Posted 23 May

Gran Turismo 6: Kazunori Yamauchi and Jim Ryan on 15 years of GT

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As many of you will no doubt have noticed, last week we opened the garage doors on Gran Turismo 6 – the stunning next entry in Polyphony Digital’s legendary racing series, due later this year on PlayStation 3.

While the gathered media were getting their very first look at the game at our Silverstone event, PlayStation Blog sat down with its creator Polyphony CEO Kazunori Yamauchi and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe CEO Jim Ryan to look back on GT’s illustrious 15 year history, and look ahead to its exciting, genre-advancing future.

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Jim, what was your very first encounter with the Gran Turismo series?
Jim Ryan: I was actually a really big Motor Toon Grand Prix fan. I was over in Tokyo at whatever the development studio was called then and someone said “Come and see Kazunori’s new game.” I was used to a very fun cartoony racer and picked up this early version of GT and thought “ahh, it could be very good and technically impressive, and the graphics are lovely, but I’m not sure if this is a good idea. Motor Toon GP was such a great game!”

Clearly I was wrong and Kazunori was 100% right! I don’t think if he carried on with Motor Toon GP we’d be sat here celebrating 70 million units of Gran Turismo sold worldwide…

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What’s been the defining moment of the series for you?
JR: I remember when we launched PS2. We’re now 13 years away from that, 170 million units produced, greatest success story in history for a TV-based console. However, at the start of the life cycle it was very difficult in Europe. Price points were high and we found it very difficult to sell the system. But then along came GT3. It came in this lovely red packaging and we did a lot of hardware bundles. Sales of PS2 went through the sky and it never stopped. GT3 made a huge, huge impact on the life of PS2. For me, that was the best moment.

Why do you think it has continued to thrive over the years when other racing series have come and gone?
JR: The quality of the driving experience, in our opinion, is so much higher than what’s available on competing platforms. Whether it’s the driving experience or how the tracks are so faithfully recreated, in our opinion there’s nothing in the market that approaches it.

There is no substitution for absolute quality and obsessive attention to detail. If you do those things you have a far better chance of success. One of the great things about Yamauchi-san is he is completely unswerving in his dedication to making something that’s perfect.

Kazunori, you’ve been working on Gran Turismo for nearly 20 years now. Is it hard to stay focussed and maintain the energy you had when you were making the original?
Kazunori Yamauchi: The main thing that we try to do is to keep improving what’s in front of us. There’s a lot of hard work there, but that’s what we enjoy doing. There’s a lot of fun to be had. I think that if we continue that hard work, something great is going to come out at the end of it. Maybe I’m thinking about it too simply, but that’s the idea.

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What do you think the young Kazunori Yamuachi who was making the first Gran Turismo would think if you could show him GT6?
KY: I think he’d think that his dreams had come true! He would think that this is the kind of game that he wanted to play, and to make.

Improving what we’ve been doing has continued over the years. It’s not something that you can actually do all the time, even if you try. We’ve been really lucky that over the last 15 years we have in fact been able to do that, and that we’ve been able to do it with the same team. If you look at the wider game industry, there are not many places where they’ve kept the same team over the years working on the same title.

Why is Gran Turismo 6 debuting on PS3, rather than PS4?
JR: You had GT1 and GT2 on PS one, GT3 and GT4 on PS2, then there’s GT5 on PS3 and a space next to it. The difference between Gran Turismo and GT2 is unbelievable, but they’re both on the same platform. The difference between GT3 and GT4 is huge. We’re absolutely confident when GT6 comes, you’ll see a big step change up from GT5 too. There’s still a lot of potential on PS3 that a developer like Polyphony can really exploit.

And the other factor is that on PS3 we have an install base of 70 million units. On PS4 on launch day we’ll have an install base of zero units. There’ll be plenty of games to help drive PS4 – not least Driveclub in the racing genre from Evolution Studios, a studio with a fantastic pedigree.

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Graphical fidelity has reached the point where it can be hard to spot major differences from one iteration of a game series to the next. How hard is it to surprise gamers with a title like GT6?
KY: That’s very true. We’ve got to the point where the hardware has matured and it’s really difficult to tell graphically what’s new. Professionals can tell, but a casual game player probably couldn’t. As for GT, we always love new technology; we’re always going to pursue it and implement it, whether it be improving the PS3 version or working on a PS4 version. The key thing with GT6 is the blending of ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ – where something new and interesting will come to life from the merging of two totally different industries. The more you work on that, the more interesting it gets.

It’s not really a matter of lessening the difference between real and virtual. The interesting part of it is when the ‘real’ starts to effect the ‘virtual’, and vice versa. How these different worlds start to affect each other is what we try and work on in GT, and it’s what makes GT so interesting.

