Polyphony Digital has responded to strong criticism from the Gran Turismo 7 community since last week’s downtime and controversial update by awarding all players 1 million free in-game credits.
In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Polyphony president and game director Kazunori Yamauchi also laid out plans for a robust series of updates, starting at the beginning of April, aimed at addressing issues with the game’s economy that are at the heart of player complaints. Changes will include doubling the payout for late-game races, adding new high-reward events to the game, and making it possible for players to sell cars in their collection.
Last week, Gran Turismo 7 servers remained offline for more than a day after the deployment of patch 1.07 broke, and necessitated an all-new patch, numbered 1.08, to fix it. GT7 has an always-online requirement that left most of the game unplayable during this time.
Yamauchi said the gift of credits to all players was a “goodwill gesture” to apologize not just for the downtime, but for players’ anger at the content of the patch, which nerfed credit rewards for certain races that players had been using to grind out cash in the game.
“I would like to apologize for the frustration and confusion caused last week with our patch updates which resulted in, not only a server outage but also adjustments to the in-game economy which were made without a clear explanation to our community,” Yamauchi said. “We know that this is not the Gran Turismo experience you expect.” In order to receive the one million credit gift, you must have bought a copy of GT7 prior to March 25, and you must log in to claim the gift before April 25.
The move to decrease race rewards was controversial because GT7 has a combination of relatively meager race rewards, extremely expensive in-game “Legend” cars, and microtransactions selling credit packs at a high price. Reducing the payouts of specifically those races players had found to be the most efficient way to grind credits in the game was seen as an attempt to push them toward spending money in the store.
Yamauchi said that the patch was simply an attempt to fix “inconsistent reward payouts,” but has now acknowledged the need to rebalance the game economy as a whole to make it faster and more fun to earn credits. “To re-establish the intended equilibrium and provide more accurate rewards based on time investment and completion, it was necessary to recalculate the rewards system as a whole,” he said.
In a first patch to be released in the beginning of April, rewards for events in the latter half of the World Circuits campaign will be, on average, doubled. Rewards will be increased for online racing and completion of Circuit Experience challenges. New high-reward, one-hour endurance races will be added to Missions, and the upper limit of non-paid credits players can hold in their wallets will be increased from 20 million to 100 million. Finally, to address frustration over the scarcity of some vehicles, more cars will be available to buy from the rotating lineups of the Used and Legend car dealerships at any one time.
Before the end of April, further patches will add new cars and course layouts and make further fixes.
Yamauchi also offered a view of what further “near-term” updates to Gran Turismo 7 will bring, including the much-requested ability to bolster your in-game income by selling cars from your garage. The World Circuit campaign will be extended with new events, 24-hour endurance races will come to Missions, and online time trials will be introduced that will reward players based on how close they can get to the top-ranked time.
“We want to thank you for your continued patience and valuable feedback as we grow and evolve GT7 to make it as enjoyable and rewarding for as many players as possible,” Yamauchi said. “We always want to keep communication lines open with our community so that we can work together to build the best racing experience possible.”
Indeed, the promised updates address most of players’ concerns, although there’s still a question mark over the eye-watering prices for credit packs on the PlayStation Store. As VGC has pointed out, it would cost $40 to purchase enough GT7 credits to buy a Porsche 919 Hybrid — a race car that can be bought as a one-off purchase for $2.99 in Gran Turismo Sport. Meanwhile, if you wanted to use real money to buy the 1970 Porsche 917 currently on sale in the Legend dealership for 18 million credits, it would set you back $180. These prices seem due a rebalancing, if not a return to the much fairer and more appealing direct cars-for-cash microtransactions of GT Sport.
For all the above reasons, Gran Turismo 7 has been review-bombed on Metacritic to the point that it is now Sony’s lowest-rated game ever by audience score. Hopefully Polyphony’s changes can fix its economy and begin to repair its reputation because, as I found at review, it’s a technically excellent and surprisingly soulful racing game that’s “all science and engineering on the outside, and all history and heart within.”