Whatever Happened To Gran Turismo HD's DLC Model?

Illustration for article titled Whatever Happened To Gran Turismo HD's DLC Model?

When we visited Gran Turismo creators Polyphony Digital in 2006, president Kazunori Yamauchi previewed what would become Gran Turismo HD, the first "real driving simulation" for the PlayStation 3 that would offer 770 cars and 50 tracks for download.

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At the time, Yamauchi called it "the GT version of iTunes," letting players buy the barebones Gran Turismo HD Classic, the download more than 5,000 pieces of content to expand upon the game. That idea was scrapped in favor of a freely downloadable Gran Turismo HD and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue.

With gamers warming up to the option of downloadable content over the course of the current console generation, we'd think the market might be ready for that kind of model for a Gran Turismo game. But Polyphony Digital went back to the formula of previous entries for its newest, Gran Turismo for the PSP. It packs in 800 cars and over 30 tracks.

I asked Kazunori Yamauchi at E3 what brought about that change in philosophy.

"It's not so major as to call it a philosophy," Yamauchi said. He indicated it's just simply a change in plans. He said it's not Polyphony Digital's job to dictate business decisions, saying "It's our job to develop great games."

Whether it was cool reception to Gran Turismo becoming some sort of pay to play status symbol or just a preference to stick to the old model of huge fleets of cars and tracks, we don't really know. But it looks like all that obsessive modeling time by rank and file Polyphony gearheads will translate into a Gran Turismo 5 stuffed with cars.

How have your tastes changed? Would you be more willing to download by the car today than three or four years ago? I know I am, probably thanks to Rock Band.

DISCUSSION

I personally hate the "game is free, but pay if you want more" formula being seen nowadays (especially in MMOs). It's one thing to ship a full retail game as is, and then gradually add more content to add longevity (i.e., Burnout) or because of the fan/player base (i.e., Team Fortress 2). But to throw out a bare bones structure and have micro-transactions fuel each portion of the game seems like a good way to fuck gamers in the ass (for lack of a better term).

While it may draw in warry casual gamers who wouldn't have spent money on the product to begin with if not for the free version bringing them in, ultimately it seems like true gamers who'd prefer the full experience either get screwed by having a 1/2 assed game without a lot of options, or end up paying more than they would have in the long run because new content nickles-and-dimes them to death.

As for GT and the article itself, I wouldn't mind DLC for, say, GT5. Provided it was worth it. No way in hell I'd drop cash for a "Skyline Car Pack" that'd include a 2004 Skyline, 2004 Skyline SE, and 2005 Skyline LE (Which, honestly, seems like something GT would do). Now if it's something like a Ford Muscle, Nissan Import, or SEMA'09 pack (i.e., multiple cars pertaining to something specific), well then I might just spend more on DLC than I have with Guitar Hero.