(All image: Sony)

A total of 140 drivable cars from real life and fantasy. Miles of paved and dirt track. Incredible physical realism and a dazzling sensation of speed. Is there any way that the best part of Gran Turismo Sport could be the freaking photography simulator sub-game? Yes.

Asking a video-game designer to pick their favorite part of a newly minted program must be like asking anyone else to pick a favorite kid. Obviously there’s an answer (the smart/cute/not-in-detention one, duh!) but they have to at least pretend to struggle for it. Gran Turismo Sport designer Kazunori “Kaz” Yamauchi similarly ducked when I asked him what he was most proud of in the new game.

Who can blame him? The game is fun to play and looks eye-cuttingly beautiful. But after a little prodding, Kaz acquiesced that “Scapes” might have to be his favorite feature.

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Simply put, Scapes is a photo mode. You can plop the game’s cars into any one of over 1,000 locations rendered from actual photographs taken all over the world.

Less simply, it pretty much takes the same level of detail and realism you get in the racing portion of the game and applies it to virtual photography. Each “photo” is a lot more than a series of pixels; it holds lighting and reflection data for the entire scene, actual photorealism on any car you add to the image.

You also get the flexibility to put any car wherever you want. Even if that means putting the car in motion.

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Aperture, focal length, exposure all those other functions you never bothered to learn on your digital camera’s menu are in there for you experiment with.

If Gran Turismo Sport doesn’t make you a better driver, it looks like a damn good way to become a better photographer.

And yes, you’ll be able to share your kickass renders online through Gran Turismo’s companion app, to be released with the game this November. Or export them to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the ultimate showcase of your aesthetic skills and deep nerdiness.

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Now stop reading, and stare:

All these images were created in Scapes.

They’re so good they actually make me want to fire up a real car more than my video game console. Is that a good thing?