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Posted 4:00pm

Interview: Kazunori Yamauchi aims for the stars with Gran Turismo 6

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Today, Gran Turismo 6 takes to the track. In keeping with the series’ MO, Polyphony Digital has once again created an incredibly sophisticated and convincing racing simulation, which proudly wears the developer’s unconditional love for the automobile on its sleeve.

And alongside the huge roster of new cars available to take for a spin, and the 37 tracks waiting to be mastered, Polyphony has thrown in something of a surprise. For the first time ever in a Gran Turismo title, you have the opportunity to swap the racing circuits of planet Earth for the Moon, and pilot a lunar rover across its surface. Hands up if you saw that coming?

“We had been working for a while on simulating the stars properly in the game, and the moon was being recreated very accurately. While we were working on that, the idea just came out of the blue,” recalled Polyphony president and series creator Kazunori Yamauchi, when we caught up with him at the game’s launch in Ronda, Spain, earlier this week.

“We thought, ‘wouldn’t it be interesting if you could drive on the surface of the moon?’ So we did some research into the lunar rover and thought we should make it available in the game to drive.

“It was something we knew we could do with the technology that we had. It was really born out of curiosity. And if you remember in the opening movie, the opening music is Rachmaninoff and the theme of that piece is ‘the moon’. Things just connected one after another.

Considering the emphasis Polyphony places on realism and precision, transporting GT’s trademark action into zero-G was no small undertaking. The same eye for minute detail that the studio would apply to any earth-bound automobile would need to be applied to the lunar rover too.

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“Researching the geography of the moon’s surface and going back and looking at the actual routes that Apollo 15 took was actually a lot of work!” insisted Yamauchi-san.

“It was a difficult process but we did as accurately as we could possibly manage.”

GT’s lunar adventure isn’t the only space-age inclusion in Polyphony’s latest. One of the most exciting additions to the series formula in Gran Turismo 6 is the Vision GT project. The studio has teamed up with a number of leading car manufacturers, including Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, to create concept models offering a unique insight into the future of automotive design. These pioneering designs will duly be fully drivable in the game.

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“I think in terms of the beauty of the cars and the driving experience, the cars that are going to be released as part of the Vision GT concept, they pack amazing possibilities in terms of the enjoyment that people will experience.”

Back on the subject of the moon, while a huge amount of effort was put into making GT’s first extra-terrestrial outing both fun to play and a genuine simulation it’s, as Kazunori puts it, a “side dish” – “and the main course is just about to be served.”

And what a feast awaits when the game arrives on PlayStation 3 across Europe today.

“The objectives of Gran Turismo are very simple actually. We want people to enjoy the beauty of cars, we want people to enjoy driving, and we want people to enjoy the beauty of the environments. Those are things that have remained the same throughout the series, and it’s the same for GT6.”

Last image MB_AMG_VGT_2_1384901758

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I’ll never deny Kaz his little nuances but OMG, this “a lot of work” used to recreate the lunar stuff could have been spent on trivial things like, just off the top of my head:

More premium models of the included standard cars.
More interior cockpits.
Better optimisation, there are huge FPS drops in the game.
Working custom music.

Driving on the moon is nice and all but more attention should have been placed on the ‘main event’.

I won’t worry yet, as I know PD will get around to squashing the game bugs, just wish it was sooner.

The mercedes benz concept car looks especially cool driven on special stage 5. The back of the car is kind of *meh* but the lights of car make it truly stand out.

Instead of wasting time on pointless tracks like this moon one, why not use those resources to improve the range of cars you have in addition to reducing the crappy standard cars, with jagged PS2 quality edges. That’s ridiculous, GT has become such a quality over quantity series it’s unreal. Oh whilst you’re at it, improve the engine sounds in addition taking out the repugnant micro transactions you’ve implemented. 4theplayers my ass.

I meant quantity over quality*

woodypride 6 December, 2013 @ 4:41 pm   5

That’s an original addition !
But for the “realism“ you -maybe- forgot that we can’t hear any sounds in space because there’s no air, so we shouldn’t ear the sound of the rover. Maybe you could just add some music.

I’m extremely disappointed and unimpressed.
-Still many non detailed cars.
-Still many cars without an interior.
-Still dead empty public next to the roads.
-Lots of the same tracks and cars and still a full price game.
-Still known problems on old tracks not fixed.
-Still problems with AI.
-Shadows are a joke.
-And still no realistic damage module.
What the hack (except for visiting car shows and races) are these guys doing in all those years?
Lets hope Driveclub is the next GT.

