Polyphony Digital’s latest iteration of the Gran Turismo driving simulator made an appearance at this week’s E3 2017 in Los Angeles, and was playable using a PSVR headset, but with some significant limitations. The game is due to launch exclusively on PS4 in Fall 2017.
The flagship PlayStation driving franchise is finally coming to PS4, confirmed at E3 this week with a newly-adjusted release window. Surprisingly, Gran Turismo Sport was absent from Sony’s main presentation; this stunning trailer appeared during the pre-show:
Announced on October 27th 2015 during the Paris Games Week conference, producer Kazunori Yamauchi immediately confirmed on stage that GT Sport was in development for PSVR. Since then, the full details of its VR support have rarely been discussed. The short clip from the PSVR launch trailer, which only displayed one other car on track, was perhaps an early indication of the limited functionality.
At the end of this article related to PC sim racing, I questioned whether Polyphony Digital could deliver the full GT Sport experience on PSVR. Anyone who has attempted to run high-quality graphics settings using a VR headset on a PC sim like iRacing or Project CARS will know how demanding this type of game can be; the heavily-compromised visuals of Driveclub VR and the missing PSVR support for the original Project CARS on PS4 (and still no sign of PSVR support for Project CARS 2) highlight the difficulties in achieving good results on PS4 hardware.
The first time GT Sport’s VR support was demonstrated in public was at a London PS4 Pro launch event in November, showing a single car driving around the Willow Springs circuit. This was followed by an official confirmation of limited VR support in the PSX trailer in December, with VR functionality on ‘select cars and tracks’, again with footage of just one other car on track at Willow Springs.
At E3 2017, a sim rig featured GT Sport on PS4 Pro using the new Thrustmaster T-GT wheel, and John Sabol of Inside Sim Racing gave some brief impressions of the PSVR mode. Once more, the demonstration featured Willow Springs, and a single opponent on track. Sabol confirmed with Yamauchi that VR in GT Sport would indeed be limited to 1v1 offline racing and would not support every track. However, Sabol’s impressions of the driving experience were very positive, describing the visuals as ‘not that far off’ PC VR driving sim fidelity, so Polyphony may have made the right decision here, prioritising image quality and performance to deliver a solid VR driving experience.
However, this footage from just a few weeks ago seems to show a different build of GT Sport running with multiple cars on track using PSVR – perhaps they decided that the visuals were too compromised here, or perhaps it wasn’t holding an acceptable framerate. GT Sport is shaping up to deliver some of the most photorealistic visuals of any racing sim, so it’s no surprise that the VR mode has limitations.