Thursday, March 25, 2010

Real Cities in Gran Turismo History

John Marine | 3/25/2010 11:57:00 PM | |
NOTE - April 15, 2011: You can visit official websites (if offered) of each location featured inthis blog post. Click on the headings of each featured city to do so.

Gran Turismo has had a host of real-world cities featured in GT games. While many people debate whether or not there should be more city courses. This is just a nice look at GT courses in history in real-world cities in preparation for some of the upcoming locales for Gran Turismo 5.

--- Cities in Gran Turismo History ---
Here are all [or as many] of the various city courses in Gran Turismo history.

Seattle, Washington, USA.

Seattle, Washington, USA
^ from: - The Emerald City of the Emerald State

The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful locale in the United States. The city of Seattle has been featured since Gran Turismo 2 and even makes an appearance in Tourist Trophy (but not as a raceable venue (at least, against other riders)). Gran Turismo 2 featured this track in the afternoon hours. Since Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec, the course is in a sunset setting. When racing in reverse in GT3, the sunset is vibrant, but almost looks like it's about to rain heavily with the thick dark clouds in the distance. Only Gran Turismo 2 features the Short Course.

Rome, Italy.

Rome, Italy
^ from: - Rome was one of the first cities featured in Gran Turismo games. It was featured in a Gran Turismo 2 demo.

The streets of Rome will return for Gran Turismo 5, but its appearances in Gran Turismos 2 and 3 are lovely. The course is very competitive. This city has the most variations of any city in Gran Turismo history. There was the Short Course (only in GT2), the full circuit (GT2 and GT3), and the highly disused Rome-Night. YouTube videos below give you your first looks at each course if you've never seen them before:

^ Rome Short Course (GT2)

^ Rome Circuit (GT3 version)

^ Rome-Night (GT2)

UPDATED 6/16/2010: Gran Turismo 5's Rome Circuit is much different from the Rome we're used to in GT2 and GT3. It looks great, but I still want to see the old course make a return.

Grindelwald, Switzerland.

Grindelwald, Switzerland
^ from: - Grindelwald was a different kind of street course in Gran Turismo 2. If anything, Grindelwald felt more like a semi-permanent race course than a traditional street course that usually has concrete-lined walls.

Rather than some race course weaving around city streets in a major city, Grindelwald takes you to a lovely and scenic race course. Lots of lush greens and beautiful mountainous scenery await you within Grindelwald. You even race this place as a Super License venue.

Tokyo, Japan.

Tokyo, Japan
^ from: - Tokyo made its Gran Turismo debut in Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec.

Let this be said... I LOVE Tokyo. I'd love to go there. Tokyo Route 246 (or Tokyo R246 for short) is based on a bus route in Japan. It is a fairly long Grand Prix-style course. It's a high-speed thrill ride with some rather tough corners. It's a unique and exclusive course as you could see the Sony Computer Entertainment building on the front stretch heading into the Start/Finish line. I LOVE racing this course. It has been a Gran Turismo fixture since Gran Turismo 3 and has even been in "Gran Turismo Concept" and "Tourist Trophy." Parts of Tokyo even can be used in Gran Turismo 4's Photo Mode.

Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Monte Carlo, Monaco
^ from: - Côte d'Azur was the first real-world actual street course in Gran Turismo history.

Known as Côte d'Azur in GT, the streets of Monte Carlo plays host to one of the most spectacular city street courses in the world. This is the first city-state featured in Gran Turismo history, as well as the only street course in Gran Turismo history that is not available in reverse. It's also the only World Circuit that's in the City Course lineup in GT4.

New York City, New York, USA.

New York City, New York, USA (or NYC)
^ from: - The city so nice, they named it twice. Welcome to the urban jungle known as New York City.

I would love to go to New York City one day. This street course is a high-speed (at least the first half of it) that takes you on a wild ride through Times Square. You even visit the outer edges of Central Park. Forza Motorsport even had their own version of this course. This track can be raced on in Tourist Trophy against other riders. You can even take some pictures in Photo Mode here.

Paris, France.

Paris, France
^ from: - Paris will mystify you with its loveliness. You can even race around the streets here on two different courses!

Two different courses are available in Gran Turismo 4. Opera Paris is the narrow and slow daytime street course, and George V Paris is the nighttime rally-type street course. George V Paris gives you a lovely look at the Arc de Triomphe. By the way, I would LOVE to go to Paris. It's one of my favorite cities in the world.

Hong Kong; or Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region, China.

Hong Kong
^ from: - Hong Kong is one of the liveliest cities in all of Asia. It is often considered the New York City of the Far East.

To most people, Hong Kong conjures images of insane martial arts fights in movies and games. What happens when you build a race track around it? You get the narrow street course with absolutely no high-speed corners. I'm actually a bit disappointed with this course. This track would have been better if held deep at night rather than the evening setting. It's just not as interesting of a track setting-wise. Hong Kong is more of a futuristic-looking city to me.

Seoul, South Korea.

Seoul, South Korea
^ from: - Seoul disappointed many gamers in Gran Turismo 4 since it was such a short, yet very fast street course.

Many people were disappointed at how short and uninteresting Seoul's street course is. What this track lacks in length makes up for with wide streets and high speeds. Only one road is a two-lane road. This could be a track that would be not bad for featuring with NASCAR in GT5 if Seoul returns in its current configuration.

Assisi, Italy.

Assisi, Italy (Citta di Aria)
^ from:

Citta d'Aria is narrow and treacherous, but is also very beautiful. Lots of Old World charm accentuate this lovely course. I've found this course more fun to race on a motorcycle in Tourist Trophy than in a car in GT4.

Amalfi, Italy.

Amalfi, Italy (Costa di Amalfi)
^ from: - Costa di Amalfi offers a beautiful coastal environment with a fun hillclimb course on narrow roads.

On the island of Capri, this fun tarmac rally-type hillclimb course is held on mostly one and two-lane roads. Speeds are much higher here as well as it being a bit more fun to race than Citta d'Aria.

Kleine Scheidegg, Switzerland.

^ from: - Eiger Nordwand is waiting for you either in road racing or in rally racing.

The only track in Gran Turismo HD was Eiger Nordwand, a mountain pass in Switzerland. I didn't know what real city (if any) was featured, so I included this. It's pretty tough for a drift course.

London, England.

London, England
^ from:

There has never been a true British venue in the 10+ year history of Gran Turismo until the streets of London were featured. I have no experience with this course because I've never played GT5 nor GT5 Prologue.

Madrid, Spain.

Madrid, Spain
^ from: - Spain is a very beautiful country, and one of my favorite cities in Spain (among many others) is Spain's capital city- Madrid.

The recent E3 2010 trailer of Gran Turismo 5 features Madrid. From the look of things from a YouTube video I've seen, Madrid is going to feel more like Opera Paris. There is still no denying, however, that Madrid is an absolutely gorgeous city.

Tuscany (or Toscana), Italy.
^ from: - Tuscany (or Toscana) will make its debut in Gran Turismo 5 with a rally course.

While part of me was disappointed (somewhat) that there wasn't a traditional point-to-point rally stage for Gran Turismo 5, I do still think Toscana will be a lovely course. The big bopper for this track is the demonstration of day-to-night transitions. A trailer from E3 showcases the day-to-night transitions as shown from E3. Have a look:

Needless to say, still plenty of reason to be excited to race a course like this.

I've only featured real-world CITIES in this blog entry. So I didn't include things like Eiger Nordwand. Madrid will be featured for the first time ever in Gran Turismo when GT5 is released. I'll be looking forward to that because Madrid is a beautiful city. Thank you for reading!

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