Gran Turismo 7 Brings Back Another Fan-Favorite Fictional Circuit In A Big Way

Deep Forest Raceway receives a new lease on life and a controversial final sector change for GT7.

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Gif: PlayStation Studios

When Trial Mountain appeared in the first trailer for Gran Turismo 7 more than a year ago, longtime fans pumped their fists into the air. The fictional circuit — present in every Gran Turismo except for the Prologue entries and GT Sport — will return fully remodeled in 4K, with variable weather and time-of-day change taking advantage of the full power of the PlayStation 5. It will be a treat for anyone who grew up with these games, and it’s not the only nostalgic gift Polyphony Digital has packed into GT7.

Eagle-eyed followers had an inkling Deep Forest was coming back — the course’s recognizable ribbon appeared in several development diary-type videos released over the last two months. Back in 2017 and just after GT Sport’s release, series producer Kazunori Yamauchi told GTPlanet that while his team already had Deep Forest running in the game, the course was far from complete. It will be ready for GT7. Like Trial Mountain, it looks phenomenal.

Deep Forest’s signature undulating front straight and descent into Turn 1 is still intact. Actually, most of the course’s first two sectors are pretty much just as you remember them, with some minor tweaks to encourage fair and eventful racing. For example, the concrete surface inside Turn 4 — a patch often used by your jerk friend to illegally overtake you in split-screen battles — has now been festooned with sausage curbs that will unsettle cars passing over top. I anticipate Polyphony will enforce strict track limits around that section for online play, too.

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All of the tunnels are still exactly where you remember them. I’ve seen some fans complain that the canopy of trees overhead doesn’t cover as much of the view above as it used to, making this forest feel less, well, deep. But that was sort of unrealistic from an environmental standpoint to begin with, and PS1 and PS2 games had wonky proportions. Seriously, go back and play GT1 or GT2 if you don’t get what I mean — billboards and trees were the size of office buildings in those games.

Deep Forest then and now — how the track appeared in GT6 and earlier on the left, versus its new layout in GT7.
Deep Forest then and now — how the track appeared in GT6 and earlier on the left, versus its new layout in GT7.
Illustration: PlayStation Studios/Adam Ismail
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Some corners have clearly been reprofiled in the first sector — most notably Turn 10, the last before the back straight. In the original Deep Forest, this was a more relaxed bend with a very punishing outer rock wall that left absolutely no margin for error. For GT7 it’s been made tighter and serves as the circuit’s second real overtaking zone after the first corner.

Oh, and speaking of overtaking zones, it’s probably time we discuss that change — the new shape of what I guess you’d call Turn 11. In every other Gran Turismo, this has never been anything other than a fast, downhill left-hand sweeper; if you don’t recall the turn’s original shape, watch the comparison video below courtesy of MotoGames TV. The players in this video reach this part of the track at different times, mind you, so the corner will arrive first in the GT6 snippet.

Rather than descending at speed immediately following the final tunnel, GT7's Deep Forest leads you right into a braking zone approaching an acute hairpin. This is surely going to ruffle some feathers, but personally I don’t mind it. The track could’ve used another spot for passing opportunities, especially given how Polyphony has courted professional, competitive play with the FIA World Championship.

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Following that, we have a long drop into a valley, where a maintenance van can be seen traveling on a bridge overhead. It’s little touches like this that endear me to GT7's reimagining of classic courses. I know we all love quaint “old-school” racetracks, but there’s something gratifying and comforting about contextualizing Trial Mountain and Deep Forest as real places in the world that have evolved over the last two-and-a-half decades.

Picture it like this: These were small-time, local or club circuits at first, then gained notoriety over the years and have now reached FIA Grade 1 status. But they still haven’t lost their most defining characteristics, as many world-famous venues tend to when they’re renovated. It’s the perfect blend of honoring the past while thrusting into the present, and I cannot wait to experience both favorites when GT7 releases in March. Personally, I hope Polyphony’s planning similar treatment for Midfield Raceway or Grand Valley.