Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. This is it. Gran Turismo 5 will be available worldwide on November 24, 2010. Just to be absolutely clear, Sony themselves have officially announced the date. No more delays, no more broken promises. Gran Turismo 5 is really coming out this time, and we could all be playing it in less than two weeks.

So ends the unbelievably long, convoluted story of Gran Turismo 5’s journey to retail. The game famously missed its November 10 release date, which was originally announced at E3 2010. More recently, the Sony Style store listed GT5 as having a November 30 release date, which would have meant that the game would miss the crucial Black Friday shopping marathon. (For out non-American readers, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, and is widely reported as being the busiest shopping day of the year.)

Signs of the game’s imminent arrival have been popping up all over the place in the last few weeks. First, we received conformation that the game had gone gold. Shortly afterwards, the game’s intro video was leaked by a gamer who clearly had a retail copy at home. But much better then that shaky-cam off screen footage is Sony’s official launch trailer for Gran Turismo 5. Check it out.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qdky3V7dqw&feature=player_embedded

Okay, that is probably not quite what people were expecting, particularly given the many gorgeous trailers that have been released for the game, but still, it announces the date. At this point, that has got to be the most important thing.

Releasing on the 24th, which likely means many stores will begin selling the game at midnight events, not only makes Gran Turismo 5’s ocean of content available to gamers who’d like to jump in over the holiday weekend, but launches the game right into the frenzied heart of the holiday shopping season. Well done, Sony.

In a statement accompanying the release date announcement, Kazunori Yamauchi, President of Polyphony Digital, put the game’s development into perspective:

“Gran Turismo 5 is an ambitious project, with challenges and complexities which have made it our version of the Apollo Space Programme!”

Perhaps that is a little hyperbolic, but it’s easy to understand where Yamauchi is coming from, given the years of his life he has dedicated to the project.  He continues in a slightly more restrained fashion.

“When we created the original Gran Turismo back in 1997, we wanted to set a completely new precedent for the racing genre. With the technological leap onto PlayStation 3, our objective with GT5 was to create another great revolution which would not only satisfy our own high expectations, but would meet or even exceed the anticipation of the fans. Satisfying the loyal Gran Turismo followers is at the heart of all of our efforts, which is why it was such a difficult decision to delay the release of the game, and one which we did not take lightly. I can only apologise to everyone for making you wait so long, and I hope that when you try out the wealth of driving experiences available in Gran Turismo 5, you will not be disappointed.”

Strong words, but Gran Turismo 5 looks like it can back them up. The final game includes more than 1,000 cars and over 70 tracks, which should be more then enough to keep players busy for months. Of course, pre-ordering the game will net players even more cars, should 1,000 not be quite enough.

Ranters, now that you know the final, for sure, 100% real release date, do you plan to pick up the game? Are you surprised that Gran Turismo 5 is coming out so soon?

Gran Turismo 5 releases worldwide November 24, 2010, exclusively for the PlayStation 3.

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