Yamauchi Interview Reveals More on GT5 Development

kazunori-yamauchiUnfortunately, most “journalists” who get the chance to interview Kazunori Yamauchi are largely clueless about the current state of the franchise. As a result, they ask the same questions to which the answers don’t really matter, delivered with the same rabid, impatient schoolboy mentality that seems to plague many people on the Internet these days. Needless to say, while this interview method can provide some sensational headlines, it does nothing to connect with the man or the company behind Gran Turismo. That’s what makes this interview with Xavier Ocampo, Japanese correspondent at MeriStation, so incredibly refreshing and insightful.

Xavier, who has a long history of friendship with Yamauchi-san, offers rare, personal impressions of his time at Polyphony Digital – all while providing us with much more information about the development status of Gran Turismo 5 than anyone who has gone before. Indeed, a quick skim of the article already revealed a “secret” GT5 trailer. The only problem, of course, is that MeriStation is a Spanish-language site, making Xavier’s full work inaccessible to many international GT fans unless they wanted to sift through an awkward machine translation. To help out, GTPlanet user Tenacious D smoothed out the rough edges, offering up the text in a much more accessible format. It’s long – 4,743 words, to be exact – but after reading it you’ll have a much better understanding of both and Gran Turismo 5 and Yamauchi-san. Thank you, Xavier, for this wonderful look inside Polyphony Digital.

You can start reading the translation below – I’ve highlighted the especially important parts in red.  For native Spanish speakers, of course, you can find the original version here.

Our correspondent in Japan, Xavi Ocampo, returned to interview Kazunori Yamauchi the creator of the quintessential driving franchise on PlayStation, Gran Turismo. We got a tour of the facilities of Polyphony Digital, and the creator talked about his new project, Gran Turismo 5.

With the passing of a year, as has become my custom, I interviewed Kazunori Yamauchi, the father of Gran Turismo. I never call him by his surname, as usual here in Japan. Rather, I address him by the nickname of “sensei” (teacher or master). In spite of his legendary Japanese education, he never ascribes this title to himself, though it always brings a smile to his face when I address him that way. Over the years, very few journalists would have the chance to speak with this man as friends would discuss subject of cars and video games.

As usual before the interview, Kazunori Yamauchi prepared us for a tour of the facility preceded by a presentation of Gran Turismo 5, the new creation of the master which in his words will take the driving simulation to new heights. Of course, the sensei is never satisfied.

I make a point to comment that Yamauchi is the typical genius who is at his own lofty level. When you talk to him you realize it. In the midst of a normal conversation with the teacher there are certain details that suggest that he knows what he is talking about; you are absolutely convinced of this and that no one can say differently on the subject. Furthermore, he doesn’t push any unfounded opinions, he won’t lead you on or bluff; you feel fully convinced that he speaks with authority, leaving you to listen in silence. He is so respected by the Japanese industry that no one has anything negative to say about him. Not a bad word in the press either. And you know this is not the fear of offending some celebrity or prima donna. It represents the respect he has earned during the last decade as one of the pillars of Japan’s video game world.

It is hard to relate my “adventure” in the Polyphony facilities, an adventure that is always new to me, always lets me discover new things, new areas in which I had not noticed before and that allow me to convey a more fully what this business both for those working within and for industry in general.

The presentation

The day started well. Just after crossing the entrance to the facility I came across the sensei. His initial look of surprise turned into a typical Japanese bow and the narrowing of Western hands. We always welcome each other in this manner. Do not ask me why; we have done so since our first meeting. And I know he does this with few others, as he has told me.

After a brief and informal conversation in Japanese to catch up (Yamauchi understand English well enough, but dare not speak it), I indicated that we should proceed to the reception where the demonstration was held and confirm the details to the tour press. “Has this been much trouble?” I asked as he walked away.

“I do not know you that well, Xavi,” he replied smiling. But he looked tired, very tired. The dark circles were clearly visible, as well as a certain thinness in his body, indicating sleepless nights and night-time work in order to give birth to his baby, Gran Turismo 5.

