Right from the very first Gran Turismo, Polyphony’s user interface (UI) has always strived to present something a little bit different, with striking graphics on the selection screens and that lounge musak plinking along in the background. Back at the Tokyo Game Show Sony showed off the final version of Gran Turismo 5’s UI and to be honest, I’m of the opinion that it’s not quite as refined as previous games.
First up is the My Home screen, which is what you’ll see when you jump into the main Gran Turismo mode (as opposed to say, Arcade mode). You’ll see the overhead map of the various sections has been replaced by a considerably more modern approach but one that lacks a little something. Sure, it’s crisp, clean and stylish but at first glance I wouldn’t even know where to start. I do like the menu strip on the left, though, it’s lovely.
The ‘Car Delivery’ icon is really nice, very iPhone with the little red badge on top, but overall the ‘GT Life’ tab might take some getting used to. Moving on is the Community tab, which at first glance looks like Twitter (no bad thing) but look towards the middle of the screen and you’ll see some interesting icons: Mail and Gift in particular sound intriguing and hopefully will allow us to send each other cars in-game.
It’s telling, also, that you’re only allowed 140 characters in each message – I’m sure I’ve seen that before but perhaps this is just leaving the door open to full Twitter integration? I’m all for convergence in games anyway, so anything that keeps me snuggly within the soft, gentle walls of Gran Turismo is alright by me. I even like the clock at the top, and the A Spec and B Spec progress bars.
I’m wondering, also, whether your GT Friends will match up with your normal PSN Friends. We’ve found out over the last couple of days that Gran Turismo 5 will offer worldwide races, not just locked to your own country, so let’s hope that the game takes full advantage of that and allows you to interact with your ‘normal’ Friends list.
The last screen we have is the Special Events screen. Each special event looks like it offers multiple levels of difficulty (judging by the LV notification under each text box) and it’s nice to see that the likes of the Stig Challenge are somewhat seperate from the main GT mode so they won’t get in the way. Most of them look authentic (and sponsored?) but I’m wondering where the main strip to the left has gone.
All in all I’m happy to reserve judgement on the UI until we get our hands on the full thing and see it in action. None of the recent trade demos have offered anything other than the basic bare bones Arcade and Time Trials so (as far as I know) the full GT Life section hasn’t been aired in public yet – I’m confident Polyphony will have nailed it, though, even if I’m not 100% happy with the look and feel.
What do you guys think?