Work on controversial PlayStation 3 title Gran Turismo HD has been stopped, according to an announcement on the Japanese website of developer Polyphony Digital, with the content so far produced to be given away as a free download in Japan.
The game, demonstrated at long length at Sony's pre-E3 2006 media briefing, courted controversy after reports suggested that the game would not ship with any cars or tracks, but that each one would have to be bought separately via microtransactions.
The game itself was a high resolution port of Gran Turismo 4 for the PlayStation 2 (referred to as Gran Turismo HD: Classic), combined with a playable demo of work-in-progress for Gran Turismo 5 on the PlayStation 3 (referred to as Gran Turismo HD: Premium) - which was to have included cars and tracks as standard.
The package was due to be released this year in Japan, but the online message from designer Kazunori Yamauchi indicates that instead the Gran Turismo HD: Classic element of the game will be made available free for download, for a limited time, from December 24. The offer has not been announced for any region other than Japan. The game will include ten cars and one track, with no mention of additional microtransaction content.
Although Yamauchi indicated that further Concept special editions of the game may be released in the interim, all current work is now being refocused on Gran Turismo 5, with a tentative release date of 2008. No mention was made of the much delayed PSP title Gran Turismo 4: Mobile.