Once equipped with my journalist’s arsenal, we were ushered into the conference room for the presentation. A mythical room where the staff draw the guidelines, action plans, the road map in Polyphony Digital. When you enter, you can almost hear the echoes of all the meetings held there over the years. The speeches, shouts, laughter, emotions linger, something special floating in the atmosphere of this room about 15 by 10 meters with a high ceiling, tall, like the rest of the facilities.

The scale of the place is because Polyphony is located in a former factory building, and parts of it still remain. When you look at the high ceiling, you still see remnants of the factory in the form of tubes in the light and large beams. Obviously everything has been refurbished to create the right atmosphere for the development work and creation. But it is curious to note the clear difference between what you see at ground level and what you see when you raise your eyes. The first time you realize this, you cannot help but smile.

Once in the room, we sat at a table set up in the form of inverted “U”. Yamauchi asked me to sit in the first chair near the head group, consisting of his assistant, translator and public relations. This has been the case for years, and these honors are greatly appreciated. Once all seated, we were told we could take pictures during the presentation and recording video, but we could not do the same during the video of Gran Turismo 5. “I wonder why?” I thought to myself. As if reading my mind, Yamauchi said earnestly: “It turns out that you have a surprise prepared for you. The trailer you’ll be able to see at the end of the presentation is not the same as the one for Tokyo Game Show. It’s new. No one outside of these facilities has seen it. There are new things. “ “We started well,” I think to myself. It’s just so worth being there.

Yamauchi began to speak, first concerning the portable version of Gran Turismo, GTPSP. The first thing mentioned is that it was a challenge to develop something as big as a GT for a machine so small. They had to redesign many aspects of the game, and come up with new methodologies to take advantage of the technology of the handheld. It is this aspect highlighted in the ad-hoc mode in which the opponents play against each other in the same space, or “Party,” which can compete online with other gamers worldwide via a free application that is download on PS3.

He also said he was particularly proud that the modeling of the cars comes from the PlayStation 3 version and not previous versions. Clearly this aspect has been simplified so that PSP can represent them on screen, but that’s the only change. All details are there, even the interiors.

Another aspect was the players said that since the first chapters of Gran Turismo, they no longer have as much time to play. Life has taken away much of the leisure time they once enjoyed. Yamauchi said it is these fans who defined the deciding game dynamics of Gran Turismo PSP. Now it will be faster to get new cars or progress through the game. That’s without taking away one iota, he said, of the spirit that has made the franchise famous. In addition, we can exchange vehicles with the game on PS3. He also mentioned the fact that this version can be played anywhere is an advantage over the home console.

Once the review of the portable version was out of the way, it was time to focus on the star, the game that so many fans are awaiting, Gran Turismo 5. The first piece is obviously the release date in Japan. March 31, 2010. Then the master spoke quickly to stifle possible questions on other markets and said there was still no dates set for them. Amidst laughter, the representative of Sony Europe was passed this hot potato, which confirmed this aspect and would say no more. Something is cooking, it was clear. However, no one was satisfied that such a simple issue was dodged so blatantly.

Yamauchi then went on to reel off a string of various aspects of game development that have caused the fans to suffer bitterly through such lengthy delays. Nearly all belonged to the technical aspect of Gran Turismo 5, due to the proverbial search for perfection in which the sensei is famous for worldwide.

And then it was time for the detailed figures. In the final game will be over 950 cars and 20 circuits. Various configurations of these increase the total to more than 70 tracks. How different from those 178 vehicles and 11 circuits of the first version of the game that started it all, I thought to myself. And especially, the difference between the two versions in the case of polygon count. Unlike, for example, the time constraints which forced the development team to reduce the 650 cars of Gran Turismo 2 for PlayStation to just over 150 for Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec for PS2. For reference, consider this: the last game for the PS2, GT4, had more than 700 cars and 51 race courses.

