We knew we'd be getting a sizable update for Gran Turismo 7 on Thursday, though we didn't know what it'd bring beyond seven cars. Notable though those seven cars are—they include the Mercedes 190E Evo II, Lexus LFA, Tesla Model 3—developer Polyphony Digital clearly has bigger aspirations for Update 1.40, reflected in the patch's nickname: Spec II. Almost every Gran Turismo of the post-PS2 era has gotten a Spec II, and such an expansion is finally coming to GT7 this week, bringing a new track, new modes, the full release of advanced GT Sophy AI opponents, and a bunch of quality-of-life changes that fans are sure to appreciate.
We've covered the cars already of course, though I'm sure you won't mind some eye candy ahead of the patch's release at 4 a.m. Eastern tomorrow. Beyond that, there's so much to unpack. We'll begin with Lake Louise Track, a trio of snow circuits comprising short and long versions, as well as a tri-oval. GT7 has been rather lax on off-road content, so the addition of a new environment and surface type to the game is great to see.
What else? Well, there's an expansion of "GT Sophy" AI opponents following a limited-time preview earlier this year. Gran Turismo's mediocre computer-controlled racers haven't been a high point of the series. Sure, they can be fast, but they rarely provide an authentic experience of how real drivers would react to your moves on track. Sony set out to fix that by developing its GT Sophy tech with the goal of "outracing the world’s best drivers," per the company. The preview revealed the new AI opponents might be a little too good, though they still make for a far more dynamic race. This could be considered a full release of GT Sophy as it'll now suit up in more than 340 cars—about 70% of GT7's entire car roster—and nine courses, according to Sony AI.
You'll be able to run quick races against Sophy for boosted credits payouts, too. And while it's admittedly disappointing than Sophy isn't going to entirely replace GT7's tragic basic AI across the game's single-player campaign, its existence at least means you can enjoy some solid wheel-to-wheel action whenever you like, when those classic "chase the rabbit" races get especially old.
Speaking of which, Polyphony had added another 20 races across the career that won't benefit from Sophy-powered bots, but still provide a much-needed boost to the game's single-player event library, which was one of GT7's greatest deficits upon launch. Those are listed below, and it's worth noting that Polyphony considers the Clubman Cup+ and GT Cup Gr. 3 races "expert-class" events. That means they're likely to utilize grid starts and be moderately fun to contest:
- World Touring Cars 900: Trial Mountain / Nurburgring / Suzuka Circuit / Autopolis
- X2019 Nations Cup: Interlagos Circuit / Sardegna Road Track / Dragon Trail / Trial Mountain Circuit / Lake Maggiore Circuit
- World Rally Challenge Gr. B: Lake Louise
- Japanese 4WD Challenge 600
- Pick-Up Truck Race: Lake Louise
- Clubman Cup+: Watkins Glen International / Special Stage Route X / Fuji Speedway / Monza Circuit
- GT Cup Gr. 3: Mount Panorama / Daytona International Speedway / Deep Forest Raceway / Red Bull Ring
But wait, there's more! Now you can easily determine what races in the career you haven't yet done, thanks to a new "Event Directory" screen. Yeah, this seems like a small thing, but the way GT7 splits up event series based on location, rather than grouping by the series themselves, made evaluating progress a little tricky for those of us used to selecting "4WD Challenge" back in GT3 and GT4 and doing all of those races in order. Now, we'll be able to.
The list goes on. There's another 50 license tests, now under the "Master License" label, as if the game's original 50 wasn't thrilling enough. Despite my longtime enthusiasm for Gran Turismo, I've always felt it takes a special kind of masochist to actually enjoy those, but to each their own. Meeting Places, an oddball feature meant to gather players in rooms for some easy track meet-style hotlapping and hangouts, is now called Paddocks, and allows you to see entrants' rides at a glance, in a cute, parking lot-type view.
GT5's Seasonal Events are back in the form of Weekly Challenges that award roulette tickets and other rewards for completion. These look to be races pulled from the game's library as well as some occasional new ones that will change, as stated, on a weekly basis. Not unlike Forza Horizon's Festival Playlists, they might just give players a reason to log in every week by promising goodies for their dedication.
Photo Mode now gives photographers the ability to shoot in even slower shutter speeds than before, between 1 second and 1/30th of a second, while Scapes has added Polyphony Digital's Tokyo Studio as a venue. And last but certainly not least, split-screen mode for PS5 owners now supports four-player racing, rather than the standard two. That's a first for Gran Turismo and especially unexpected, given how local multiplayer has slowly fallen out of favor with publishers since the advent of online gaming on consoles.
So, yes—there's absolutely a ton here, and it's even more of a surprise as it comes 19 months since GT7's initial release in March 2022. Post-launch support isn't unusual in this day and age, particularly not for live service-type experiences like GT7, though to get the game's biggest update by far more than a year and a half later should quell any concerns from the player base that GT7 is close to death. You'll be able to enjoy all the new content and features starting at 4 a.m. Eastern tomorrow, November 2.
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