Gran Turismo (1997 video game)

Gran Turismo is a sim racing video game designed by Kazunori Yamauchi. Gran Turismo was developed by Polys Entertainment and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 1997 for the PlayStation video game console. The game's development group was later established as Polyphony Digital.

Gran Turismo
Gran Turismo - Cover - JP.jpg
Japanese cover art
Developer(s)Polys Entertainment
Publisher(s)Sony Computer Entertainment
Producer(s)Kazunori Yamauchi
Designer(s)Kazunori Yamauchi
Takeshi Yokouchi
Hirotaka Komiyama
Programmer(s)Seiichi Ikiou
Artist(s)Masaaki Goto
Composer(s)Masahiro Andoh(JP)
Isamu Ohira(JP)
Jason Page (EU/US)
SeriesGran Turismo
Genre(s)Sim racing[4][5]
Mode(s)Single player, multiplayer

After five years of development time, it was well-received publicly and critically, shipping a total of 10.85 million copies worldwide as of March 2013[6] (making it the best-selling PlayStation game), and scoring an average of 95% in GameRankings' aggregate,[7] making it the highest rated racing video game of all-time. Many publications have deemed it one of the greatest video games of all time. The game has started a series, and has spawned over 10 spin-offs and sequels.


Gameplay screenshot featuring a Mitsubishi FTO GPX on Trial Mountain Circuit

Gran Turismo is a racing game. The player must maneuver a car to compete against artificially intelligent drivers on various race tracks. The game uses two different modes: Arcade Mode and Simulation Mode (Gran Turismo Mode in PAL and Japanese versions). In the arcade mode, the player can freely choose the courses and vehicles they wish to use. Winning races unlocks additional cars and courses.

However, simulation mode requires the player to earn different levels of driver's licenses in order to qualify for events, and earn credits (money), trophies and prize cars by winning race championships. Winning one particular championship also unlocks a video and a few additional demonstration tracks. Credits can be used to purchase additional vehicles, and for parts and tuning.

Gran Turismo features 140 cars and 11 race tracks (as well as their reversed versions). Two Honda NSX cars from 1992 were included in the Japanese version, but were removed from the North American and European versions. There is also a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette and a 1998 Mazda Roadster exclusive to the Arcade mode.


The game required five years to complete.[8] During an interview with Kazunori Yamauchi, it was revealed that development of Gran Turismo started in the second half of 1992. Yamauchi added that at different times there were only seven to fifteen people assisting him.[9] When asked how difficult it was to create Gran Turismo, Yamauchi remarked: "It took five years. In those five years, we could not see the end. I would wake up at work, go to sleep at work. It was getting cold, so I knew it must be winter. I estimate I was home only four days a year."[8] Sound design was one aspect that Yamauchi believed was compromised due to a lack of time. Although Kazunori considered the game's artificial intelligence to be superior to its competitors, he remained unsatisfied with its development.[10]

When Gran Turismo was released in Japan, Polyphony Digital was still a development group within Sony Computer Entertainment. The studio was established in April 1998, before the Western release of the game.[11] Yamauchi estimated that Gran Turismo utilised around 75% of the PlayStation's maximum performance.[12]


The opening song for the North American and PAL versions is a Chemical Brothers remix of the Manic Street Preachers song "Everything Must Go". The opening song for the Japanese version is "Moon Over the Castle", composed by Masahiro Andoh. The game itself had a selection of licensed songs, including "Lose Control" by Ash; "Chicken on a Bone" (reworked instrumental), "Shade" (instrumental), "Tangerine" (instrumental), and "Sweet 16" by Feeder (PAL version); "As Heaven is Wide" by Garbage; and "Oxyacetalene", "Skeletal", "Autonomy", and "Industry" by Cubanate (North American and PAL versions). The Japanese version, however, used a completely original score. Aside from "Moon Over the Castle", other songs were remixed for Gran Turismo 2 and Gran Turismo 4.


Aggregate score
Review scores
AllGame     [14]
GamePro     [18]
Next Generation     [22]
OPM (US)     [23]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[24]
Spotlight Awards 1999Best simulation
Official UK PlayStation MagazinePerfect 10
Academy of Interactive Arts & SciencesRacing Game of the Year
MobyGamesGame of the Year

Gran Turismo received "universal acclaim", according to review aggregator Metacritic.[13]

Next Generation reviewed the PlayStation version of the game, rating it five stars out of five, and stated that "as it stands in the Japanese version, everything about Gran Turismo is a class act, and it raises the bar for racing games on almost every possible level. Our highest possible recommendation."[22]

Gran Turismo won the best simulation of 1999 at the Spotlight Awards,[25] won "Best Driving Game" and "Best Graphics" of 1999 according to the staff of PlayStation Official Magazine,[26] and was voted the sixth best game of all time by the magazine's readers in the same issue.[26] In 2000, readers of Computer and Video Games voted it the eighth best video game of all time.[27] Game Informer ranked it the 21st best video game ever made in 2001. The staff felt that the racing genre had not offered as "complete [a] package" as Gran Turismo.[28] In 2017, Gran Turismo was declared the best driving game ever by Top Gear.[29]

Gran Turismo was a commercial hit.[2][3] It received a "Gold" award from the Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland (VUD) in August 1998,[30] for sales of at least 100,000 units across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.[31] It sold 270,000 units in the German market from January through September 1998, which made it the region's best-selling console game of the period across all systems.[32] The VUD raised it to "Platinum" status, indicating 200,000 sales, by November.[33] At the 1999 Milia festival in Cannes, it took home a "Platinum" prize for revenues above €66 million in the European Union during 1998. This made it Europe's second-highest-grossing game of the year, behind Tomb Raider III.[34] It was also a high seller in Australia, selling over 100,000 units in the first two months and with sales exceeding 130,000 as of October 1998.[35]

In May 1998, Sony awarded Gran Turismo a "Double Platinum Prize" for sales above 2 million units in Japan alone.[36] According to Weekly Famitsu, Japan bought 1.34 million units of Gran Turismo during the first half of 1998 alone, which made it the country's second-best selling game for the period.[37] In July 1999, Sony reported global sales of six million units for Gran Turismo, of which two million derived from the United States.[38] As of April 2008, the game has shipped 2.55 million copies in Japan, 10,000 in Southeast Asia, 4.3 million in Europe, and 3.99 million in North America for a total of 10.85 million copies, in which to this day, remains the best selling video game for the PlayStation and the fourth highest-selling game in the Gran Turismo franchise, behind Gran Turismo 4, Gran Turismo 5 and Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec respectively.[2][3][39]

In 1999, Next Generation listed Gran Turismo as number 15 on their "Top 50 Games of All Time", commenting that, "Gran Turismo features cars that handle better than any other racing game ever made".[40]


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