Sony announced a March release for Gran Turismo 5 at Tokyo Game Show last week, a release window that was specifically targeted for the Japanese market. However, don't expect a surprise 2009 release (sorry Amazon!). "I don't think it's going to be that different for US and Europe," Polyphony Digital head Kazunori Yamauchi told journalists at a GT5 event last week. "Marketing is still discussing their issues," which is the reason why a specific date hasn't been pegged yet for those markets.
Yamauchi then went on to list a befuddling list of features that should ship on the disc next year. GT Mode will return with all the features of classic GT games, like the garage, the car dealer, the tuning shop, and license tests. However, more exciting are the new features, such as a brand-new physics model that includes damage and deformation for all "normal" cars. Hybrid and electric cars are going to be added to the livery, too, with over 950 cars available on the disc. There will also be over 70 variations of over 20 locations to race through.
The online features have been expanded to include both text and voice chat, with support for lobbies and private rooms. There will be online photo albums and online replay albums as well; with the ability to export replays to YouTube. Gran Turismo TV, the video service introduced in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue will also be expanded with a brand new UI, progressive downloading (so you can watch the video content while it downloads), and the ability to export these videos to PSP. While this may seem like the kitchen sink of features, Yamauchi teased, "we have much more planned."
Considering it's been five years since the release of Gran Turismo 4 on PS2, fans of the franchise are expecting only the best, if not more.