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Why giving names to Gran Turismo 5's AI drivers is genius

It seems like every other day there's a new Gran Turismo 5 video somewhere on the net. But the most recent one reveals somethingvery interesting. All the AI drivers now have names. Now, that might not seemvery important or revolutionary, but it opens up another avenue of gameplay previously missing from the series - rivalry.

It's no coincidence that some of the greatest racing games ever made have featured some kind of rivalry system. Sohere's how this feature could finally lift Gran Turismo 5 aboveits predecessors and make it the game it always threatened to be.

Super Monaco GP

Back in the days of famous feuds between racing drivers (like Prost and Senna), Super Monaco GP and its sequel built their entire career modes around the idea of rivalry. You choose someone to race near the start (from a better team than yours if you want to progress) and then try to beat them.They had a different colour car to everyone else, so you always knew who you had to beat.

Above: Doesn't this make the forthcoming race more interesting?

This feature added so much more enjoyment to the game. Overtaking them cleanly was thrilling enough, but inching over into their path and hearing the 'tchaow!' noise as they touched the back of your car and slid to the bottom of the field was immense. Causing your rival to crash out is fun - just look at Burnout Revenge.

Road Rash

Road Rash must have been the first racing game to have AI that adapted to your behaviour. Back at school, people would always tell me 'Natasha will hit you if you're nasty to her'. And you know what? She does! Your in-game love interest will ride close enough to pet your thigh (note: she doesn't) for several seconds before easing off to allow you toovertake, yet if you smack her into an oncoming car (not very gentlemanly, I know), she remembers.

Above: Oh, you meant grab it and not hit you with it. My bad

Yup, just like an elephant, she'll more than likely take a swing at youthe next time you meet. In 1991, it was just a cool feature of an already awesome game. Looking back now, it was way ahead of its time and a precursor for great things to come. Such as...

Justin worked on the GamesRadar+ staff for 10 whole years. Imagine that. Now he is a contributor, specialising in racing games, retro, and Sanic.