Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo license celebrates its 25th anniversary

Polyphony Digital’s Gran Turismo license celebrates its 25th anniversary

It was in 1997, a video game license was going to revolutionize the world of car simulation on PlayStation, created by Polyphony Digital and distributed by Sony: Gran Turismo. And to celebrate this quarter century, its creator thanked his fans through an open letter.

For early fans of the franchise, this won’t make them any younger, but Gran Turismo did release in 1997 on the first PlayStation. And a quarter of a century later and 90 million copies sold, the license has gained popularity, realism and has declined wherever possible.

Gran Turismo, 25 years already!

The Gran Turismo saga was born for the first time in 1997, but its genesis actually dates back to 1992. It was at this time that Kazunori Yamauchi developed the initial project of the game. In 1994, he was at the head from another game, Motor Toon Grand Prix. Three years later, most of MTGP’s underlying physics models have been incorporated into the original Gran Turismo game.

When the first announcements were made in the specialized magazines of the time (the official PlayStation Magazine, Consoles+, Joypad…), some saw it as just another arcade-type car game (the display of the instrumentalization on the screen participated in this deception), but others had well analyzed the depth of the game, but especially the physics of the cars. Indeed, when the first images were put on paper, we saw many cars sagging on their suspensions… We didn’t see that in any other video game!

And 90 million titles sold later, and 25 candles blown out for the franchise, the saga is an exception in the world of video games. The license has retained its title, but above all its original developer team, a record longevity.

Kazunori Yamauchi

In the very beginning, the Gran Turismo project started by bringing together a team of two part-time artists and three engineers. From there, the number of comrades grew steadily for more than a quarter of a century, becoming today Polyphony Digital, a company of more than 200 people. I don’t think there are many video game franchises in the world that have gone on for 25 years with the same title, and with the same team.

The founding members of the company are still working on the front line, and I am grateful and proud that our 200 staff members form a team that has the same drive and love as the company started.

Over the past 25 years, the total cumulative sales of the series have reached more than 90 million copies as of November 16, 2022. Behind this figure of 90 million, there are all the media people who have conveyed the appeal of Gran Turismo to their readers. There are the folks at PlayStation who have passionately sold GT for us around the world, and there is the incredible support from retailers who have been in touch with our users.

And above all, I can’t thank enough the GT users and members of the GT community who played our new titles, which we can say were very experimental at times. If we are here today, it is thanks to all those who supported us.

I believe that the Gran Turismo series has always sought “beauty”. The beauty of cars, the beauty of landscapes, the beauty of lighting, the beauty of driving, the beauty of sounds and music, and the beauty of graphics. The “pursuit of beauty” is the motivation for the creation of Gran Turismo. We appreciate all of your support over the past 25 years. Thank you.

This motivation is clearly visible in every title. While the features, sounds, and physics engines have often been the subject of criticism from the public, Gran Turismo’s graphics are rarely questioned.

And Gran Turismo goes beyond video games! It triggered passions for cars and motor sports for some, if not reinforced certainties for others. He participated in discovering the extent of the different world markets with exotic, exclusive or unknown models from our regions. The Mazda Demio, the Toyota Sprinter Trueno (the heroine of Initial D), the Mitsubishi GTO Twin Turbo and of course the incomparable Nissan Skyline R32 / R33 which has enjoyed a great showcase and immense popularity thanks to the franchise.

But Gran Turismo has improved over time, after the first opus, Gran Turismo 2 came in two discs (one CD Arcade, the other Simulation, one of which you could rub to feel the bitumen!) , a third opus called A-Spec (the B-Spec version was a realization mode… integrated into the game). The franchise has also created the “Prologue”, intermediate games to keep players waiting, in 2006 it was even Gran Turismo HD which sold the merits of high definition while waiting for the GT 5 Prologue!

Beyond its pharaonic garages, the driving licenses to pass, the imposed challenges, the incredible improvements to be made on the vehicles, the number of circuits in constant evolution over the opuses… the first atmosphere created by the introductions and the soundtracks greatly contributed to the success and today to the nostalgia of the first titles. Who hasn’t had a thrill with the soundtracks of The Cardigans “My Favorite Games” and Garbage “I’m Think I’m Paranoid”?

And outside of its living room, Gran Turismo has also invited itself into the real world with the Nissan GT Academy! The GT Academy NISMO PlayStation is a competition organized by Nissan, PlayStation and Polyphony Digital since 2008 that takes the best Gran Turismo players from the virtual world to the real world by offering them the unique opportunity to compete to try to become a real professional racing driver.

Gran Turismo 25th Anniversary Trailer

Intro Gran Turismo 1

Intro Gran Turismo 2

Intro Gran Turismo 3

Intro Gran Turismo 4

Intro Gran Turismo 5

Intro Gran Turismo Sport

Intro Gran Turismo 7