Yamauchi also pointed out the benefits of the new physics that has been applied to the game. Everything in this aspect has been created from scratch, from the reactions of the cars to the routes to the deformation and damage in the body. Yes there will be deformation and damage, something requested by the fans and has been present in other games of the genre. But the stubbornness of the Japanese maker has been delayed until now because, in his words, there wasn’t sufficient technology before to represent damage faithfully and realistically on screen.

In another vein, we also discussed the balance that had to be constantly juggled in the development of Gran Turismo. On the one hand, an easy game anyone can play, and other, the harsh realism of simulation. According to Yamauchi, both must be present in a game of this nature, but it is difficult to combine in an elegant and convincing way. He said that within the first 20 seconds of first contact with the game, you can see that something has changed. You can feel that balance. He also told us that the demo version that was installed on both the Tokyo Game Show and the booths present at the premises of the company lacked the latest damage build. It is a feature in which they are still working on, car to car. Just thinking about it makes you giddy.

As for the new cars, hybrids will be included. Also present for the first time are legendary brands like Lamborghini and Bugatti. In addition, there are cars from NASCAR and World Rally. Speaking of NASCAR, Yamauchi noted that the deformation and damage in these high-speed races will be absolutely amazing and true to life, with turns, spins, rollovers, and so on. We will have to see to believe.

Then he showed us a look at another set of game features that he says make Gran Turismo what is today, a reference in the world of driving simulations. Arcade and GT Modes are the same as previous versions, but taken to the next generation. That is, new graphics, new physics, new details. In the shop there will be many accessories to improve your cars. The master was particularly proud of this facet of the game. He commented that we can change almost every imaginable piece of the vehicle, not just the typical sections of the engine, brakes, etc.

The online mode will have full support. The development team has focused a lot on this. There will be private rooms where you can connect with other players and tournaments closed set, for example. With regard to the Photo Mode, Yamauchi told us that this feature from Gran Turismo 4 has been improved greatly. It can take pictures at any moment of the race, as well as specially prepared settings. We were reminded that the improvement in the modeling (both circuit and car) will thus be a delight for fans. On the technical side, he said that the photos have a resolution of 8 megapixels.

One of the new aspects of the game, GT TV, was also discussed by Yamauchi. In this mode, you can watch various special shows concerning cars and motorsports in high definition. There are two types of content; original and licensed. In this network will accommodate car and racing news, the testing of new cars, to Yamauchi’s own commentary on the world of driving.

After the lecture, the lights went out to reveal in all its splendor the unpublished trailer that no one outside those walls had seen. It was a moment of excitement because, obviously, everyone wanted to see the deformation and damage.

The video began with a street circuit and with electronic music in the background. Then we saw the cars, especially new ones going full speed around the track, what Gran Turismo is known for. We saw cars from NASCAR, Rally, Lamborghinis and Bugattis. We saw the pits in full and frenetic action. The images came from the replay mode. There were cars running at night. The modeling was clearly at the level expected since GT5 Prologue. And finally we saw the first deformation and cracks on cars. There were a few shouts of excitement among those present. There was a short but intense second collision. For lack of a better word, awesome.

We also saw a Ferrari with a big city in the background. The camera rose to give a more global perspective. The video ended. The truth is that we were left wanting much more. It was a little short, but intense. When the trailer began, the media burst into applause. Yamauchi confessed that they are still working on the night mode to make it as realistic as possible. Not a further word on damage. “I’ll ask after the interview,” I thought to myself.

And with that, the presentation ended. Then, Yamauchi-sama invited us to follow him on a tour of the facilities. Quite an honor, obviously one we would not turn down. And there we were, accompanied by the proud father of the child.

Touring the facilities

The offices were empty. There were only a few employees, counted on the fingers of one hand, undoubtedly working on backlog matters. It was the day of Tokyo Game Show, and is usually granted for such time off as the staff needed.

