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Dubious rumor: Gran Turismo HD to ship without cars or tracks

Clearly, it's the most ridiculous thing you've ever heard of. In fact, the mere suggestion that a premier racing game would be released without vehicles or courses (arguably two of the most important elements in such a game) is so beyond what is defined as "ridiculous", things like tap dancing unicorns and flying kangaroos can actually gaze at said suggestion through a telescope. That reason alone is worth marking this story as a rumor, though it's certainly not the only one. If we're to believe the forum-posted translation of the latest interview in Famitsu, Kazunori Yamauchi has big plans in store for his beloved automotive franchise -- big plans composed of teeny tiny transactions.

Gran Turismo HD will supposedly see release in two versions. The first, entitled Gran Turismo HD: Premium, amounts to nothing more than a demo of, you guessed it, Gran Turismo 5. The 30 included cars and two undoubtedly exciting tracks are rendered in pristine PS3 glory and are meant to give you a solid idea of what Yamauchi and friends are putting together for a full release in 2008. Two more tracks and 30 extra cars can be purchased and downloaded for this version. If you prefer purchasing a full game instead of an extended prologue, perhaps Gran Turismo HD: Classic would be more your speed. Or perhaps not.

Though the Classic moniker may stem from the fact that you're getting a high resolution PS2 game, you may distinctly recall the original game actually giving you hundreds upon hundreds of cars for your $50. Not so with this version. Every car and every track may be purchased and downloaded from Sony's online network. The interview mentions a price of 50-100 yen per vehicle ($0.43 - $0.85) and 200 - 500 yen per track ($1.71 - $4.26). Being generous and sticking to the low end of the scale results in $408 spent if you want all 750 cars and all 50 tracks (roughly what you got in Gran Turismo 4). Moving up on the scale approaches values that surpass what you paid for the PS3 (newsflash: a lot) to begin with.

Is any of this true? 1UP's Luke Smith points to a more utopian quote (his version actually gives you one car!) by Sony's Phil Harrison that seems to match up with this story: "Imagine Gran Turismo shipping on a disc with one car and one track. And then you can browse, online, a dynamic circuit of vehicles that's growing every day because either the car manufacturers are adding new vehicles or we're adding new vehicles. And you can see a specific-type car that's being called up and say, 'I think I'll play with that one. Let me download and play it.'" Seems more likely that the quote created the story. Until Sony confirms (unlikely) or denies it later this week, consider this an entertaining vilification of the microtransaction and nothing more.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.