The GRID 2 Trophy Diaries: What Makes the Perfect Trophy List?
Written Friday, December 21, 2012 By Dan Webb
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Having been around trophies and achievements since their respective inception, and been so heavily invested in them for so long, I honestly get asked this question a lot:

“What makes the perfect achievement and trophy list?’

It’s a valid question, and something that we’ve been thinking about for years, but there isn’t a simple answer. Like I’ve said previously, there’s no genius mathematical equation behind it, there’s more of a science to it. Naturally, we think we’ve cracked it, or are there and thereabouts.

Before we get down to the nitty gritty with Codemasters to discuss the actual GRID 2 list, we felt that this was an important issue to touch upon. It’s slightly different to our 20 Dos and Don’ts of Creating an Achievement/Trophy List feature, but not so much that we’re disregarding what we said there. In fact, we’re going to apply those formulas into making a recipe of sorts.

An achievement and trophy list, first and foremost, should capture the spirit of the game. If your game doesn’t have a spirit, then start worrying now. You’re basically bottling up the game’s soul here and pouring it all over the game’s achievements and trophies. For instance, Half Life 2’s achievement/trophy list (in The Orange Box) had some interesting and humorous ones, but they reflected the game’s sense of choice, morality and rebellious nature in more than one or two ways – whether that’s breaking the mini-teleporter in Dr Klein’s lab, using the grav gun to make a basket in the yard with DOG’s ball or choosing to put the can in the trash can or slap it against the guard’s head. They’re three examples that sum the game up perfectly. The rest of the list contains nods to what have become franchise’s staples, like the crowbar, the airboat, the grav gun and so on. In GRID 2’s case, what we have here is a racer that’s all about speed, style and immersion, and that should come across somewhat in the list.

That’s a good starting point, but the most important thing and core aspect of an achievement and trophy list should be its balance. The whole single-player versus multiplayer; career progression vs. creative, off-the-beaten path rewards; and so on. Not just that though, rewarding the player with the right amount or correct value of trophy is just as important. If developers are having players spend 30 hours going after a 5G cheevo or a bronze trophy, they’re doing no-one any favours, especially themselves.

A key part of the balance should be length and difficulty of the list. The “How hard? How easy? And how long should it take?” aspects. Well, they're genre dependent for the most part. If you’re churning out a yearly title, don’t expect players to play it for 100 hours. If you’re an RPG that takes 150 hours to complete, having a list that takes 150 hours isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re a shooter with a single-player mode that takes players 5 hours to complete, don’t force them to grind for 20 there. There is though, in our opinion, a sweet spot for all of those. There needs to be some easy ones and there needs to be some really hard ones – ones that require a bit of practice and patience to unlock – but there should never be an achievement or trophy that causes the player to grind. The ones in between need to be spread out and encourage players to keep playing, keep improving and keep striving to become better players.

In terms of hours, I personally think for the most part that the 30 hour mark is spot on for most genres, whether it’s sports, action-adventure titles, racers, shooters, and so on. That obviously depends on skill too – there needs to be difficult rewards in there otherwise the sense of accomplishing something won’t shine through. I may be in the minority here, but 30 hours feels like a.) I’ve accomplished something; and b.) When I see others with the full allocation, I know they’ve applied themselves to reach that goal. And that’s all you want, right?

It should be relevant to how long your game is though. Maybe something like: if your single-player is 15-20 hours long and you want people to dabble online for 3-5 hours, then spend 5 more hours or so trying to improve and letting them try out all the important facets of the game, as well as retry certain achievements and trophies, then you shouldn’t be far off. So… single-player top end time + MP bottom end time + 25% of single-player top end time = perfect amount. Well, I don’t think we’re that far off with that, as a general formula. That said, if you’re a single-player only game, your MP isn’t the game’s focus or it’s been tacked on, then the formula should probably change to single-player completion time x 1.5 = perfect completion time. That includes time to do side-missions, collectibles, and whatever else too.

Understanding the objective of an achievement and trophy list is just as important though. The perfect list should lay a breadcrumb trail to encourage players to finish the majority of the game – if not all of it. In other words, the majority being the single-player, save for the odd occasion where the game is an MMO or MOBA – where the goal should be to encourage players to progress the narrative or its core element.