I agree with Sami & Otto.

A lot of wasted resources for the lunar thing, that could be used on making the A.I better (realistic, not line driving), interior view on more cars etc etc.

Comming from Forza Horizon and Forza 4, im very underwhelmed by the sound of the engines.

On a positive note – the menu is updated and easier to navigate. I guess thats where im gonna hang out and hope some updates will come along the way.

jappsn2009 6 December, 2013 @ 7:11 pm   8

really loving this game, big improvement over gt5.

i love the massive number of cars, love the selection of tracks & the career so far has been a lot of fun to race through.

playing with a ffb logitech wheel its clear to see the handling/physics have been much improved. cars feel a lot better to drive than gt5 & you can really feel the improvements through the ffb. cars now have more road feel so it now all feels much more realistic.

car sounds are hit & miss, some sound pretty good while other sound terrible.

ai is better than gt5, they no longer simply hold the line & do react to where you are so your no longer barged off track while alongside an ai car. actually had some fun racing the ai unlike on gt5.

its pretty clear that much of the time has been put into the new tracks/cars & most importantly the new handling/physics & as far as i am concerned they should be the most important factor of any driving game & GT6′s improvements in that area are brilliant :)

Mougurijin 7 December, 2013 @ 4:25 pm   9

It seems like the microtransactions are almost invisible in the game, and as Fred said, the prices and ease of earning credits are both virtually the same as GT5. Other than the fact you might feel like you’re promoting the use of bad microtransaction features in future games, in this game the microtransaction feature is completely harmless.

I might have sounded a bit too negative in some of my previous posts. I still intended to go out and buy the game on release day, from the shops (getting the completely standard version with no annoying pre-order/anniversary bonus stuff at the start of the game).

Now I’ve bought and played the game, I’m very happy with the quality of the game.

The menus are much, much better; everything runs very slick and polished; the car lots are laid out and organised much better; it’s easier to be able to buy the cars you want, when you want – they’re a lot more available than before; there’s some fun new tracks; the licence mode is a lot less time consuming and boring.

I definitely encourage people to buy this game, and not hold too much of a grudge against the microtransasctions. :)

Mougurijin 7 December, 2013 @ 4:26 pm   10

It seems like the microtransactions are almost invisible in the game, and as Fred said, the car prices and ease of earning credits are both virtually the same as GT5. Other than the fact you might feel like you’re promoting the use of bad microtransaction features in future games, in this game the microtransaction feature is completely harmless.

I might have sounded a bit too negative in some of my previous posts. I still intended to go out and buy the game on release day, from the shops (getting the completely standard version with no annoying pre-order/anniversary bonus stuff at the start of the game).

Now I’ve bought and played the game, I’m very happy with the quality of the game.

The menus are much, much better; everything runs very slick and polished; the car lots are laid out and organised much better; it’s easier to be able to buy the cars you want, when you want – they’re a lot more available than before; there’s some fun new tracks; the licence mode is a lot less time consuming and boring.

I definitely encourage people to buy this game, and not hold too much of a grudge against the microtransasctions. :)

VectorPath 22 December, 2013 @ 1:36 pm   11

Hi,
I am very disappointed with gt6 the only cars I drive are the Ferrari F1, like everyone else I have been looking forward to gt6 being released with all the great stuff being promised, but I see not a single F1 car. As Grand Turismo is the only game I play and the F1 cars are the only cars I enjoy racing (online) I feel robbed. I paid 70 euro, I pre-ordered and was looking forward to the game but feel I will have to go back to GT5 or worse still buy F1 from Codemasters.
What is doubly annoying is on just about every car list shows the Ferrari F1 they are clearly listed time and again, so where are they?
I am a big Sony fan but I feel ripped off buying a game which is missing the only cars I want and drive, many of my friends have voiced the same sentiment and they also feel ripped off.
So to point out the obvious questions, where are the F1 cars? Are they coming to GT6? When will I be able to drive them? Should I just sell GT6 and buy a Codemaster game?
There is a large community of online F1 drivers who are not happy and feel we have been mis-sold GT6 and I am speaking for them as well as myself, we are angry.
Regards
VectorPath