It’s been beyond depressing to watch Gran Turismo 7 — a good driving game marred by a stingy economy and lacking single-player campaign — fall in favor over the past few weeks. Mainly because it didn’t have to be this way. The lack of late-game content and egregiously priced vehicles was bad enough, but then the title was rendered unplayable for an entire day and returned with even lower payouts for races. That was the twist of the knife that sparked a fan uproar, and the game’s Metacritic user score has been tumbling ever since.
But like the sunlight beaming through the end of Trial Mountain’s tunnel, there’s a ray of hope ahead. Kazunori Yamauchi, head of Gran Turismo development studio Polyphony Digital, returned Friday with another post about the game’s current state and a desire to fix it. Unlike his last communication, this one actually demonstrates his team might be listening and outlines clear, encouraging fixes for the bulk of players’ issues.
There is a lot to unpack here and I recommend anyone interested peruse the PlayStation Blog post that recently went live. Here are the material changes that Yamauchi says will begin rolling out in an update early next month:
• Increase rewards in the events in the latter half of the World Circuits by approximately 100% on average.
• Addition of high rewards for clearing the Circuit Experience in all Gold/All Bronze results.
• Increase of rewards in Online Races.
• Include a total of eight new one-hour Endurance Race events to Missions. These will also have higher reward settings.
• Increase the upper limit of non-paid credits in player wallets from 20M Cr. to 100M Cr.
• Increase the quantity of Used and Legend cars on offer at any given time.
Yamauchi also teased “near-term” updates that are presumably a bit further out and won’t be included in the next big patch. Nevertheless, they seem very promising — especially the last one:
• Increase the payout value of limited time rewards as we develop as a live service.
• Further World Circuit event additions.
• Addition of Endurance Races to Missions including 24-hour races.
• Addition of Online Time Trials and awarding of rewards according to the player’s difference with the top ranked time.
• Make it so cars can be sold.
This is all welcome news, and while I’m sure each fan will receive Yamauchi’s announcement differently, personally the proposed changes go a long way toward making GT7 the experience I’d like it to be. Short of eliminating the always-online requirement — an unlikely measure, let’s be honest — Polyphony appears to be taking feedback to heart, and really evaluating the problems from a systemic point of view.
For example, the studio could have just bumped event payouts across the board and called it a day. Cynically, that’s what I was expecting, but Polyphony is going much further. Not only will prize money be doubled on average for later-game events, but online races will pay better, Circuit Experiences — which are really fucking hard for some tracks, it must be said — will now hopefully reward what they’re worth, and that especially shocking ceiling on credits earned without microtransactions will be significantly raised.
It’s also great to learn that the used and legend dealerships will soon offer a greater selection of cars at any one time. I like the idea of these dealers in theory, because they add an element of occasion to older and highly-prized vehicles. But as they refresh very slowly — only a couple of cars at a time for all players globally — they really hamper players’ ability to sample a vast chunk of GT7's 430-plus car roster. Ideally Polyphony could decouple their stock from the servers so they’d refresh inventory more quickly based on in-game progression, like they did in early Gran Turismo titles. But as long as Polyphony remains married to GT7 as an always-connected experience, this is probably the best possible solution.
The other big change due later is of course the ability to sell cars. Exciting though this may be, we of course don’t yet know how well selling will pay. In GT Sport, selling a car returned about 30 percent of the buying price and reward cars couldn’t be sold. If Polyphony only allows purchased vehicles to be sold in GT7, that could very well annoy the community all over again because it won’t be much help. The GT Café throws many cars at you as you work through its Menu Books, and cars are, once again, very expensive to purchase in GT7. In other words, the vast majority of cars in most players’ garages at this point were probably won, not bought.
All this is to say that despite the transparency of Polyphony’s latest message there’s still a lot we don’t know, and some of those particulars will ultimately make or break the initiative. At least we won’t have to wait very long to see how they bear out. In the meantime, there’s a 1 million-credit voucher in every player’s gifts screen waiting to be redeemed; make sure you log on before April 25 to snag it.