last detail is correct.

Even if that is wishful thinking, though, the Gran Turismo brand will surely benefit hugely in the long run through the Vision Gran Turismo venture. The brand itself already colllaborates with many companies, instututions and events (whether they be Nissan on the GT Academy, Lexus with the RC-F GT3 racing car programme, sponsoring the Goodwood Festival of Speed, awarding 'Best In Show' prizes at the Pebble Beach concourse event or the working partnerships with the FIA and Instituto Ayrton Senna), and forging new connections with key companies and figures in the motoring industry only inflates the importance of the Gran Turismo brand further.

Of course, the significance of the Gran Turismo series will rely hugely on the quality of the games. In recent years, Gran Turismo releases have been quite divisive with critics and fans, and it will be interesting to see if the in-the-works Gran Turismo 7 will be able to respond to the likes of Project CARS and Assetto Corsa.

But being so close to major brands in the automotive world should keep the Gran Turismo brand right at the heart of the industry. And if doing that isn't the most surefire way outside of the game development sphere of ensuring the significance of the series, then I have no idea what will keep the Gran Turismo series relevant in the motoring and gaming industries.

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