Yes, Gran Turismo Sport has a career mode and this is how it works
Polyphony Digital is taking a new approach to its famous series, Gran Turismo Sport, but will you embrace the change?
Change is never easy. After 20 years of iteration, the Gran Turismo series is taking its biggest detour yet, starting a whole new chapter with GT Sport. I’ve just returned from a week in Tokyo where Kazunori Yamauchi gave me a tour of the company’s main studio. While at the studio, I interviewed the man one-on-one, played the game for hours and ate way too much delicious Japanese food. Over the last few days, I’ve begun posting a number of stories derived from that experience, namely; my hands-on preview, why GT Sport was over-specced for future consoles, Polyphony denying GT 7 plans and GT Sport's VR struggles.
One of the consistent bits of feedback we’ve seen in the comments on these articles is a belief that there is no career mode. This is not true; although, it too has changed. Here is what I learned about the campaign experience in Gran Turismo Sport.
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Where Kazunori Yamauchi’s head is at
Polyphony Digital did not approach the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) about turning the Gran Turismo series into a channel to gain an official, real-world racing license. The FIA came to Polyphony Digital in 2013 with a desire to look at the future of motorsport. Yamauchi spoke to me about the impact heading to the FIA’s French headquarters had on him.
“I immediately got a lot of inspiration and a lot of ideas came up.” Any chance of a Gran Turismo 7 went out the door at that moment. Sport was born and Yamauchi’s focus is now on taking this FIA opportunity and using it to push the boundaries on what is possible with a racing game.
The career mode, or Campaign as it is referred to in Gran Turismo Sport, ends with your FIA license arriving in the post.
How does the Gran Turismo’s campaign work?
Six gaming experiences present themselves when you sit on Gran Turismo Sport’s main hub screen. Sport is first, further evidence to Yamauchi’s mindset. Then we have Campaign, Arcade, Brand Central, Lobby and Scapes. In the Campaign mode, there are four sub-modes to select from: Driving School, Mission Challenge, Circuit Experience and Racing Etiquette.
Within each of these sub-modes, players are presented with a ridiculous number of objectives to complete that fit under those aforementioned themes. When I say ridiculous, it’s well into the hundreds. As you complete these objectives, ideally achieving a Gold ranking, you unlock more cars for use across the experience. Getting the Gold is where being an expert comes into play, but for beginners, handy tutorial videos, which appear to be streamed directly from YouTube, explain the lessons being learned in this challenge.
This is all about learning racing techniques and how elements like tyre grip and vehicle balance must be controlled. You’ll do things like power in and out of the apex of a corner without veering off the road.
This is the largest of the sub modes. Here, you will apply what you learned in the Driving School to real-world situations. This could be making a certain number of overtakes, beating a time trial, staying ahead of opponents, knocking over cones and even competing in Gymkhana events.
This focuses on individual tracks, using reference videos to help you master the circuits sector-by-sector. Braking points and apexes become clearly marked and you learn how to deal with changes in camber and overtaking zones.
This mode was inactive during my play session, but given that the Sport mode’s matchmaking and player rankings are impacted by your Sportsmanship Rating, I think it is clear what kind of experience you will find here.
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The Campaign is just the primer
If you’re going to fulfil your career objective in Gran Turismo Sport and earn that real-world FIA racing licence, you’ll need to transition the skills mastered in the Campaign successfully to the Sport mode. Here, Championships, which will be broadcast live on TV and also reported through the game itself, will determine the best of the best.
An incredible amount of energy and effort has gone into getting the matchmaking system right for a mode that carries such a real-world impact. The aim is to get players of similar skills and sportsmanship, determined by the Driver Rating (DR) and Sportsmanship Rating (SR), in the same race. And also to use a BoP (Balance of Performance) structure to ensure various vehicles offer like-minded track pace to ensure a level playing field.
This is the change Gran Turismo fans will need to embrace if they want to view the new Sport title in the same light that they would have viewed a Gran Turismo 7. Which is worth it, as Yamauchi gave me every reason to believe there will never be a Gran Turismo 7. Achieve a Gold rank in all the Campaign sub-modes, unlock better cars, transition successfully to the Sport mode and earn that FIA license.
After all, that has always been the end goal of this racing simulator, right? For you, the player, to transition into a real race driver.
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