An online writer who is also an avid geek to automotive, video games, and anime. Have a soft spot for racing games
A household name of Sony and Polyphony Digital, Gran Turismo is one of the influential game series. Debuted in the late-90s, the game has created a subgenre of racing games: those that chase simulation aspects and realism but still being accessible by gamers.
The series also managed to get several video game developers to follow the same path, created what is said to be Gran Turismo clones. These clones incorporate at least one of the aspects featured in Gran Turismo: motorsport setting, simulation physics to replicate real-life driving, car upgrades, and an enormous number of car rosters.
One of the earliest clones was Square Enix’s Driving Emotion Type –S. You heard that right, Square Enix which was known for RPG series like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest once entered the racing game genre. I remember the game was heavily featured in a local game magazine I read.
What’s noteworthy from the 2000-made game is that some cars and tracks appeared in this game first before made their way to Gran Turismo. Special mention goes to Ferrari and Porsche cars (you can drive the Porsche lookalikes RUF on Gran Turismo 2 though).
Another clone, Enthusia Professional Racing came in mid-2000s. Made by Konami of Metal Gear fame, the game came in simplified form. Even the career mode namely “Enthusia Life” was way simple than GT4’s Gran Turismo mode.
Despite this, Enthusia Professional Racing features superb driving physics that gave Gran Turismo a run for its money. It feels fluid and realistic. It’s challenging especially if you’re in RWD vehicles.
While the game still has fan-favorites like Nissan Skyline GT-R, Dodge Viper, and the cover car Aston Martin V12 Vanquish, Konami did not forget about novelties and unique vehicles like Citroen DS. The track list was also decent. Despite mostly consists of fictional tracks, you can expect yourself driving a Mazda 7878 in the legendary Nurburgring Nordschelife there.
These clones came not only from third-party developers but also Sony’s rivals. Like Sega which spawned its clone the Sega GT series.
The original Sega GT was released in Dreamcast. Although it’s less successful, it warranted two sequels: Sega GT 2002 and Sega GT Online for the original Xbox.
Sega GT games play the same as Gran Turismo, it even got license tests and cups players must go through. The series, however, has its unique game modes. Like the mode where you can 'build' a car of your own or one where you race newer cars in a classic machine on the sequel.
And don’t forget Microsoft’s Forza Motorsport series. Being the Xbox alternative to Kazunori Yamauchi game Forza Motorsport managed to build its dedicated community. Like Gran Turismo, it featured similar “upgrade and race” gameplay as well as a good mix of Japanese, American, and European cars. This is where the similarity ends.
Forza upped features already introduced in Gran Turismo to the next level. It introduces additional upgrades such as extensive dress up options and custom liveries. It doesn’t stop there, the series also feature cosmetic damage making the game more realistic.
Gran Turismo has revolutionized the racing genre and inspired other game developers to make their own racing simulators. While these sims are made to stimulate Gran Turismo experience, they come with unique selling points. Some of the games even have features that make into newer Gran Turismo games. Like Porsche which finally appeared in GT Sport and damage modelling earlier in GT5.
Unfortunately, most of the GT clones did not meet sales as satisfying as Gran Turismo, nor the receptions were as favorable. Only Forza Motorsport the GT clone that managed to survive until this date. The game even managed to grow the beard with innovative features (Autovista anyone?) and subseries, to the point that Forza has become more than Microsoft’s Gran Turismo counterpart.
Nevertheless, these GT clones managed to introduce and bring real-life driving experience to the wider audience. Like Gran Turismo, they are a good medium to get players interested in racing simulators especially more hardcore sims such as Assetto Corsa, rFactor, and iRacing.
So, what’s your favorite Gran Turismo clone?
© 2021 Muhammad Azka Prasetya