First (and Last) Impressions (Japan Only): Another Gran Turismo game, already?
Over the past 3-4 years, very few games have generated the hype and success of the Gran Turismo series. When the original Turismo hit in 1998, it quietly sold due to word of mouth. By the time the last 2 installments were released, the fevered pitch led to huge sales. Now, on the heels of Gran Turismo 3, SCEI and Polyphony Digital are preparing to release their latest edition of the Gran Turismo series, Gran Turismo Concept, due for release in Japan on New Years Day 2002.
However, GTC is not a full-fledged Gran Turismo game; instead it's a value-priced ?mission pack? of sorts. You aren't required to own GT3, however. GTC will include around twenty concept (duh) cars, and a small set of tracks to race on. The price will be at around $30 dollars in Japanese exchange, but depending on whether or not GTC is released in the United States, it may be significantly less expensive; possibly $20-25 dollars. This is wise on Sony and Polyphony's part; releasing a game that is nowhere near as large in size as GT3 for full price is just asking for poor sales. Keeping it budget-priced will appeal not only to those interested in saving money, but also those interested in a different twist on the Gran Turismo universe.
As I said, there is around 20 cars to pick from ? some are in GT3, others are not. The Lancer Evolution VII, Mazda RX-8, and Nissan Fairlady Z concept cars were available to play in GT3, though the latter 2 you had to unlock. Cars also included are concept versions of Toyota Soarer, Nissan GT-R Concept, Nissan Skyline R34 GTR M-spec, Honda Dualnote, and NSX-R. Because these are concept cars, some of them look quite peculiar, and more than likely will never see the light of day (I'm still waiting for the Buick car shown at the 99 Chicago Auto Show that drove all on its own). However, getting a chance to ride around in so-called ?fantasy-reality? cars is neat.
There will not be a lot of tracks included ? as of now the count is 5, most recycled from GT3. There might be one or 2 new tracks included, but we can't be sure as of now. Actually, GTC seems to be an obvious add-on to GT3, with almost the exact same graphical style and format. Of course, Gran Turismo 3 was the best racing sim ever made, so dancing with what brung you isn't such a bad idea.
The only iffy thing in my mind is the physics of the cars. Now some of these were in Gran Turismo 3, so I doubt it will be changed. But, what about the handling of these new cars? Because they are concept, I doubt anyone outside the manufacturers has been able to drive them, especially Polyphony and/or SCEI. I could be wrong. I guess well will find out when the game is released stateside, if it is at all.