The news that Sony was planning to turn its Gran Turismo series of racing games into a feature film was something that I was on board with. I'm a massive fan of the games and definitely partial to some high-octane car chases. What's not to love?
Unlike other games that have been turned into movies though, Gran Turismo doesn't have a narrative. At least not beyond earning licenses, winning races and buying increasingly nicer cars. So how are they going to make it into a film?
While the producers could have easily created a storyline and closely based it around some races, that's not the route they've taken. Instead, it is due to be based on a real-life player of the game. But perhaps the biggest twist is that it will be directed by Neill Blomkamp of District 9 and Elysium fame.
The storyline apparently follows a teenage player who eventually becomes a professional racer driver through the skills he learns from playing Gran Turismo. With Blomkamp at the helm though, this is unlikely to be a simple happy affair.
Learning to race through computer games is nothing new. The Nürburgring in Germany is a world renowned race track, used as a marker for many cars in testing. It's also open to the public, so for a small charge you can take your own vehcile around the track most days.
The Nurburgring's north ring (or Nordschleife) appears as a race-able track in most racing games, including Gran Turismo. On a visit there once, I spoke to some drivers who had learned the course through playing it on games like Gran Turismo. It allowed the drivers to have a better idea of what was coming up next and allowed them to complete their lap much faster than they would have normally.
Apparently the Gran Turismo player the film is based on won a series of Nissan competitions through the game, so I'm sure we'll see plenty of the Nissan GTR. Nissan actually created a version of the GTR for the launch of Gran Turismo Sport that was drivable with a PlayStation controller.
I'm sure Sony hopes the movie will inspire more teenagers to take up the game if they want a become a racing driver. I'm sure it will convince me to boot GT back up on my PlayStation, but I'm worried I'll just want to buy a Nissan GTR.