GT Academy is an example of that. It’s not really just about developing racing drivers. What’s happening there is that they’re kind of re-defining what a racing driver is. They’re really breaking new ground, and reinventing the system of how the racing world works.

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Around half of Gran Turismo’s lifetime sales tally has come from Europe. Why do you think it’s so popular here?
JR: I think the answer to that lies in the nature of the markets. The American market is much more of a core gamer market where there’s a greater preference amongst gamers for shooters and action adventure games like GTA, whereas the European market tends over time to go somewhat younger, and somewhat more casual in its nature. That sort of demographic really lends itself to a racing game like GT, which appeals to both sexes and across all ages.

Finally Jim, what’s your motor of choice when you boot up GT?
JR: I’ll play whatever comes up! Personally motorsport isn’t one of my great passions. I do enjoy the game a great deal, but real world motorsport… fast is not what I do. I drive slowly, and not very often!

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Comments

24 Comments 0 Author replies
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supersmith2500 23 May, 2013 @ 2:06 pm   1

Now if only there is a GT6 on PS4. I heard rumours about it.

 
hayzink 23 May, 2013 @ 2:22 pm   2

Never been a fan of racing sims(too hard for me lol)

Love how gt has always looked is there some kind of arcade mode built into the game that is it bit more forgiving with the handling ect?

 
MASPALOMAZ 23 May, 2013 @ 2:24 pm   3

If its not downloadable in PSN it does not exist !

 
MASPALOMAZ 23 May, 2013 @ 2:25 pm   4

Why need for speed games are so much more fun and you can download them in PSN, nice ! New Need for speed rivals coming :)

mh637099 23 May, 2013 @ 2:26 pm   5

@supersmith2500 GT6 has officially announced that it’s coming to PS3 :)

 
MaxDiehard 23 May, 2013 @ 2:36 pm   6

The only improvments this game needs is the crowds, buildings (Those photorealistic textures are so low-res) and better textures on Standard cars.

 
mondo-gamer 23 May, 2013 @ 3:33 pm   7

I’ve already pre-ordered GT6 and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.

For now I like to play a little more with my WRC 3,

BUT the Africa & Mini DLCs are not available on the Israel PSN Store.

I tried to contact the manufacture, Sony in Israel and everywhere else.

Please someone help me.

 
dark_angel69 23 May, 2013 @ 3:49 pm   8

The cars I have bought in GT5 + the tuning and stuff, would they be playable on GT6 or will have to buy them all over again?

 

I will NEVER forget the 1st time i played GT1 on the PS1 & using the DS1 pad:P it was AMAZING & i can’t wait to get GT6:P (i did say tho, that my next Driving game would be a next-gen driving game but i can’t resist getting another GT game) ;)
+ Why isn’t GT1 + 2 + 3 + 4 on the PSN Store yet? SONY’s biggest games not available to buy??? I don’t get that:(

 
MaxDiehard 23 May, 2013 @ 3:56 pm   10

@dark_angel69

If all your cars passed over, then the game would just become way too easy.

 

So it has all the tracks and cars in there from GT5. You added a few more cars and tracks and over the coming years you’re going to try to sell us even more tracks and cars (if it’s like GT5 we have almost nothing to look forward to). So I expect this game not to be full price but more around 25 euro.

solarwind12 23 May, 2013 @ 4:32 pm   12

Like above said, i played a GT game on my PS1, same day i got one actually, and it blew me away, am Not into sim games though, but wow, i have to rank the experience as amongst most memeroble gaming ones ever, i believed that we would be ‘inside the game’ by now though, 15 odd years later from playing that GT game, thats how realistic it was, to me, guess theres still a few years to go before we can ‘plug in’ to a game/console, but when the day comes, (it will) i’m sure there’ll be a GT ?.. ‘sim’ around to set The standards.

mh637099 23 May, 2013 @ 4:49 pm   13

GT6 will be released in November 2013 on PS3 according to GAME

http://www.game.co.uk/en/gran-turismo-6-226326?pageSize=20&searchTerm=gran%20turismo%206

 
dark_angel69 23 May, 2013 @ 6:37 pm   14

@MaxDiehard
True but would be getting them allover again anyway so will still be easy. Just more time consuming. I find it to be quite boring chasing after the same things. Like I already own a good lot of them cars so wouldn’t want to put in all that effort again just to get them again. Sure that was a lot of cars in GT5 and I don’t even have half of them. GT6 gets new cars meaning we need to put in more effort than we did with GT5.

DarthCynic 23 May, 2013 @ 8:10 pm   15

GT6!?

Awesome!

However, there appears to have been some very important questions missed. Questions such as how many of the mooted 1200 cars and track back-drops are going to be PS2 ports like most of the 1000 cars in GT5 were? Or will that be a fun secret to discover after purchase?

After the dismaying discovery will you give a few vanity cars – cars Kaz raced – and then charge for the rest, even though they should have been free considering your failure to signal that 800 cars were lazy PS2 ports?

