A solid six percent of Americans think they can out-punch a Grizzly bear, another one in eight men think they can beat 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams at tennis. On February 21st, this proud internet tradition of being very loud and very wrong about your physical prowess continues! On Tuesday, gamers around the world will get their shot at racing Sony AI’s GT Sophy — the one that’s already wiping the floor with folks who get paid to play this game professionally — when it arrives in the rev1.29 update for Gran Turismo 7 on the Playstation 5.
GT7 players will be able to access a special “Gran Turismo Sophy Race Together” mode from February 21st at 1am ET, when the update arrives. Players will face off against four separate GT Sophy AI opponents, all of whom’s vehicles are specced slightly differently so you’re not going up against a quartet of clones, in a four-circuit series striated by difficulty (beginner-intermediate-expert).
“The difference [between racers] is that, it's essentially the power you have versus the other cars on the track,” Sony AI's COO, Michael Spranger, told Engadget. “You have different levels of performance. In the beginning level, you have a much more powerful vehicle — still within the same class, but you're much faster [than your competition].” That performance gap continues to shrink as you move up in difficulty until you reach the one v one against GT Sophy in identically specced vehicles.
The Sophy you race here is the exact same Sophy that’s been winning against the pros, Peter Wurman, Director of Sony AI, explained. The AI has not been hobbled or dumbed down in any way ahead of this release. “The power the player has is a car advantage, which allows them to be competitive, but otherwise, GT Sophy is the same. Really good driver, just all across the board.”
This is a limited-time event. The GT Sophy races will only be available until the end of March. The Sony AI team is time-limiting this initial release on account of a few technical reasons but, “mostly this is a new game design and we want to try it out, get feedback, and then take what we learned and iterate on that,” Wurman explained. The team can’t share any specifics about where the program goes from here
“We believe this technology has a huge potential to really elevate player experience across different game types, different experiences,” Wurman continued. He notes that agent AIs like GT Sophy can accomplish a lot in terms of interacting with players but also sees related AI systems playing an expanded role as well. The “technology is really crucial for the content creation itself,” he said. “They're going to these race tracks, doing detailed capturing in order to create the environment and, speaking generally, you can imagine AI has a really big potential to help with many of those processes.”
If you’re thinking about grabbing a copy of the game ahead of tomorrow’s release, you’ll want to get some laps in before the update arrives. Only players who’ve reached Collector Level 6 will be qualified to race against the AI.