It should also encourage players to test out the other areas of the game, but should be there to steer players there, not to keep them there. If you’re a single-player game who’s attempted multiplayer, a la Assassin’s Creed, tempt players in, don’t bribe or force them to stay. If you have a map editor that’s in the vein of Halo or Far Cry, then use achievements and trophies to tempt people in to sample its brilliance. Co-op? Then encourage players to try it, but nothing more, unless you’re a game like Borderlands, but even then, be careful, as you don’t want to alienate the single-player audience from the off – chances are, they make up a good portion of your audience. The same could be said with multiplayer in general, actually. The last thing you want though is to change the face of your online by forcing players to play a certain way, there are other ways – a la Infinity Ward with Call of Duty, and Halo, for the most part – of keeping players entertained and progressing there, such as unlockables and the like.

There absolutely must be an element of creativity and originality in the list as well, no matter how restricting the genre. Thinking outside the box is a necessity, whether that’s in how players get the achievement or trophy, or in the name or the actual tile itself. It’s a common misconception that creativity is defined by what you do to get the achievement or trophy, and while that’s true for the most part, there are other ways to be creative. I don’t care what genre the game is, there’s always enough room in the gameplay for developers to be creative, whether that’s a sports game or a racing game. If it’s a sandbox game, there’s no excuse. None. If you’ve got a chance to be funny, humorous or intelligent too, then why not show off? We plan to. These elements are a necessity in creating the perfect list, because without them, the greatest you can aspire to is excellence, which while that might be good, it’s not “perfect”…or close to what is classed as “perfect.”

So after all that, what we have in the end is this:

For the perfect achievement or trophy list, take a dollop of the spirit of the game; mix in copious amounts of balance, including easy achievements and trophies, and hard achievements and trophies; sprinkle in career progression rewards; scatter a smidgen of breadcrumb rewards to entice players into all hefty elements of the game; stir in oodles of creativity and originality; and to finish it off, the cherry on top should be a healthy amount of humour and nods to other mediums. Don’t cook too long, because if it takes too long to cook, it sullies the rest of the dish – yes, cooks is a metaphor for how long the list takes to complete. We’re wordsmiths like that.

That’s our Christmas recipe right there, in essence, but any good developers out there reading this, this “perfect” achievement and trophy cake recipe is not just for Christmas, it’s for life.

As usual, let us know your thoughts on the above in the comments below. With what we’ve said above and in our 20 Dos and Don’ts of Creating an Achievement/Trophy List feature, do you think we have everything in place to design a stunning list? If not, where are we going wrong?

That’s the announcement and theory stage out of the way though, folks. The next stage, which starts in January, will have us actually researching other lists for inspiration, as well as meeting with Codemasters to talk balance, the usual creation process for the list and getting some advice from the GRID 2 development team as well. It’s going to be a blast, so keep your eyes locked right here.


User Comments
Forum Posts: 520
Comment #1 by The Cosmic Suff
Friday, December 21, 2012 @ 04:31:38 PM
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Theres no such thing as perfect trophy list because theres always gonna be bitches crying it's too easy and it's too hard. So just spit it out and it's gonna be fucking k guy.

Forum Posts: 520
Comment #2 by The Cosmic Suff
Friday, December 21, 2012 @ 04:33:10 PM
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Forum Posts: 782
Comment #3 by GAMERJET
Friday, December 21, 2012 @ 05:00:33 PM
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As long as they are NOT hard online trophies, I'm game!

Forum Posts: 175
Comment #4 by Akimitsu782
Friday, December 21, 2012 @ 05:37:51 PM
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I think Uncharted is one of the few games, barring the DLC trophies, to have pretty good trophy lists. They encourage you to try out all the guns, and although some may need grinding, they don't require 10+ hours of grinding. With 2 and 3, they each had a trophy for trying out the co-op and competitive modes. Also, they had the fun trophies like Marco Polo.

Forum Posts: 396
Comment #5 by Zallera
Friday, December 21, 2012 @ 06:10:13 PM
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worst online trophies are the "Hit Max multiplayer level" trophies especially when the multiplayer is crap or tacked on.

Forum Posts: 11758
Comment #6 by Vuule
Friday, December 21, 2012 @ 07:42:31 PM
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Hmm.. 30 hours seems alright, but it really depends on the game and genre. RPG's should probably take double the amount. Huge open word games with a lot of things to do should probably take 40-50 hours. (Take Far Cry 3 for example. Great open world, but the plat can be obtained in 20-25 hours. Time for co-op included! Pfft.)

