The 'Gran Turismo' games have always had an affinity for music, but the newest game in the series takes it one step further.
'Gran Turismo 7' features a new music mode where players can drive along to the BPM of a song and the mode is designed to give an emphasis to the music on the soundtrack.
Series director Kazunouri Yamauchi told entertainment.ie that the studio had a room with a piano and multiple instruments, and the studio staff would regularly play long into the night.
Over the course of the games 5-year development, these late-night sessions intended to blow off steam gradually became implemented into the game.
"Over the last 5 years, we used the room to relieve some stress from development and used it to bat around ideas. From those sessions, this new game mode was created."
"One night we had the idea - why don't we put this idea in the game?"
From there, the "Music Rally" mode was born.
Another music-themed mode, entitled "Music Replay", also allows players to watch race highlights timed to the chosen music track.
"When you're driving in 'Gran Turismo' players have to make a choice of either turning down the car sounds to listen to the music, or turn off the music so they can listen to the sounds of the car, and we came up with a solution."
The 'Gran Turismo' games are renowned for their best-in-class sound and visual design, and 'Gran Turismo 7' looks poised to continue the series tradition.
Yamauchi said that studios were set up across North America, Europe and Asia to record the noises of the different cars featured in the game.
The news of the game being always online has been met with controversy, but Yamauchi explained it was to prevent cheating in the games online modes.
This does seem at odds with the philosophy of making a 'Gran Turismo' game for everyone, as the game appears to be deep and comprehensive before even getting into the online modes.
Over the course of the media briefing, Yamauchi hammered home the importance of physics in the game, with the new DualSense controllers, in particular, being treated with engineering reverence.
The new DualSense controllers have been used by some developers to great effect such as the recent 'Uncharted' remaster, but 'Gran Turismo 7' is going one step further, with Yamauchi mentioning that different cars would have different vibrations and frequencies on the controller.
The series' attention to detail has only grown stronger as games consoles technology catches up to the minds of developers, with 'Gran Turismo 7' promising to push visuals even further than before.
Since the series' original release in 1997, the games have always been on the cutting edge of graphics - 2004's 'Gran Turismo 4' was somehow playable in 1080i! - and the upcoming game looks set to carry on the proud series tradition.
Yamauchi discussed the addition of Ray Tracing to the game, saying that Ray Tracing helped make the game appear more photorealistic.
Ray Tracing is a method in which the physical behaviour of light is simulated, and in a side-by-side comparison of the PS4 and PS5 versions of the game the differences become that much more apparent.
In a side-by-side comparison, a car showed significantly more detail on the PlayStation 5, and if you have the TV that is up to the job, 'Gran Turismo 7' will be the game that ushers in the 2020s.
In motion, the game runs butter smooth, but there is the option to play the game with the graphics favouring fidelity over performance and vice-versa.
The games photo mode has also been expanded on, allowing players to place their favourite cars in a series of locales from all around the world, with all the tricks of photo editing software such as lens exposure and motion blur present in the game.
The photo mode looks in-depth and may warrant a game or app all of its own.
'Gran Turismo 7' also uses the new technology available to create some truly unique weather effects.
In a portion of the State Of Play, we were told that puddles can form on the track and the sun can dry them up, creating driving conditions you would experience in real life.
Most notably, we were shown the puddles forming in a place covered by shadow, and hence the sun couldn't dry it up, so the puddles remained even when the rest of the track had dried.
It's a subtle flourish you wouldn't find unless you went looking for it, but it's this commitment to the small details that has 'Gran Turismo 7' poised to be the series' most complete game yet.
Yamauchi also said that he was working with the boffins at NASA to create accurate skies and stars, giving the example of the stars above tracks in the Asian region are accurate to that region, and the position of the sun is accurate to the skies above the American tracks.
Racing Into The History Books
Over the course of the media briefing, Yamauchi stressed his desire to create a car game that can appeal to fans old and new.
In particular, he emphasised the expansion of the museum that was introduced in 'Gran Turismo Sport' and going deeper into the history of cars and the culture surrounding it.
One of the new features in the game is the 'Gran Turismo Cafe' where players can learn about the various cars in the game from the people who helped build them, and compete in challenges to add them to their collection.
Players can learn about the history of famous cars such as the Porsche 911 or the Volkswagen Beetle, and even unlock these famous vehicles for their own usage.
This extends to the games suite of customisation options, with journalists shown an old-school Volkswagen Beetle tuned and juiced up to modern-day standards.
There are over 400 cars available in the game, and while we haven't seen the whole roster yet, we can be sure to see a mix of the old-school classics mixed with more modern fare.
'Forza Horizon 5' laid down the gauntlet for 'Gran Turismo 7', and the response from Camp Sony is to make the most complete driving simulator ever.
With the game hitting Irish digital and traditional storefronts in March, Sony is pulling out all the stops to make the new 'Gran Turismo' appeal to gamers of all ages, from those who played it on the PlayStation 1 to those who have never played a game in the franchise before.
If previous 'Gran Turismo' games were a love letter to the car, Gran Turismo 7' is a marriage proposal.