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TGS 2009: Interview: Gran Turismo 5's Kazunori Yamauchi


During Tokyo Game Show last week we crashed Polyphony Digital's studio and chatted up Kazunori Yamauchi about ... Gran Turismo 6? Wait -- what? Just watch the interview.

Selected excerpts below:

Joystiq: Are there any plans to bring Gran Turismo PSP's "Party Mode" to GT5?

Yamauchi: I'm glad you noticed that. What we really worked hard to make the PSP portable fun and interesting is in those types of details. Obviously, these are ideas we worked hard on and they will be carried over in some form into GT5.

In Gran Turismo, with its ten years of history, the people that who good at playing the game are really, really good at playing the game. Of course, there are a lot of first-time players that want to get into the game, and it was a major theme for us to develop the game so it would be easier for them to get into it. With the party races and these game modes we've developed for the PSP, we've come to one solution for that aspect.

How long did it take to implement damage into
Gran Turismo 5?

It took two months to get to where we're at. So it wasn't a matter of difficulty. It was just when we initiated it.

Why implement it now?

One was a technical curiosity as a developer. And the other is that if it will make for clean races, it's a good thing.

How realistic will damage be?

To end with the race with a crash, we can do that now. But I don't think we'll ever have serious crashes, in which the cars are just torn apart into bits or just flattened into a few inches high. Things like that are something I just don't think we'll ever do.

Damage is just one -- just a small aspect of a race. It's nothing that really needs to be focused on.

Will damage affect gameplay?

The level of damage that is affecting the cars -- because the demo is so short, you might not be able to damage the car that much in such a short amount of time. But it''s not a difficult thing to apply the physics of damage to handling and suspension and all that.

The Cologne version actually already had that implemented. Because it had a five minute playtime, I think you're able to see more of the damage affecting the cars' driving then. But the TGS demo is maybe two and a half minutes long, so you might not be able to see it as prominently.

How interested are you in the PlayStation Motion Controller?

Motion controller has infinite possibilities and the level of completion of the actual device is going to be very high just from the start. I think it's going to be very important, but as for its importance in GT, I don't think it's going to have that much of a role in the series. As for the PlayStation Eye, we're probably going to try and use it in Gran Turismo, but we can't go into details of that yet.

What are your plans for Gran Turismo 5?

GT5 is a title that was pretty much remade from scratch, but because we did that, the next version is actually going to be faster -- the time period it's going to be released. But I think when GT5 comes out, we're still going to have things that are left undone, and whether we complete that in GT6, or the next version for PSP, I'm not sure yet. I've been working very hard for the last 15 years, and I think that hard work is just going to continue.

How about a game that really teaches players how to drive?

To make something that's not just about sports driving, but teaches you how to drive safely and teaches you how to drive in traffic -- that kind of educational software, I think, is something that's very important.

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