The first thing he showed was a shelf where he kept as treasures a series of milestones in the race (pun intended) of himself and Polyphony Digital. From the cover of their first game, the colorful Motor Toon Grand Prix, no relation to the Gran Turismo series, and prizes awarded to the company in numerous events, through racing trophies obtained by the master himself. All were a source of pride to Yamauchi, who posed smiling in front of the display of recognition to his work.

Later inside the work offices, we stopped in front of a panel on which were placed a series of “family photos” of the development team. Photographs portrayed the teams from the first Gran Turismo to the last. And we could see not only the evolution in the faces of the members but also the significantly increased staff who have worked for the company. Not surprisingly, in the latest chapter in the saga, hundreds of people have been employed for several years.

Yamauchi then showed us the server room. Impressive mainframes, large storage capacity and the latest and fastest computers available are used to bring their dreams to life. These machines work 24 hours straight and are in a glass room precisely cooled and ventilated. Yamauchi told us that they rent some of these marvels of technology to universities and research centers to assist in their calculations. He also emphasized the crucial role they have played in the development of new physics in Gran Turismo 5. “Without them, it would have been impossible to reach the levels we have achieved,” he said.

Then the master took us to the section where the cars are modeled. On every desk were dozens of scale models of all sorts of vehicles. Many vehicles, most of them dismantled to the core, with all its pieces laid out around them. They ranged from models that fit in a hand to others which were quite massive, and all designed with great detail and care. A curiosity that I immediately noticed was that many of them were red. A synonym of speed, no doubt.

At one of the desks, there was a guy touching up details on the complex model of a Ferrari. It was a delight to see him work, slightly altering the model in three dimensions using high tech design tools. Yamauchi said that within the total time of game development, modeling cars has consumed 60 percent of available resources. Without doubt, they have wanted to give this issue top priority, and it was revealed in the space occupied by the modeling division, well over half the total team.

Right next to this section was one of the most intriguing chambers of all the facility: the rest and repose area, set aside for the relaxation of the intrepid creators. In it I saw everything, from comics to Japanese and international music CDs. There was also a small gym where employees burn calories (or stress, who knows) between-session work. Sofas, a small dining room, indoor plants, books, music instruments… a myriad of items and services to provide distraction from the daily grind. Yamauchi told us that during the day almost no one used it. I suppose it’s the Japanese custom of, “What will they say if they see me resting instead of working?”

The question that struck me immediately to mind was, “What about night?” Apparently, at night it is used the most, but rarely with more than two or three people. Now and then would be a small birthday party or informal meeting, but not lately. Yamauchi told us it is used very little, now. Moreover, he said that in pre-launch period (about 6 months before the date, which they are now entering into) there no rest. Many employees bring their sleeping bags and pajamas for the night at the office. A very Japanese custom, incidentally.

Yamauchi does not like talking too much about this aspect of the project. I remember how in an interview I did in 2004 I had to shoehorn a statement on overnight stays. He told me that by law, Polyphony Digital facilities can not accommodate a bedroom (I wonder why the NHK broadcasting station where I work, it does have, but that’s another story). And I remember like it was yesterday when his rascal side emerged, urging me to secrecy, and showed me a bedroom in the building. A bedroom that was not there. A room I never saw. Nope, not a bedroom…

Then we move on to other sections of the star: the modeling of the circuits. A lot of tourists work here. And I say this because several of its members have traveled around the world to make on-site tours for all real circuits for the game, scavenging every detail. Yamauchi said half seriously, half jokingly that often the team would quit a vehicle run to look closely at every single detail that from the car were unseen. The texture of the pavement, plants around the circuit. Everything was thoroughly analyzed. Excessive? Maybe. Obsessed with detail? Extremely. And I really do not think it was a joke when he said that, since he gave me a look at some photos of the paving of one of the circuits to which it referred. Photos taken very, very closely.

