Should Games Cater to the Casuals?
Gran Turismo Sport

Fans of racing games have recently suffered an unexpected blow to the chest. The creator of Gran Turismo Sport, Kazunori Yamauchi, revealed in an interview that one fan-favorite feature was excluded for a very specific reason. As one of the most popular racing game franchises, Gran Turismo has always included a GT Mode. This was a progressional mode within the game that allowed players to start their racing career from the ground up. I mean, doesn't everyone dream of buying an old beater car, winning some races, and upgrading to their dream racer? Gran Turismo always gave speed racing fans the chance to live out these dreams, but it's been taken away in Gran Turismo Sport.

What's worse is the reasoning Yamauchi utilizes to explain his choice to remove the feature. Apparently, the classic mode was removed and the UI system for the game updated because players nowadays don't know as much about cars. I admittedly won't be rebuilding any engines any time soon, but that doesn't mean that die-hard Gran Turismo fans don't. Yamauchi specifically said, “Twenty years ago, when we did the first Gran Turismo, people knew what happens when you change an air filter; people knew what increased compression ratios do to your car. But the new users don't have that knowledge anymore, because they're not as interested in the cars...” I'm genuinely curious as to where Yamauchi is getting this information. I would imagine most racing fans, especially those into a series like Gran Turismo, haven't changed over the years.

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People who enjoy speedy cars generally have knowledge on the subject. Let's look at it differently with a slightly silly example. Think of kids or adults you have known over the years who really like trains. They don't always just like trains, right? Sometimes they build models of trains. Generally speaking, they know what every type of car is, its purpose, and where it fits on a train. They also know a reasonable amount about the engines that power the trains. It's a hobby that they enjoy, and part of the enjoyment is knowing what they do about the subject. Hobbyists love learning about their favorite past-time.

The same can be said of those that enjoy video games. If there's a specific genre or game that you really enjoy, it's safe to say you're going to be fairly knowledgeable about the subject. Fans of specific development companies or creators generally know a lot about them. It's not even always an intentional acquisition of facts. When we like something, we find ourselves searching for information on it. We bury ourselves deep in the subject. Those who play first-person shooters are going to have the ability to recognize different gun types just by looking at them. They didn't have to seek out that information, they just learned it by osmosis through playing the game.

Gran Turismo Sport

So why in the world wouldn't racing fans know a decent amount about the cars they are racing? It's a bit unfair for a creator to lump all his new fans together into one bucket. I know plenty of people who could literally take apart the engine of my car and rebuild it without anyone being any the wiser that it happened. The same friends spend all their free time customizing their own version of a street racer. They know what increased compression ratios would do to their car. So why shouldn't that be an option within Gran Turismo Sport?

I understand that you have to make some changes and concessions for players that might not be as knowledgeable. But why take away something that has been a staple since a franchise's inception? The fans that have stuck around this long won't want to be there for the developer much longer. It seems like Yamauchi had the right intentions, but this could be the downfall of a racing game legacy. Some fans of the series have even cancelled their pre-orders because they don't agree with the catering to unknowledgeable players. Allow the users of the game to decide how much they can or want to learn, don't take away the option entirely.

April Marie
April Marie
@Legiodith

Contributing Writer
Date: 10/23/2017

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