You've got to hand it to Sony, I don't know how, but they managed to do it. They've managed to keep their lips absolutely sealed in regards to a new Gran Turismo title. Gran Turismo 3 isn't even a year of age, but Sony is already giving it sequel treatment. Although, one thing needs to be said; realistically speaking, Gran Turismo: Concept is an expansion to GT3, and not a sequel. That having been said, I should elaborate on the term 'expansion.' Expansion packs are commonly used for PC games such as Rainbow Six, Age of Empires, Half-Life, Quake, and Command and Conquer. These packs install newly available features that co-exist with the game, in order to expand upon a certain game's replay value. Most frequently, expansion packs consist of new stages, weapons and characters. Gran Turismo: Concept is a lot like that. It's an expansion to Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec that will include 25 or so concept cars, and best of all it'll be priced at around $25 (3,200 YEN).
On the visual side of things, either my eyes are playing with my emotions or the graphics for GT:C have been improved. The car detail seems to feature even smoother detail. Now I could be wrong, but some slight vehicular visual adjustments seem to have been made. Although, I can comment on the fact that the stages in GT:C will feature some distinctive features, such as lovelier atmospheric detail, slightly widened roads, altered background placements (larger audience booths, re-arranged road signs, and etc). I'm sure you all know what kind of visual detail to expect from Gran Turismo: Concept, so I'll just save my fingers the trouble of going into any further detail.
Here's where Gran Turismo: Concept stands as an expansion. It will feature nothing but concept vehicles, some of which have been released, while others that can only be driven in your dreams! Amazingly gorgeous vehicles such as the Honda/Acura NSX-R, Honda Dualnote, Nissan R-34 Skyline GT-R M-Spec, Nissan GT-R Concept, and even the Nissan Skyline 3000GT! Even though the list of cars isn't in the triple digits, there are some fantastic vehicles to be driven in this game. Because it's only an expansion, if the game ever sees the light of day in the US, expect it to sell for a mere $20. The final product may consist of up to 25 cars and 5 tracks, including slightly re-modeled versions of Tokyo-R246, Midfield Raceway, Tahiti Maze, Swiss Alps, and a yet to be announced track. Whether or not GT3 is required to play GT:C has not been addressed yet. Based on what I've read so far, it's possible that GT: Concept can be played as a stand-alone title. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the game is that it features those little PoD cars. For those who have no idea what features these PoD vehicles have, here's a little breakdown. LED display lights are all over the front of the car. These lights change color, depending on the car's mood. YES! You read right, "the car's mood." If you crash the car, the display will turn red, if the car is motionless -or in stable condition- it'll be green, if the car has been running for too long, it'll turn blue, and so on. Hell, this car cries -literally!- when it has a blown out tire. It can interact with other PoD vehicles with the use of a communications chip that features a 2.5GHz transmitter. Whether or not these specific features will make it into GT:C is a question left to be answered by Sony. I believe the LED face display feature will be shown-off. Gran Turismo: Concept isn't exactly a deep game, as it features no simulation mode, but just a straightforward arcade mode, with a select amount of initial vehicles to choose from. The rest of the vehicles must be unlocked by winning. Sony's current list of vehicles suggests that the following are bound to hit the final version of the game:
Honda- Civic Type R
IHonda- Integra Type R
Mazda- RX-7 Type R Bathurst R
Mazda- Atenza 5HB
Nissan- R34 Skyline GT-R M-spec
Nissan- GT-R Concept
Nissan- Fairlady Z
Nissan- Skyline 3-GT
Nissan- Primera 20V
Subaru- Impreza WRX STi Prodrive Style
Mitsubishi- Lancer Evolution VII Rally Car Prototype
Toyota- Altezza Gita AS200
Toyota- Soarer 430SCV (a.k.a Lexus SC430)
Toyota- WiLL VS
Toyota- Rugged Sports Coupe (RSC)
Surprisingly enough, this list is followed by an "etc" on Sony's Japanese site, which leads me to believe we may be seeing a couple of more machines added to the final roster. I don't know about you folks, but when January 1st rolls around, I'll be importing myself a copy of Gran Turismo: Concept. Hopefully, Sony announces a US release sometime soon.