Previews

Gran Turismo HD

Polyphony Digital president Kazunori Yamauchi takes us on an in-depth tour of the PS3 racer

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Will GT HD Premium be structured like ordinary GT games, with licence exams and so on?

KY: In the initial stages, when we launch GT HD, the Premium aspect will not have areas such as racing licence tests - it will be more centred on the 30 cars and the tracks that are included. There will be arcade racing. The example you used - licence exams - these will be made available via the online experience. As we run further down our road-map, licence tests have been designed by us, but there is also the concept of allowing users to set up licence exams or curricula for people to try.

So will passing online licence exams bring rewards, such as opening new content?

KY: Awarded items are possible, but for officially organised events - that is, coming from us.

Phil; Harrison hinted that games such as GT HD with a significant amount of online content may have reduced prices. Can you comment on that?

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KY: Obviously, I cannot speak for other titles, but from the viewpoint of GT HD, yes I would like to set the entry price as low as possible, although we haven't decided on it yet. The reason behind my thinking is that it's very important to encourage people to enter the online community and to get them participating.

As Polyphony Digital has grown, how difficult do you find it to remain in control of everything?

KY: I'm looking back at the history of games and in the past, everything was simpler - all aspects of game design and even the needs of consumers, and it was easier to create games back in the years when Gran Turismo was, as a package, a great racing simulator. Now there are difficulties that we face, but there are many positive sides to this. There's more interactivity between ourselves and the people who are participating in our games, which is very, very exciting.

Will GT HD be ready for the European PS3 launch?

KY: The simple answer would be: ideally, yes. It would be great if we had GT HD for the launch of the PS3 in Europe. But there are more important areas we need to focus on, especially the need to establish a good online service surrounding GT HD. We would rather focus on that than forcing ourselves to release on day one.

Will the new online side of GT HD allow users to add new racing formulae and cars?

KY: Yes, exactly: users will be able to define the cars, choosing from what is available, define tracks and create new racing series.

Will it be possible for users to create their own cars and tracks?

KY: Eventually - somewhere down the road-map - we would like to enable players to create things and share them. Maybe we could start with modification parts like aero kits and so on, but that's down the line. This goes back to what we were talking about earlier, concerning the GT HD community. We will be able to design and create races and organise those races - these will be the official GT events. Participating team members will be able to use the Race Builder and whatever tools we make available. Many car manufacturers have their own one-make racing series, like the Clio Cup and so on. Within the big picture of the GT HD community, even the manufacturers will be able to take advantage of the system and to organise their own races if they wish.

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Also, this platform will enable manufacturers to experiment, or even do a little bit of research with feedback from users. Let's say there is a group of people on the Nurburgring track, having fun, and manufacturer brand A decides: "OK, I have this new car; I'm not going to announce anything. I'll let it appear at Nurburgring, run around for a couple of laps and disappear." People will talk about it, ask each other if they saw it, and feedback to the manufacturer will be very important.

Have you decided which two tracks will feature in GT HD Premium, and can you give us a hint as to what they will be.

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