For all of Gran Turismo 7‘s shortcomings, there is one feature that would hugely improve some of the quickest cars in the game.
Image credit: Polyphony Digital
Have you ever participated in a Gr.1 race in a car like the Toyota TS050 or Porsche 919 and found yourself struggling for the pace you had right at the start? Well, there’s a reason for that. Before F1 adopted them in 2014, the World Endurance Championship, where these LMP1 cars competed, pioneered the implementation of hybrid systems.
Once a term that would lead to fans of fast cars shuddering due to its association with the likes of the Toyota Prius, hybrid power has since become a by-word for incredible performance and efficiency. These systems are common in road going hypercars now like the Porsche 918, which without its electric motors would only produce 600 horsepower but thanks to them, is capable of 875 horsepower.
These systems generate power wasted from braking to recharge the battery like KERS that was used in F1 between 2009 and 2013. Now they can be found on a lot of modern day sports prototype cars which are available on plenty of racing titles including Gran Turismo 7.
What’s The Problem?
Anyone who has done a long haul race with these cars on Gran Turismo 7 has most likely experienced this, but these Gr.1 hybrid cars use up their batteries way too quickly. In real life and on other games, it’s possible to flick between different modes of how quickly the battery depletes. In GT7 though, it’s just perpetually on the one depletion mode with no way to over-ride it.
As a result, those who load up a Gr.1 Prototype Series campaign race like the one around Road Atlanta and use the Toyota TS050, find their battery pretty much drained by the hairpin at the top of the track.
Plus, with how little opportunity there is to regenerate given how little is actually harvested under braking, for most of the race the car is running purely off of the ICE with no extra hybrid power. This leaves it mincemeat for the older prototypes from the 80s and 90s down the straights.
If you want to replenish the battery during the race, you have to go at 75% throttle or ride the brake and accelerate pedals simultaneously. All of this is rather counterproductive, as it’s, well, a race.
There are games where the player can toggle the hybrid system’s depletion modes, with the likes of iRacing and Assetto Corsa being some of the more complex examples. Gran Turismo though, can’t even hide behind its purpose as a more accessible console racing title because this is an area that even the Codemasters F1 games have been able to effectively manage.
A Good Example
Starting in F1 2018, players could change their deployment mode by scrolling through six options in order of least to most draining of the battery: None, Low, Medium, High, Overtake and Hotlap. It was a bit of a faff though, and a lot of casual players would often leave it on Auto so they wouldn’t have to quickly exercise their thumb to change the deployment mode.
When F1 2020 released, the system was heavily simplified and brought more in line with what was available to the real world F1 drivers. The player now has access to four modes: None, Medium, Hotlap and Overtake. Only None and Hotlap are available in qualifying, whilst in the race, they could only choose between Medium or Overtake.
With a setup so simple, what is preventing Gran Turismo from having something similar to this? Considering like the F1 games, GT7 also has a Multi-Function Display where the player can change traction control, fuel map, brake bias and even torque vectoring in rally cars.
How to Implement it
Our idea will be to have three modes immediately available in the MFD. There would be ‘Charge’. Most people can perhaps guess what that means; the battery wouldn’t be deploying any energy, harvesting and recharging instead. The next mode would be ‘Balanced’ which distributes the perfect amount of energy in relation to the track and would never run out. To ensure this, it may use less energy on average if the track doesn’t have a lot of heavy braking zones to regenerate.
The last of these three modes available would be ‘Attack’, which is perfect for one fast lap in qualifying or towards the end of the race after fitting some new tyres to go for fastest lap. This would calculate how to best use the remainder of the battery power available for the rest of the lap, so it doesn’t just run out before the end. Anybody who has done a full Hotlap ERS deployment qualifying lap on the Portimão circuit on the F1 games will know this feeling, as it just stops deploying on the incline driving to the line.
But it doesn’t stop there. Players who have driven cars with a power boost feature of any type on GT7 will know of the overtake power boost function.
In this case, the button that can be used to deploy the power boost could also be able in a race to deplete the battery at a faster rate than even Attack mode. Of course, this burst of power would result in the car deploying less when the player comes off the button, allowing it to preserve and rebuild its charge.
So, very much like on the F1 game then, right? Well there is one element with this concept where it differs from the F1 game. Earlier, we mentioned a secnario in which the battery stops deploying before the end of a lap in Hotlap mode around Portimão. That isn’t because the battery completely depletes, but rather because there’s only a set amount of energy from the ERS that can be used in a lap.
This wouldn’t be a factor in our idea for GT7, and the only point there would be no power from the battery would be when it’s used up. Which, if the player abuses the over-ride and leaves it in Attack mode, would be possible. But it wouldn’t be immensely difficult to get the hang of, so even the most casual player could use it effectively.
What is currently in the game just isn’t good enough, and no player can truly enjoy these hybrid vehicles. This fix could be the saving grace for those who don’t want to trundle around at eight tenths or painfully ride both pedals.
What feature would you like to see added to Gran Turismo 7? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!