Forum Posts: 1017
Comment #7 by nintendo64X
Friday, December 21, 2012 @ 09:50:57 PM
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Have faith, the guys of 360a/ps3t will do us justice.

I may get the game just to say I had the honour of trying, I know 100% this game ain't gonna be a terminator salvation, so don't expect something mind numbingly easy, expect something with an educated opinion :)

Forum Posts: 1102
Comment #8 by Banacheckfps
Friday, December 21, 2012 @ 10:00:12 PM
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rewarding the player with the right amount or correct value of trophy is just as important.

I would say this is a important part of a trophy list, there are alot of game out now that have mostly bronze trophies. And this makes the trophy system pointless, you just might as well just unlock a trophy with no value to it and get rid of the gold, silver & bronze trophy system. As there is not point for poeple to say finish a game on hard for a bronze trophy, when you just got a bronze for finishing it on easy. A good example of this is DOOM 3 HD trophies it makes the trophy system totally pointless.

Forum Posts: 163
Comment #9 by Peskens
Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 03:49:31 AM
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Hopefully a bit easey, but I think a 8/10, however.

Forum Posts: 969
Comment #10 by Prtmcluescrol
Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 05:48:19 AM
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Don't make the Online trophies take a while..

Make Skilled Singleplayer Trophies.

Forum Posts: 168
Comment #11 by EmptyFibers
Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 06:59:38 AM
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@ #1

He is the only one that is right... There is no perfection with atrophy list, personal preference negates that. Personally I hate grinding and trophies that require you to play a game 5 damn times, but folks like that. To much stock is being put on trophies, just give me a really GOOD GAME!!!!

Forum Posts: 37
Comment #12 by chavito
Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 07:40:13 AM
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@5 I second that.

Forum Posts: 60
Comment #13 by IronFist
Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 07:51:09 AM
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Make some trophies that are exclusive to this platform.

Forum Posts: 39
Comment #14 by RPD234
Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 08:12:29 AM
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My personal favorite lists are the ones that reward you for trying the various options but with a different objective for each, like for example one of my favorite achievement lists is the one for Blazblue Continuum shift extend, yes it has ''Abyssmal shopaholic'' one of the worst grinding achievements this side of Disgaea 4, (And thats coming from a fan of that game.) but it rewarded you for doing different things with each character like getting the perfect timing on all parts of Makoto's Particle flare super or chaining all of Tsubaki's special moves together in one combo, thats the kind of trophy im looking for ones that reward you for choosing each option but with different objectives for each.

Forum Posts: 358
Comment #15 by Ruzzi7
Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 11:04:27 AM
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99% of you cheap a**es probably consider a 1/10 difficulty trophy list as the perfect one.

Prove me wrong

Forum Posts: 12
Comment #16 by Fiefire
Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 12:42:10 PM
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My biggest issue with online trophies is that I usually don't buy the game when it launches. I usually buy them some minths later, but at that point, if the game wasn't a huge hit, the multiplayer will be prety empty. That was my problem with Crysis 2, GTA IV, Red Dead Redemption and a couple more

Forum Posts: 1558
Comment #17 by The H 305
Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 03:05:22 PM
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Batman Arkham City and Asylum, Heavy Rain and Midnight Club LA were all top-notch trophy lists imo

Forum Posts: 644
Comment #18 by Lyrikk
Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 03:47:36 PM
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I agree with a lot of what this article is trying to outline. Games like shooters, adventure (Uncharted for example), shorts, racing, etc should be like 30-40ish hours. RPG's or MMO-styled games should be something like 75 at the VERY least to 150 hours (thats just my opinion), and open world sandbox games should be 50-60 hours or so. I like the example of Far Cry 3 with this, there was so much more to do in that game after the platinum that it almost seemed like a crime to not actually finish the game regardless, considering it was such a good game, The trophies should have had a "Finish 100% of the game" kind of thing that was a Gold and then a bunch of Silvers for finishing all the Hunt, Wanted Dead, etc Missions.

Then yeah, the actual value of the trophy towards the what it is your doing for the trophy is important. Battlefield Bad Company... 10002 kills for a Silver? Cmon... That is a no brainer to have as a Gold. Then like someone else said Doom 3 HD is another example which it is.

