At the “15 Years of Gran Turismo” event which saw the announcement of Gran Turismo 6, GTPlanet joined a small group of other U.S. journalists to be among the first to ask Kazunori Yamauchi questions about Polyphony Digital’s new game.
We covered how GT6 will deal with the “Standard”/”Premium” car issue, the future of the Gran Turismo series on PlayStation 4, and a lot more.
Not all of the questions are my own, but what follows is a complete transcript of the interview session.
Can you explain the game’s new lighting engine in more detail?
It basically means the energy expressed in each one of the pixels is going to be represented more accurately. When the focus on the camera is on a certain item, the blurring and brightness of the area around it and how lights affect the environment will be rendered with more accuracy.
Is there going to be more car customization options? Are you going to be able to swap the engine or put decals on the car?
Both are technically possible, and we might be preparing it (laughs).
Will there be “Standard Cars” in GT6?
We won’t be making all the Standard cars from GT5 into Premium models, and we won’t make all of the GT5′s Standard cars fully “Premiumized”.
Up until now, we used to categorize them as Standard and Premium because there were functional differences between them: some of the Standard models might not have tuning parts, or couldn’t be used in Photo Mode. That will all be cleared so every model can be used in Photo Mode, and every car can have parts fitted for it.
In terms of graphics quality, the bad quality Standard models we’ve updated so they look better.
Will all of the cars have interior views?
(Editor’s note: This apparently does not apply to all of the cars which were listed as “Standard” in GT5. For example, two cars which were prominently featured in the GT6 trailer and its first official batch of screenshots, the Lamborghini Countach LP400 and Alpine A110 1600S, both appeared as Standard cars in GT5 but have apparently been converted to “full” Premium models – with interiors – in GT6.)
While improving the physics model, how do you keep the game accessible to a wide range of players?
I’ve mentioned some of this before but we are improving a lot of the driver assist functions for GT6.
The other thing is that it’s sort of wrong to assume that making it more real will make it more difficult to drive. Everyone here, I am sure you all drive; it’s not that difficult – but people who can drive cars straight suddenly can’t drive in a video game! That’s because the reality isn’t really all there.
Now that we know GT6 is a PlayStation 3 game, can you explain to fans why that is? Do you have any plans for PS4?
We do have plans for PS4, but, of course, we have an order of things.
First we’ll be releasing the PS3 version for the PS3, which has a huge audience already, and we’ll be providing updates every month and DLCs every month.
Once players have played it all out and enjoyed themselves on the PS3, then the PS4 version might come out naturally around that time (laughs). Focus on enjoying the PS3 version.
What’s the reason for the dramatically shorter development time frame for GT6, compared to GT5?
GT5 was really hard to develop, because the PS3 is a really complex piece of hardware, and it was the first time we built anything with an extensive online component.
What was the most complicated thing about developing the first game, and what was the most complicated thing about developing GT6?
It’s hard to look back to GT1 now!
I think the hardest part of GT1 was to make something out of nothing, and to shape it and figure out exactly what a Gran Turismo game was going to be.
The main difference between GT1 and GT6 is the scale of the game, it’s about 100 times bigger in scale. Initially we had 15 people working on the game and now we have 150 working on the game. But i think the one thing that hasn’t changed is that everyone working on it really enjoys the hard work.
Are there other plans to bring the game’s GPS functionality to more real-world cars?
I can’t really talk about it today, but aside from just GPS, we have a lot of different things planned with different manufacturers. I can say you will see a lot of interesting things come up in the months ahead.
What’s the hardest element to re-create in the game: tire dynamics, suspension behavior, or aerodynamics?
That’s actually the three things that are really mystical about creating the physics in a car racing game. Actually the damper characteristics are one of the most difficult to re-create.
What is it like working with different manufacturers to get their cars in the game?
It’s been twenty years since we started developing the first GT, and it’s been 15 since the release of the first game.
We have a 20 year relationship with car manufacturers all over the world, and I think a lot of people who were involved with the first game in the series are still working at those companies today. Our relationships have become closer and closer, and that has given us a lot more access to the information and access to the automotive world.
Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. today announced Gran Turismo®6 (GT6™), the latest version of PlayStation®’s best-selling franchise, will be released in Holiday, 2013. The news was revealed today by legendary Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi at an event held to celebrate 15 years of the 70-million-selling series.
GT6 for PlayStation®3 will bring new levels of authenticity to ‘the Real Driving Simulator’ as well as introducing stunning new tracks and cars and a revised user interface. A new compact game engine will improve operation and increase the flexibility to expand it with downloadable content. Meanwhile, the game is also set for expanded connectivity with other devices such as smart phones and tablets and increased social and community functions.
