At the height of the British summer of 2003, Japanese developer Polyphony’s website (www.polyphony.co.jp) tells us that it’s been responsible for Gran Turismos 2 and 3 and the little-loved space-based shooter Omega Boost, and nothing more. We know for a fact that there is more to Polyphony than this – but not much more. Polyphony Digital, to give it its full name, came to the world’s attention with the original Gran Turismo in 1998. The racing sim for the PlayStation was born. Sure, there were plenty of arcade-style racers to choose from in 1998; Ridge Racer, Motorhead, Max Power Racing and many more, but none offered the rewards for successful racing that GT did. Credits were awarded on a sliding scale, and these credits could be used to purchase upgrades to your existing car, or to buy a second-hand motor, or maybe even buy a brand new one. Players couldn’t enter just any old race either; you had to have the right kind of car available to you to be able to compete in certain classes of race. And we haven’t even mentioned the licence tests…
Gran Turismo effectively launched a new genre – the real racing sim – and it pretty much guaranteed the talented types at Polyphony Digital deity-like status. Gran Turismo 2 followed in 2000, again for the PlayStation, and the series’ reputation was cemented. GT2 had more tracks, more cars, and two discs. Not just a simulation any more, GT2 included an Arcade mode this time around, just in case there were any doubters as to whether Polyphony could repeat the success. They did so, just by offering a lot more to the punter. Still no collision damage though…
With the arrival of the PS2, it was inevitable that a third instalment of Gran Turismo was on the cards. Improved visuals made GT3 A-Spec a worldwide hit, achieving Sony’s Platinum status in what seemed like no time at all. A couple of PS2 spin-offs duly appeared – the Japan-only 2001 Tokyo Collection and Gran Turismo Concept 2002: Tokyo-Geneva – showcasing prototypes and far out concept cars from the respective motor shows. And still no collision damage.
At the time of writing (summer 2003) we’ve had a thrash on Gran Turismo 4 at E3 in Los Angeles, and luxuriated in some lovely screenshots from the game. We know what’s coming next from Polyphony, and we reckon it might be the best yet.
Polyphony's first work that SPOnG is aware of is the 1998 title, "Gran Turismo" (PlayStation).
The company has been involved titles released on the PS4, PC, PS3, PS2, PSP and PlayStation. Of these, "Gran Turismo 5 Prologue" (PS3), "Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec" (PS2), "Gran Turismo" (PlayStation), "Gran Turismo" (PSP), "Gran Turismo 2" (PlayStation) has been a best selling title.
The company's most recent involvement was on the 2017 release "Gran Turismo Sport" (PS4).
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