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The case for Gran Turismo 7 and VR on PS4

At least two things appear certain in PlayStation’s future: the PS4 will gain a virtual reality companion in PlayStation VR next year; and the PS4 will one day get a new Gran Turismo. Whether those two objects will cross paths has yet to be determined, but Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida can’t help but hint at things that make him happy.

“Many trial tests we've been doing, some genres just work fine,” he told Eurogamer (opens in new tab) in a recent interview, reflecting on the research that’s gone into building games suitable for VR. “One of those genres is racing games. So when Gran Turismo comes out on PS4, I'd like to see it support PlayStation VR, yeah.”

Nobody wants to disappoint the president of Sony Computer Entertainment’s Worldwide Studios, but there are still a few problems that root Gran Turismo VR in the realm of speculation. For starters, the widespread adoption of virtual reality hardware - just in general, nevermind PlayStation’s own headset - is far from guaranteed, even if it represents an exciting new avenue for programmers and artists. “As a developer, I'm super-excited about the potential of using VR tech,” Yoshida says. “I feel like working on PlayStation VR is like when we were working on the original PlayStation 20 years ago, when we were very excited to use 3D real-time graphics for the games. After 20 years, we're still making even bigger, better 3D games, so I see a long-term great future for VR entertainment for the coming 20 years.”

Gran Turismo, the simulation racing series that’s accompanied PlayStation from the very beginning, all the way through to Gran Turismo 6 (opens in new tab) on PlayStation 3, has long been at the forefront of real-time console graphics. A potential Gran Turismo 7 would keep that cutting-edge spirit alive with VR support, and give longtime developer Polyphony Digital a new visual benchmark to hit. That is, if the game’s notoriously long road to completion matches up with PlayStation VR’s lifespan, or if the driving genre itself can support the necessary investment.

“The driving genre's a very difficult market right now,” Yoshida said, looking back on the highs and lows of the PlayStation-exclusive Driveclub (opens in new tab). “The team, we need to find a great angle for the racing to continue, to come up with a new racing game, if we're to look at another racing title. Creative ideas come when things are tough, so that lightbulb moment, I'm looking forward to.”

Gran Turismo might not be in need of its own lightbulb moment yet, but Yoshida seems to think adding VR is a good idea nonetheless.

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Ludwig Kietzmann is a veteran video game journalist and former U.S. Editor-in-Chief for GamesRadar+. Before he held that position, Ludwig worked for sites like Engadget and Joystiq, helping to craft news and feature coverage. Ludwig left journalism behind in 2016 and is now an editorial director at Assembly Media, helping to oversee editorial strategy and media relations for Xbox.