All of the cars and tracks from Gran Turismo®5, which has sold over 10 million copies since launching in 2010, will be retained in GT6. But notable new additions to the already impressive line-up of historic cars, road cars and the latest race cars, brings the total car list to 1,200 at launch, with new cars set to be continually added online. Several thousand aerodynamic parts and custom wheels will be available for almost all cars, and players can personalize their own custom cars in game to the greatest ever level possible.
The UK’s famous Silverstone Circuit will be just one of seven new locations in Gran Turismo 6, taking the total to 33, with 71 different layouts available, 19 of them brand new. There will also be regular additions of new tracks set to be made available online. The improved course maker function will provide gorgeous scenery spanning several tens of square kilometers including the magnificent backdrop of Andalucía.
The theme of Gran Turismo’s innovative collaborations with partner companies will increase with the inception of GT6. A number of exciting new projects that blur the line between the virtual and real will be announced in the run up to the game’s launch. Not least of these is GT Academy, a collaboration with Nissan to unearth real racing driver talent that first ran in 2008. It was announced during the event that the competition returns for its biggest ever year in 2013, with the entry mechanic set to take place on an exclusive GT6 demo in July.
Other notable partnerships in the development of GT6 have been with tire manufacturer Yokohama Rubber and suspension company KW Automotive. Both companies are active in the commercial car industry and in racing, and they have acted as technical development partners for the game’s new physics engine, for its tire and suspension kinematic modeling, creating an even more realistic experience for GT fans.
“It is amazing to think that it is 15 years since we first released Gran Turismo,” explained Kazunori Yamauchi, during the announcement at Silverstone Circuit. “Things have changed a lot since then and now Gran Turismo 6 is a further evolution of my dream. We’re pleased to deliver GT6 to PlayStation 3 as we have a very loyal community on that platform. However, we have refactored the game to make it very flexible and expandable, with a view to making many future developments. I am very pleased with everything about the new game and the new additions, but the launch will be only the beginning for GT6. The game will continue to develop throughout its life. I already have many ideas for things I want to achieve in the next 15 years of Gran Turismo!”
The celebration of 15 years of Gran Turismo event at Silverstone included a demo of GT6 featuring the famous circuit. Guests were able to play the game in the familiar circular Gran Turismo race pods before having a chance to take to the real track in cars provided by Audi, Ford, Jaguar, KTM, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Toyota.
Further news about Gran Turismo 6 will be revealed at the forthcoming E3 and Gamescom events.
Cars featured on the GT6 Silverstone demo (* denotes new to Gran Turismo):
Acura NSX ’91, *Alfa Romeo TZ3 Stradale ’11, *Alpine A110 1600S ’68, *Audi Sport quattro S1 Rally Car ’86, Ferrari 458 Italia ’09, *Ferrari Dino 246 GT ’71, Ford GT ’06, *KTM X-BOW R ’12, Lamborghini Countach LP400 ’74, *Light Car Company Rocket ’07, McLaren MP4-12C ’10, *Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 ’11, Nissan 370Z (Z34) (GT Academy Version) ’08, Nissan 370Z Tuned Car (GT Academy , Version) ’08, Nissan GT-R Black edition (GT Academy Version) ’12, *Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 N24 Schulze Motorsport, Nissan Leaf G (GT Academy Version), *Tesla Motors Model S Signature Performance ’12, Toyota 86 GT ‘12
Summary of new Gran Turismo 6 features announced by Kazunori Yamauchi:
New Game Engine
Compact, nimble operation
A new rendering engine that pushes the limits of the PS3
New Physics Engine
New suspension and kinematics model
New tyre model
New aerodynamics model
Technical partnership with Yokohama Rubber and KW Automotive
1,200 Cars, abundant custom parts, and on-going DLC
From historic cars to the latest racing cars, the game contains a total of 1200 cars.
Multiple aerodynamic parts and custom wheels will be available for almost all cars.
Players can create their own personalised custom car in the game.
Cars will be continually added online
33 locations, 71 layouts
33 Locations and 71 layouts will be provided from day1 (7 more locations and 19 more layouts than GT5).
More new tracks will continue to be provided online
New Course Maker
Massive scenery spanning several tens of square kilometers
A new course generation algorithm
Players can form their own communities
Various community levels from local and domestic to global
Players themselves can create and manage their own online events
New User Interface
Balancing directional key operation and touch operation
Shortening of loading times
Multi Device Compatibility
At the same time as the PS3 version of GT6 the “Real Driving Simulator” launches, a mobile version and web application version of GT6, will be created to enjoy Gran Turismo’s massive community space.
Real/Virtual “Edge Effect” Activity
A variety of “Edge Effects”, the chemical reactions between the real world and the virtual world for which the Gran Turismo series is famous, are also planned for GT6. Exciting collaborations between various automotive manufacturers and collaborations with brands crossing different industries will be revealed gradually across the next six months.