News Culture

Gran Turismo 7’s First Big 2024 Update Is Letting Everyone Down

There is still a silver lining, though: free Jimny.
Sony Interactive Entertainment

In the wee hours of Thursday morning there will be a new Gran Turismo 7 update pushed out, notably the first since the game’s big Spec II patch back in November. It’s unlikely any future update for the game could compare to that one in terms of scale, and Patch 1.42 doesn’t try; it’s bringing three cars, the Bulgari and Genesis Vision GTs, alongside the Suzuki Jimny, which is of course The Drive staff’s pick of the litter. There are some new Scapes and Jimny-themed races, too. But the modest size of this update, as well as what little it does include, seems to have fans severely disappointed. To that I’d say, maybe we should all get used to it.

Look, GT7 will be two years old in March. Games, even “servicey” ones, never last forever, and though I obviously have zero intel to support this, I would not at all surprised to see Polyphony start to wind down the cadence of content updates as 2024 soldiers on. Gran Turismo Sport, which released at the end of 2017, had its final sizable content update with three cars drop in February of 2020. Immediately before that was a mammoth Christmas drop that introduced seven cars, not terribly unlike Spec II last fall.

Leaks from shortly after GT7’s launch indicated Polyphony was working on a trove of new vehicles, and by now seemingly a third of them—the ones we knew about, anyway—have since made it to the game. Some recent inclusions, like the Tesla Model 3, Toyota GR Corolla, and the Jimny aren’t even on that datamined car list, but the critical point is that we don’t know what’s coming nor what’s being saved for the next installment, whenever that turns up.

A new track would be swell, but Polyphony has made it clear those are suited for special occasions. What isn’t are new Vision Gran Turismo cars, those concepts made by automakers (and, sometimes, fashion brands) specifically for Gran Turismo. If you’re going by social media reception, fans absolutely abhor these concepts, routinely responding to their announcement with pictures of race cars or 20th century enthusiast metal they’d rather drive.

Credit where it’s due: That’s a hilarious tweet.

But this got me thinking. The Bulgari concept’s biggest sin—outside of the fact that you’ll have to wait a month to buy it unless you drop $5,000 on a watch—is that it’s the product of a fashion brand. Visually, it looks sick. So, too, does the Genesis X Gran Berlinetta, and everyone can agree Genesis could use a halo car given its design home runs as of late. When I was a kid, I adored concept cars. Some of them, particularly those given a spotlight by Need for Speed, like the Ford GT90 and Indigo, Lamborghini Calà, and BMW Nazca C2, still rank among my favorite designs ever.

So what happened? Did I just grow up? Has that optimism for the future, the potential of technological progress, been completely eroded by the course of the last 20 years? Is it just too easy for any clever artist with an Autodesk license to whip up a rendering that I know will never amount to anything, no matter how good it looks? I believe all of these factors have played a role, but I also believe there’s a kid out there that thinks the Mazda RX Vision is as stunning as I thought that Calà was when I was their age.

I think that’s important to remember. I also think it’s important to remember that we’re getting this stuff for free, as has been the case for every single Gran Turismo content update for the last seven years. This is, frankly, unheard of in modern gaming, and while there was plenty that Polyphony didn’t do right with GT7 out of the gate, nobody’s ever given them enough credit for this. When Patch 1.42 drops tomorrow, you won’t have to grind insufferable events in a weekly playlist for three hours to get that Jimny, nor will you have to fork over $10. That counts for a lot. In an era where publishers have become increasingly greedy with their content offerings—either demanding ever more of your money or time in exchange for it—players’ sense of entitlement has spiraled ever further away from reason, too.

Believe me: I also hope we get a Toyota GT-One, or a Lancia Delta Integrale rally car in whatever remains of GT7’s post-launch support, not to mention classic tracks like Mid-Field Raceway or Seattle Circuit. I could be angry every single time we’re denied them, but I’m also not the only person who enjoys this game. And the fact none of this has ever cost me anything makes the pill a little easier to swallow.

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