(FYI – All the photos featured here were taken in-game by yours truly)
When I unwrapped my shinny new copy of Gran Turismo Sport on a typically melancholy English Christmas morning, there were many things I was expecting to do upon climbing in the driving seat: Channel my inner Jeremy Clarkson as I embraced the primal thrill of speeding round an exotic race track at ten times the speed of sound; duke it out with fellow petrol-heads in the fiery gauntlet that is online racing; acquire a garage so full of exotic and luxurious cars that it would make even a Middle East oil baron sweat. What I didn’t expect was spending ninety percent of my time with the game huddled in a dark room as I developed the hundreds, no thousands of painstakingly crafted photographs I had taken in the game’s photo mode.
GT Sport’s photo mode – titled Scapes to fit in with the sleek, modern tone of the game – is undoubtedly one of the most in-depth renditions of the wildly popular extracurricular activity I’ve ever seen in a videogame. Honestly, the level of customisation and detail available at your fingertips is, quite frankly, simply astounding. While the majority of other photo modes function simply as freeze-frame capture software sprinkled with a few bespoke editing flourishes, GT Sport’s Scapes is more akin to a fully-fledged interpretation of Adobe’s Lightroom. The number of options available to you is truly mind-boggling. From lens distortion to brightness and individual colour correction to the addition of variable film grain and motion blur, the sheer number of editorial embellishments and corrections you can make is staggering.
Rather than take in-game screens, GT Sport instead gives players a plethora of landscapes from across the world from which they can choose from as the basis for their shot. Each landscape is a real, high-quality 4K photo taken by a professional photographer. Players can choose anywhere from the autumnal forests of Japan and the roaring streets of New York to the vast deserts of Nevada and the misty slopes of the Alps. Upon deciding upon your setting, you may then place any car within your garage into your shot, whereby the game will dynamically light the selected car in correspondence to the lighting conditions within the landscape itself. It’s truly staggering to behold, and the result is a photo mode that looks, well, photorealistic. In fact, you’d be hard pressed in many instances to tell whether or not your photos were taken in a videogame or in real life, and I have yet to see an equivalent that can hold a candle to it.
Now, I’ll admit that I have never embraced the taking of in-game screenshots. While I have, from time to time, indulged is the art, usually upon seeing a breath-taking landscape that is all but impossible to ignore, I have never truly taken to it the way others have.
All this has changed since I started “playing” GT Sport. While I love engaging in online duels and collecting a impressive roster of automotive chariots to parade around in, most of my time with the game has been spend meticulously crafting the perfect automotive snapshot. I’ve never once taken a lesson in photography, yet with GT Sport’s guiding hand I now feel like a seasoned pro, capturing my burning passion for the automotive world with my digital lens, and I have no doubt that my new-found obsession will carry through to future games.
What makes my experience with Scapes all the more enthralling is the amazing community that has sprung up over the last couple of months. GT Sport’s seamless sharing options has helped stimulate a thriving community of passion automotive photographers, many of whom like me, were complete novices before purchasing the game. Taking cues from popular social media sites, GT Sport allows players to like, share, follow, and comment on people’s photos, something the community have really taken to heart.
I cannot wait to spend even more time perfecting my craft in GT Sport’s Scapes. It has done more than rewrite the rulebook… it has torn it up and burnt the ashes to smithereens. I have been slow to embrace the photo-sharing culture that has erupted this generation, but if games follow the shining example set by GT Sport, I can see myself meticulously scouring the length and breadth of each and every videogame I encounter in the future. Now, let me just correct the colour saturation of that Ferrari just one last time…