The thing with Multiplayer (for me, imo) is that I actually do like playing the online of games to either just give it a shot or even have like 5-10 hours of fun if its actually a decent online. The way Assassin's Creed took it in Revelations and 3 was good, just get to Level 20, do a couple things, unlock something, done. The games that force us to get to the top rank like in Max Payne 3 is just annoying, Max Payne 3 was a pretty fun online but it felt forced (the Ranks I mean) and it made me wait till a Triple XP weekend which Rockstar is thankfully generous enough to do for us. Battlefield and Call of Duty shouldn't even have "get to top ranks" trophies EVEN THOUGH they are good and popular online for the sole fact that they don't need to... People will play them religiously as it is and that never fails these days. So just let the trophy hunters get their online stuff that takes 5 or so hours and let them move on.

But yeah, that is my 2 cents. Lol
Good Article.

Forum Posts: 85
Comment #19 by claas
Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 04:55:19 PM
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most people boost shit anyway so who cares

Forum Posts: 242
Comment #21 by fuzziezra
Saturday, December 22, 2012 @ 06:58:52 PM
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Why is #20 not banned yet.

Forum Posts: 1898
Comment #24 by weephilymcvey
Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 06:51:24 AM
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I think u should make it as close as possible to a 7/10. Also, I think 30hrs is too much for a racing game, mabye 25hrs is better?

Forum Posts: 165
Comment #25 by douggreen
Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 10:31:56 AM
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I love trophy lists where there are specific things to do in a certain mission, Operation Flashpoint DR being a prime example. There are lots of secondary objectives to watch out for. As much as this may get ripped to shreds by the COD haters, the COD games have pretty good trophy lists (other than zombie trophies)

Forum Posts: 2049
Comment #26 by Deftorn
Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 11:52:59 AM
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This is a good write-up. I think you have nailed a lot of the same thoughts I have with a trophy list. Well said.

Forum Posts: 10
Comment #27 by MOP1986
Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 03:09:43 PM
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Really looking forward to seeing which way you guys go with this, I'm sure you'll give us what we demand though :D

Forum Posts: 242
Comment #28 by CRD 100
Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 03:10:39 PM
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I like this article. I think a good trophy list should reward you for doing fun things. Like Resistance 3, there's a lot of fun trophies to do in tht game (like freeze 6 enemies then blast them or using an upgraded Rossmore shotgun to set a ton of enemies on fire and upgrading weapons). It has a really fun single player and trophies without online being forced (unlike Resistance 2, geez). I don't mind reaching max rank or weapon challenge trophies so long as the online keeps me interested. My side of the story. :) depends on the game and how the player interacts with it really.

Forum Posts: 36
Comment #29 by Terarded
Sunday, December 23, 2012 @ 08:15:25 PM
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online trophies are the worst trophies possible. i dont like online on any game but thats not the point, the point is that its hard to find enough people online to achieve them. if its simple ones like 'fight in an online match' than thats ok. but ones that actually require you to do anything that would be even remotely hard are almost to impossible to get. for example: skate 3 has a trophy called 'talkin bout team practice' and it was the last trophy i needed for platinum and it took me 3 weeks to get it and i only managed that through pure luck. it required you to get 6 people onto a team, and in the same match. with how many people were online it was rather hard to even get 2 people in that.

the second type of trophies that ruin a trophy list are the ones that require you to complete the entire game on each separate difficulty. i refuse to do them because i like to go swiftly through a game and capture every element of the story, i hate being stuck in certain parts just because the difficulty is to hard. im on my fifth broken controller all from trying to attempt those sort of trophies now i dont bother, and i have 6 different games all one hard playthrough away from platinum that i simply refuse to do.

for me the perfect trophy list is one that requires you to play all elements of a game. it doesnt ask extraordinary things of you, but doesnt require anything too easy aswell. some examples of this are: fallout (both of them), borderlands, ff13-2, heavy rain, infamous 1&2 and sleeping dogs.
if a game has trophies like the ones above it doesnt matter how many hours it takes to platinum because every trophy shows a new part of the game making it fun.