Also, just how many of this 1200 bounty are Japanese and how many of that likely substantial number are trivially different variants of the same model? Can we get the number of Skylines to 500 for instance?

DarthCynic 23 May, 2013 @ 8:10 pm   16

Is GT6 designed with the PS3 in mind this time or will there be more excuses about how the system couldn’t keep up with the vision?

How many times do you envisage putting off a release date and how many years are projected to pass before Sony forces a release?

How long do you expect to be cleaning up the bug ridden beta version you do release whilst pretending you’re anything but obliged to do so?

We lost practice sessions, qualifying and saves during race leagues and endurance races for GT5, how many remaining useful features will we lose this time?

Further to that, how many new useless “features” like paint chips, car horns or helmets will we gain to replace actual driving and functionality?

A-spec was cut to ribbons from GT4 to GT5, can we finally say goodbye to that racing nonsense and make GT6 all about B-spec? Grinding AI drivers, what’s not to love?

Will far more attention than is reasonable be paid to ancillary stuff like GT Academy than oh I don’t know, the actual game people paid for?

DarthCynic 23 May, 2013 @ 8:11 pm   17

Is GT6 designed with the PS3 in mind this time or will there be more excuses about how the system couldn’t keep up with the vision?

How many times do you envisage putting off a release date and how many years are projected to pass before Sony forces a release?

How long do you expect to be cleaning up the bug ridden beta version you do release whilst pretending you’re anything but obliged to do so?

We lost practice sessions, qualifying and saves during race leagues and endurance races for GT5, how many remaining useful features will we lose this time?

Further to that, how many new useless “features” like paint chips, car horns or helmets will we gain to replace actual driving and functionality?

A-spec was cut to ribbons from GT4 to GT5, can we finally say goodbye to that racing nonsense and make GT6 all about B-spec? Grinding AI drivers, what’s not to love?

DarthCynic 23 May, 2013 @ 8:12 pm   18

Can Polyphony surpass themselves in clunky, beggars belief user-interface design, menu orienteering is just so much more fun than playing the game am I right?

Will the beloved licence system continue to be a lottery of the stupidly easy to achieve a gold first try, and the insanely difficult to scrape a bronze after multiple attempts?

Further to that, will we still be oh so correctly disqualified when another car rams us? I know I always felt completely satisfied by not being left unpunished for anothers mistakes.

In respect of fixing issues can we expect Polyphony to carry on fixating on solving obscure track breakout glitches for month after month rather than solving immediate glaring errors like a proper save function?

DarthCynic 23 May, 2013 @ 8:13 pm   19

Will Polyphony continue to enforce its parochial vision for how everyone should play the game? As in keeping saves out of race leagues in case some use it as, [gasp], a race reset device the blaggards!

Finally, will this installment of GT get to what we all really want? Us picking our favourite motors, our favourite track, sitting back and watching Kaz’s best lap runs?

I purchased and loved every GT from 1 to 4 and wanted to feel the same for the fifth. Unfortunately it was fundamentally flawed, an honest piece of rubbish I got rid of, and much of this failure is due to the creators slide into delusions of being some kind of artistic visionary.

I’ll not be again wasting my money on GT6 or any other until he’s out of the picture.

mh637099 24 May, 2013 @ 3:59 am   20

That’s a LOT of comments.

DarthCynic 24 May, 2013 @ 3:31 pm   21

@mh637099

It is at that, product of me having a lot of questions, the piffling 1250 char post limit and not helped by my accidental double-post of one lot.

mh637099 24 May, 2013 @ 4:08 pm   22

@DarthCynic Oh ok

Biftizmo 24 May, 2013 @ 7:12 pm   23

Yes the console war over hyped…somehow the ps4 alone was going to make the game better.not so..I always thought GT5 platform was brilliant from the off….but with 2 years out,a more refined version was needed…now we will get loads more content to keep us going for many years to come. You’ll see..and if you fancy a ps4 in the future we will still be playing our game on it……my next big question is….will we be able to play our GT5 friends when we have GT6 and will we still be able. To race our friends when they have ps4 and I still have PS3???? If so then GT5 was surly future proof and a brilliant creation no matter what the content will be.

 
Stonesthrow 24 May, 2013 @ 9:24 pm   24

@2 You can definitely make some changes to make it more casual. I’m not big on racers either so I expect to be a noob in that genre too. But GT5, or this one if you’re waiting, is definitely worth trying. You get new cars and can tune them so you’ve got a better chance against those crazy cars. And you can get the money for that by just grinding races. The more you play and earn money, the more you start noticing all the little details in how it feels and everything. I’ve played a few racers after GT5 but I can never help but compare to this in terms of graphical and technical quality, and this always seems to win. You can also make some changes in the options to make it easier on you. This is definitely a time investor.