Gran Turismo Concept 2002  
2002 Tokyo-Geneva

CarlitoGran Turismo Concept 2002 Tokyo-Geneva - this is the full title - was officially announced by Sony Computer Entertainment at the October 2001 Tokyo Motor Show. The title, developed by the legendary Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of the whole Gran Turismo series, will be a stand alone lower-priced and more accessible introduction to the racing series that since its first edition in 1998 has sold more than 26 million units worldwide.

"A highly accessible addition to the GT franchise set to broaden the appeal of the series, GT Concept is aimed at those who may find the investment of time and skill necessary to get the best out of the full Gran Turismo experience slightly daunting. It therefore abandons Gran Turismo Mode in favour of an instant-fix, arcade approach, which ensures that even the most inexperienced gamer can jump straight behind the wheel and accelerate away." revealed Sony Computer Entertainment in their press release.

Surely, many hardcore players could be disappointed by this decision. After all, the Gran Turismo mode can be easily considered the core of the series. Anyhow, Sony Computer Entertainment also revealed that many of the features of Gran Turismo 3 have been improved upon, with minor gameplay and graphical tweaks - and in fact, also from the screenshots, it seems that the car models in Gran Turismo Concept will be even more realistic than those in Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec. And that's just surprising, considering that no other racing simulator on any platform can offer, at present, the visuals of Gran Turismo A-Spec.

The game will feature more than a hundred models of cars to drive, plus many and many others that will be only available as opponents. The title of the game derives from the fact that next to the usual production models, race developed variations, full-on racing cars, many of the vehicles will be "concept cars" - models that normally one can only see at motor shows. The final game should also feature a number of fantasy cars. You can download a list of the cars available in the game in our guides section.

You'll race on five tracks - Tokyo, Midfield Raceway, Tahiti Raceway, Swiss Alps, Autumn Raceway - and the game should also include four "bonuses" that you'll have to unlock. Concept will also include the classic 2-player and 6-player mode (via i.Link, you'll need up to three copies of the game and three Ps2 units for this) and cheats mode.

The game retails in Japan for about $24; both the European and North American versions will surely have a similar price. Not bad, considering the features and the great replay value of a game like Gran Turismo Concept.

- Carlito (June 19th, 2002)