Forum Posts: 242
Comment #30 by CRD 100
Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 02:46:46 AM
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@29 I meant like if the online were active enough and online requires no boosting but rather just playing ;) and perhaps mp like R2 co op. Find a room you like and play as long as you want. Those are great and makes it easier to find a game even if online were dying. But you made good points though.

Forum Posts: 61
Comment #31 by Bill
Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 05:20:34 AM
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IMO- All in all , #29 has it wrapped up. Certain trophies are ASS to attain for the plat (TK's favourite, DR2;LP2 come to mind). Sometimes a little less grind can make the multiplayer more appealing.

ALSO...lets not forget that sometimes the multiplayer is nice/tolerable & SERVERS ARE THE BLAME. Companies put patches but never replace/upgrade the servers more than software. To what I understand, rarely if ever hardware.

Someone correct me if I am incorrect plz

Forum Posts: 1723
Comment #32 by SandeProElite
Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 06:02:24 AM
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Online trophies are fine by me as long as they're fun to unlock and don't require you to boost or depend on other people.

Forum Posts: 779
Comment #33 by DocDoomII
Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 10:24:20 AM
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The only perfect trophy list is the one WITHOUT online trophies.
The will close some day and the community won't last forever even if the servers stay open. So you can say goodbye to the platinum.

Online trophies can be added at a later time with DLCs, but they should never be needed for the platinum. Unless the game is focused on the multiplayer.

Forum Posts: 198
Comment #34 by Butch
Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 12:41:09 PM
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I'm looking forward to the results. Make sure not to put any ranking Trophies like the ones from Killzone 2 for example.

Forum Posts: 644
Comment #35 by Lyrikk
Monday, December 24, 2012 @ 06:54:21 PM
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I agree with some of the people about some Online trophies that seem impossible without some luck, cause those just simply aren't "fun". They can claim a symbolic meaning towards having them, but lots of Nerd Rage and possible a controller is the price for it lol.

Someone mentioned Lost Planet 2 (LP2) a couple comments up and that actually brings to me to point that the Article didn't really mention about what SHOULD NOT be in a trophy list. That trophy where it requires you to be on the top of any Leaderboard in LP2 is not only ridiculously hard but completely unfair because there will ALWAYS be die-hard people who will own the top of the leaderboards and hackers that will ruin it for everyone. The fact that Capcom never took that into consideration and then on top of it never cared afterwards to reset the Leaderboards at the very least is aggrovating. Especially cause I really want to platinum that game, even though its a 250 hour platinum, I love Lost Planet, but I can't because the Leaderboards are pretty much impossible to ace at this point. I still believe that Capcom should either put those Noms De Guerre's in that list that "Doesn't count towards trophies", reset the leaderboards every once in awhile, or just eliminate that NDG all together (the Top 10 one as well...). Even if LP3 is coming out, shouldn't matter.

But anyways lol. I feel that no company should ever repeat that bullshit that Capcom caused with that game in regards to the Platinum. Fairness is important in the "Perfect Trophy List" as well...

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #39 by buyme43
Friday, December 28, 2012 @ 09:45:09 PM
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input this URL:

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you can find many cheap and high stuff

Believe you will love it.


Forum Posts: 256
Comment #40 by Mjuventino
Saturday, December 29, 2012 @ 03:17:49 AM
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1 - NO Play through the game multiple times till we hate it even if its good

2 - NO pointless grind for dozens of hours doing the same thing

3 - NO time trials useless crazy runs through stages

4 - NO Luck based challenges or actions

5 - NO Stupid walk 10 thousand miles or ride a thing for 2 days

6 - NO need to wait for other players to join a certain mode for hours

7 - NO win all modes X times

8 - NO broken servers that dont register wins and get disconnected

Forum Posts: 828
Comment #41 by P3hmo6
Saturday, December 29, 2012 @ 09:51:28 AM
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@40 I agree with everything

Forum Posts: 0
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Forum Posts: 11
Comment #43 by DrakonXanous
Wednesday, January 02, 2013 @ 01:44:08 PM
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I have been waiting so long for them to come out with the second game. I loved the first GRID game and all the Dirt games. I hope they keep making great games. Maybe we will see them develop a Gran Turismo rival game.

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Game Info


US May 28, 2013
Europe May 31, 2013
Japan July 25, 2013

Resolution: 480p, 720p
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Players: 1-2
Online Players : 2-12
ESRB: Everyone
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