Interviews

Kazunori Yamauchi Interview

Interview: Gran Turismo creator reveals his plans for GT5

After what seems like an eternal wait (extended by an unscheduled delay to its release thanks to "technical issues") Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is finally out here, but it's far from finished, series creator Kazunori Yamauchi explains.

Sitting comfortably in Sony's flashy 3Rooms events HQ in London, Kazunori told CVG of the plans he has for his driving simulator, from a huge update this year that'll include car damage, to the whereabouts of the almost mythical PSP version, GT Mobile.

And just what would he say to those of you that refuse to accept Prologue as anything more than "just a demo"? Let find that out first, shall we...?

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Some refer to GT5 Prologue a "just a £25 demo". How do you respond to that criticism?

Kazunori Yamauchi: I fully understand the pain of the people that were expecting a full GT to be released, but it took us three years to get this far and it has not been simple. It's been very difficult to do. We just hope that everyone understands that we are trying our best.

Will the US get the content that was added to the UK version?

Yamauchi: The Japanese version was updated to match the UK version on the day of the UK release, so they are now the same. And the US version that's coming out is going to be pretty much the same as the UK version.

There are still a lot of things we have left un-done in GT5 Prologue, so by fall [autumn] this year there will be another major update to the game.

What sort of content can we expect from the update?

Yamauchi: The major things that we're planning for the update will be to add community building features such as communication between players and also damage for the cars.

Damage? Awesome. And the online part of the game will be improved, too?

Yamauchi: Yes, there'll be a focus on the online mode.

What's the current status with Gran Turismo Mobile for PSP and Gran Turismo for Boys (originally announced for PS2)?

Yamauchi: I don't think Gran Turismo Mobile will make this year, but we are hoping to make the PSP version a satellite game, like an addition to GT5.

I have to apologise because so much of our effort and energy is going into making the PS3 version that it's making it very difficult for us to work on the PSP version. The same goes for Gran Turismo for Boys, but we're hoping to make that a feature within GT5.

So instead of making it a separate game, it will come as a simplified mode within GT5?

Yamauchi: Yes.

The improvements in GT5 Prologue over the launch day-released GT HD are huge. How close is GT5 Prologue to GT5 overall?

Yamauchi: In terms of quality and features of the game, and in terms of functionality, GT5 Prologue will ultimately reach an equivalent level to GT5. I think the major difference between Prologue and GT5 will be the number of cars and courses that will be included within the game, in that there will be many more.

The GT series is now in its fifth iteration and running on ultra-high-performance hardware. How close would you say GT5 is to real life now?

Yamauchi: That's a really difficult question to answer, because there are so many more fun aspects of a car that's not just limited to driving. I hope that we've covered maybe half of the attractions of a real car, but there's still so much more to it.

Driving games strive for realism, but when they are as real as they are today, where do you see driving games going from here?

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