GamesCom – The Yamauchi Interview

Gran Turismo 5Interviews 114 August 18, 2010 by

Hello all, from drizzly Cologne!

At this morning’s breakout session at the Radisson Hotel, Cologne we were told that all information and media given was subject to an embargo until 0900 GMT Thursday morning – which we, unlike other sites, intend to respect – we were left in somewhat of a no-man’s land. Andreas, Venari and I couldn’t really bring you any of the information we wanted to and yet, at the same time, we have to report something. This is, after all, what you’re paying us for.

What we can bring you is news that, yet again, the GT5 code has received a few tweaks and is another, more recent build than E3, there’s some good news on expected features, some better news on some potential fears and some great news on some unexpected (but by now, thanks to “other sites”, internet-wide) features. We’ll provide more the instant the embargo expires tomorrow. Kazunori seemed quite nervous beforehand – pacing the courtyard, cigarette in hand – but his nervousness was unfounded.

Luckily, after a quick play on the GamesCom show floor of the latest GT5 build (with new tracks and cars as exclusively revealed late yesterday), Andreas received an SMS from Sony’s Alex Armour – Kazunori Yamauchi would see us now…

As Andreas, Venari and I sat down with Yamauchi, we were asked to be brief – it was, after all, lunchtime after a stressful morning and we were feeling hunger-pangs too. We didn’t quite get all the questions out that we wanted and Kazunori didn’t want to be filmed during the interview, but we tried our best to interrogate while respecting his time constraints.

Can you tell us anything about PSN Trophies in GT5?

Kazunori looked a little confused at first. We’d put to him the rumour about multiple Platinum trophies which he dismissed as just that – rumour. He clarified that he really hadn’t thought about Trophies in GT5 but that they will be in. Our considered opinion is that GT has been doing “trophies” since 1997 and it’s more likely than not that the Trophies system will be grafted onto the existing trophy aspects of the game.

Will GT5 feature LAN mode/multiple monitor support?

“Probably” was the reply. At this point, there are still aspects of the game that the 140-man strong team are still refining. My understanding of Kazunori’s precise words were more probably-likely than probably-possibly.

We’ve seen changing light and, recently, weather. Will this be available on all tracks?

“Not on all tracks, but some.”. We’d imagine that tracks with 24 hour races are more likely to see diurnal cycles, but whether you can race the ‘Ring in snow… at this point it is still up in the air.

With GT5, how close are you to your goal of “The Real Driving Simulator”?

“90%” was the instant answer. “Well, 85-90%”.

Are there any features missing from GT5 that you’d like to have included?

Kazunori said “Yes”, without hesistation. “But there’s still time to work on things!”

Would this include a livery editor?

“Probably not for GT5, though it’s certainly on our list of things to work on…”.

Previously we’ve seen you say things about weather, lighting, skidmarks, that you’d add them if you felt they added to gameplay. How much is this the case, compared to community pressure (from sites like GTPlanet) to add things?

“It’s probably evenly balanced”, said Kazunori. We’d interpret this as a borderline tacit admission that our forums – and many other sites – form research for PD, especially with regards to features. We have, after all, seen a recent addition of real-time skidmarks and reverse lights in the latest demo builds, now that there is the software and hardware to achieve it.

At this point we were asked if we could wrap it up quickly – we were originally told 3-4 minutes and we were already near ten. So the last question was the question I’d decided (hey, executive decision!) was the very best “alternate” question we’d received.

Given the time, money, space and resources, which fantasy Gran Turismo track would you create in the real world?

Kazunori was visibly awed by this question and spent nearly a minute thinking of an answer. “Deep Forest”, he said. I countered with “Trial Mountain?”. His next answer was complex – the team haven’t revealed anywhere near all of the tracks yet and there may be a fantasy GT5 track which exceeds Deep Forest in his estimations, and Trial Mountain in mine.

Kazunori continued, “A construction company in Japan [Maeda] investigated the possibility of building Grand Valley. They wrote a book about it!”. We weren’t able to get an accurate title from Kazunori or Translator-san – it didn’t seem to translate well, but “Fantasy Business Scheme” was the final answer. If you know of this book, please let us know!

And that was that – the first meeting between the world’s largest Gran Turismo site and the game’s creator, courtesy of Alex Armour at Sony, Darin Gangi at InsideSimRacing, Andreas Nie (our co-conspirator) and Jordan.

Edit: Thanks to Doctor_No for clarifying the comment about Maeda construction.

As ever, we’ll let Translator-san have the last word:

“We need your name!”

“No you don’t. Translator-san will do just fine…”

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