But it doesn't have to be a 2D space any more. Another ﬁrst for E3 was GT5's 3D mode, running on £2000 worth of Sony 3D TV. Pop on the specs and GT5's HUD ﬂoats off the screen, with the track taking on a new-found depth. As you pass cars, there's a tangible sense of moving past a solid object in a real world, made all the more tantalising by the detail invested in the city tracks. The depth of ﬁeld isn't nearly as powerful as it is in Avatar, but it is startling. Whether this makes a £50 game '£2000 better' is another matter.
Finally, while Polyphony were enthusing about premium models, dynamic weather and voice chat in online games at E3, SCE president Shuhei Yoshida was dropping ModNation Racers-shaped bombs. Think a go-karting mode, purpose-built stunt tracks, a complete track editor and an online trading system. There's plenty of room for jokes at GT5's expense at this point, but a fully featured track editor in a sim racer is unprecedented and could justify every second of the long, long ﬁve-year wait.
If the Polyphony development team can combine the ease of ModNation Racers' track editor with Gran Turismo's physics and complexity, they'll be allowing every gamer to turn their own high streets and local tracks into GT circuits that can be ripped up by anyone in the world. In other words, it's the killer app (in addition to the stunning visuals and tech integration) that could set the standard for every other racer and put Gran Turismo back on the podium where it belongs. After all, it's meant to be the racer that leads while everyone else simply follows.
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