A Chat with Kazunori Yamauchi, Creator of Gran Turismo

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With a November 2nd release date now on the horizon for Gran Turismo 5, our dashing European counterpart James Gallagher sat down with Polyphony Digital‘s Kazunori Yamauchi yesterday.

Take it away, James!

While the new Gran Turismo 5 trailer at the SCEA E3 press conference was still fresh in the mind, a select few journalists were invited to a behind closed doors presentation from the father of GT, Kazunori Yamauchi, at the Los Angeles Conference Centre.

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We were shown the Lounge feature, which gives every player a dedicated area to host their car collection and results, and the online lobbies where you and a group of friends can race, perform test laps, chat and watch other people driving. The floor then opened for questions with my favourite being when someone asked if Kazunori had visited every location used in the game.

“I have to be moved by something in one of my games so I have visited every location used in the game, either personally or for work” he replied.

When the room was clear he sat down with just me to answer a few more questions, starting with what he was trying to put across with the new trailer.

“I think first and foremost it’s the quality of the visuals and that cool style that Gran Turismo is known for. There was also a part showing some of work we have been doing with the Red Bull racing team. We wanted to show people that we are communicating with the real [racing] world on a lot of different things.”

I then asked how much community feedback had shaped the game’s development.

“The Gran Turismo community gives us a great deal of courage and we have already had a lot of positive feedback from them on our new trailer. That gives our staff the drive to keep getting better.

The playable build here at E3 is designed to show people as many of the game’s features as possible in a short space of time. It’s made so that you can see the tracks, the new physics and some of the new visual effects that we’ve been working hard on. The tracks include Rome, Madrid and the Top Gear Test Track, which many of our fans have been asking for.”

We then moved onto stereoscopic 3D, which Gran Turismo 5 will support, it was announced on Tuesday. I wanted to know at which point in the game’s development he had decided to include the feature.

“The 3D feature was almost complete two years ago, actually. We could see that it was in that natural flow of technology and where things were heading. Discussions with Sony regarding 3D technology began more than three years ago. More recently we have spoken with Evolution Studios, who have put a lot of work into stereoscopic 3D, about things like video formats.

Because Gran Turismo 5 is built to run at 60 frames per second it was easy for us to implement 3D. It’s quite difficult to convert a game that runs at 30 frames per second to 3D.”

There ended our short conversation and we parted ways. As always when I meet Kazunori, I left wondering which car he drove back to the hotel.

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