Polyphony Digital has been working on Gran Turismo 5 for nearly six years, and finally, the game’s November 2010 release date is just around the corner. When the lead designer, Kazunori Yamauchi, told press at E3 that, "We've actually reached a point where we can probably release [GT5] anytime, except that you can also keep working as long as you want to as well, it's just a matter of timing”, what he should have said was that they were trying to cram as much content into the game as possible. Three new features were announced at the recent Gamescom conference in Germany that illustrates the amount of features users can expect when they get behind the wheel.Track Editor There will be a track editor in the game, but it will not be as in depth as other level editors out there, some of which are considered relatively inaccessible due to an intimidating level of detail. Instead, GT5’s editor allows you to set a wide array of parameters which will be used to randomly generate a track. You can set things such as the time of day, location(s), number of turns, and can regenerate the resulting custom track ‘til it suits your needs. Tracks can also be saved locally and shared with friends over the ‘net.

B-Spec GT4’s B-Spec mode was a driver management sim that was acceptable at the time, but left lots of room for improvement. What began as an experiment dating back to an unreleased sequel to GT3: A-Spec, has finally matured into a fleshed out pit simulation. As the team manager, you nurture a team of a maximum six drivers and guide them to victory, race by race. There are gauges and indicators to monitor vehicle and driver wear and tear. The gameplay requires the player to coach the driver without being a backseat driver, and calling for pit stops in an efficient manner. If the car or driver is neglected or annoyed by your constant babying, you could end up with a moody driver and a run-down auto. It’s all about balance.

Kart Racing In order to corner nearly every aspect of auto racing, Polyphony Digital has integrated a Kart racing mode for GT5. Kart enthusiasts might not pick up the game for this racing mode alone, but it will provide an excellent distraction from the traditional racing formula. Kart racing was initially intended for Gran Turismo 6, but excitement got the best of Yamauchi and the team decided to include it GT5, rather than sit on it for another half-decade. Real-time surface deformation is one of the trademark features in GT5, emulating realistic body damage for a handful of the available vehicles, but I don’t expect that will translate to the karts, or, ESRB forbid, the racers themselves.

GT5 is shaping up to be an amazing game with more features than once could master in a lifetime. It will be a bargain at any price and should be in the running for game of the year. Expect a full review shortly after the game ships on November 2nd.