Ever since Gran Turismo 7 failed to make an appearance at this year's E3, speculation that Sony were possibly saving an announcement for their Paris Games Week has been mounting. Well, the event took place today and lo and behold Sony has finally broken the silence on what we can expect from the series' long awaited current-gen debut. It's probably not quite what we were expecting though.
First things first: it's not called Gran Turismo 7. No, the series PS4 debut is called Gran Turismo Sport, which shouldn't really come as a surprise since it's long been a rumoured title. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be treated as a fully fledged sequel.
Indeed, Gran Turismo Sport looks to blur the line between real and virtual motorsport, as while we were given the usual spiel about how Gran Turismo Sport will be "most realistic driving simulator to date" with improved graphics, physics and (finally) audio, much of the focus of the announcement was on Polyphony's new partnership with the FIA. You can't blame them, because this could be the most exciting development for racing games in years.
In Gran Turismo Sport, there will be two online championships running simultaneously officially sanctioned by the FIA. The Nations Cup lets players represent their home country, whereas the Manufacturers Cup lets players drive on behalf of their favourite car manufacturer.
The twist, however, is that the winner of the championship will collect their prize at the FIA prize giving ceremony alongside real life racing champions such as Lewis Hamilton, thus making Gran Turismo Sport the first time a racing game has been recognised as part of the real motoring world. And if that didn't already make you feel like a real racing driver, Gran Turismo Sport will also support Sony's PlayStation VR Headset.
Mercifully, it won't be too long before we'll be able to get behind the wheel of Gran Turismo Sport either, as a public beta is due to race off the line early next year, hopefully paving the way for a final release later in the same year.
With more focus on motorsport, Gran Turismo Sport is certainly an interesting direction for the series that could finally be a threat to Forza Motorsport. It's been an agonising wait, but now it's finally starting to become clear why Polyphony have been taking so long building close relationships with car manufacturers.
Hopefully our patience will pay off, as it's looking like this could finally be the game that brings Kazunori's vision of bringing the motorsport and gaming industries together to full fruition.
Welcome back Gran Turismo – could Polyphony finally be about to revolutionise the racing game genre once more?
As ever, we'll keep you posted on any future updates. What are your reactions to Gran Turismo Sport?