At last year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Sony and Honda’s EV joint venture got a name: Afeela. CES has kicked off in Las Vegas once again, which means we’re due our annual update on the company’s progress. In addition to being treated to the latest edition of Afeela’s prototype electric sedan, on Monday night the company announced a collaboration with Polyphony Digital, the developers behind PlayStation’s Gran Turismo driving sim. That means, of course, that Afeela is headed for the realm of gaming, but it also means that Polyphony will contribute to the car’s development.
First things first: the Afeela Prototype 2024, as the car is currently known, will arrive in Gran Turismo 7 sometime in 2024. Beyond that, Sony Honda Mobility will share vehicle information with the game studio, and Polyphony’s simulation will be “combined” with the young automaker’s vehicle development efforts, per a press release.
That’s all extremely vague, of course, but the critical detail here is that Polyphony has contributed to car making before. Aside from the ongoing Vision Gran Turismo initiative, the earliest and most notable example of this is the studio’s work on the Nissan GT-R R35’s Multi-Function Display, a system that could relay and record a multitude of performance driving parameters, back in the mid 2000s. The software even resembled Gran Turismo 5 Prologue’s user interface, and naturally, GT5 Prologue was where the R35 debuted in a free update—even before Nissan was willing to show the supercar’s front end.
So, yes—Polyphony has some expertise here. And while it’s too early to tell how the two companies will collaborate outside of the Afeela vehicle’s appearance in GT7, it was only a matter of time before the people behind Sony’s car and the people behind Sony’s car games got to talking. As a result, we’ll be able to drag race a Tesla Model 3 Performance against Sony’s future competitor in a matter of months, at least in the virtual world. Sometimes, gaming’s a beautiful thing.
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