E3 Interview: Gran Turismo PSP

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The last time I met Kazunori Yamauchi was in Dubai, where GT Academy winner Lucas Ordóñez made the jump from virtual to real life racing. He told me then that he had always believed that a driver trained in Gran Turismo could drive as fast as a real racing driver, so when I interviewed him again last week at E3, I was interested to hear if the same applies to Gran Turismo PSP.

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Kazunori Yamauchi the father of Gran Turismo

“I think that GT PSP is an entry point into the series,” he said. “It can introduce people to Gran Turismo 5 where they can learn the skills needed to be a racing driver. It’s a similar flow to what you would see if you played the original Gran Turismo on PSone and worked your way up to GT5.”
Gran Turismo PSP was first announced at E3 in 2005, and Kazunori was happy to explain why there has been so long a wait.

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“We’ve talked to lots of journalists on this subject,” he told me, “and the truth is that we announced GT PSP too early. Since then we’ve released Gran Turismo 4,Tourist Trophy, HD Concept and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. We can only apologise for keeping people waiting.”
Having played GT PSP, I’m impressed by how Polyphony Digital has managed to condense the Gran Turismo experience onto a handheld without compromise; I asked whether any of the game’s modes had been designed with portable play in mind.
“The entire game is designed for a portable device,” he replied. “But to go into more detail, goals will be completed in 15 and 30 minute increments, so you won’t be endurance racing like in previous games.”
I then asked what the name of the song is in the trailer, after Silent_Gig enquired in a previous post; he said he couldn’t remember but emailed me shortly after, telling me that the song in question is Fist of God by MSTRKRFT.
Moving on, I wanted to know how he managed to maintain his enthusiasm for increasing the level of realism of the Gran Turismo series. He told me that the expectations of his fans kept him going, as well as the visions that he wanted to present to them.
Our short interview ended there, and after a gruelling day of interviews, the father of Gran Turismo headed back to his hotel, as I did to mine. I wonder what he was driving…

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