Just then came the story of the day. While we were listening to the sensei’s dissertations, I noticed the presence of a woman. Quite attractive indeed. By turning my head a few degrees to see the rest of colleagues from the media, I could see that they also had “detected” the presence of the employee. Moreover, it appeared that nobody was paying attention to Yamauchi any more. All had their eyes fixed on the girl. It seemed so funny that I couldn’t fight down a laugh. Absolutely innocent, I swear. It was all so hilarious. My companions immediately understood the reason for my laughter, as well as Yamauchi. Being nobody’s fool, he told us, “You can take pictures and record video if you want.” Although he did not specify whether it was the girl who had to immortalize, all ran like a pack of wolves stalking their prey. She immediately saw that she was the center of attention and posed very nicely (and with some embarrassment) in the middle of her work. This went on for several minutes until Yamauchi said, “I think that is enough, gentlemen.” And on our way we went.

The last visit was the department of physics. A real mess of papers, dismantled car models, electronic whiteboards, erasable media, more paperwork and even action figures. It was chaos, but a controlled chaos. One had the feeling that every employee in the section knew where I was until the last post-it, and I could see it in their faces. This was the area of the company with more presence of workers. And had the most activity although, as I said, in theory they had the day off. They seemed to take their job seriously.

Yamauchi is especially pleased and proud of the work of this department. Not surprisingly, as was said, the people obsess over physics formulas that determine the behavior of car accidents. The damage and deformation. The jewel in the crown of Gran Turismo 5, jealously guarded until the end. Obviously we could not see much because of the secrecy which enshrouds this section, but what I saw impressed me greatly.

And with that ended the tour of the facilities. As much as I do this tour every year, I always discover another secret, or some personality trait in Yamauchi that I had overlooked. It was time the interview with the “sensei.” Time to relax. A conversation between friends about good and evil. About the good and bad of Gran Turismo. About good and bad of the teacher as a person.


The time had come. Yamauchi was sitting on a couch located in one of the demonstration areas of the company. I just opposite, on another couch, anxious to talk with the sensei. And yes, the public relations monitor the damn time. But hey, it was his job, no questions asked. In addition, we have gone to continue the conversation in front of a good paella (rice dish). But that’s another story.

And we began.

What aspect of the final product are you most satisfied with?

Obviously I cannot stay only with one, because it was the fruit of hard work by many people spread over many departments. And I respect, admire and appreciate the work of each. But if I had to decide, perhaps I would get the “feeling” in the wheel while I play. The result is a new experience, a new development.

How long did it take to develop the game?

It took about 5 years. But to put that in perspective, it also took the first Gran Turismo five years to be created. What that tells us that this is more or less the amount of time required to make a product at this level.

A personal question. What is your favorite chapter of the series?

Of course, I have a special fondness for the original, Gran Turismo on PlayStation. We spent almost five years working from dawn to dusk and sleeping in the office, and I still have the emotions of that day inside me. Yes, you can say I have a deep affection for that game. But the most difficult to develop was Gran Turismo 2, the qualitative and quantitative leap that meant at the time.

In the first game we had a limit of time to develop, but because of the success of GT1, we set a departure date for GT2 fixed, unchanging. At that time we did not know if we would take 2 years, 3 years to develop. I really had no idea. We had set the bar very high. What we did in the time that we had received and what they really wanted to do, were things so different that it was like being literally between a rock and a hard place, life and death. We had to work to the limit. There were many times when my heart seemed to say, “I will quit.” It was very stressful. And I can say that has not changed much, even now. It’s something you have to devote your life, body and soul to do well.

Speaking of which, from the outside it seems that Gran Turismo is your life, and you treat and speak of it as your own son. Is that so?

Very true, and if we continue to develop games in the series, it is because we have fun doing it. And yes, if we look back we’ve lost things along the way because of our dedication to these games, but was it worth it? Sure.

Your great love of cars is well known. Is that the main reason you created and developed Gran Turismo, a game that is always seeking perfection in the simulation?

Yes, one reason is of course my love of driving. I think driving is a wonderful experience and I wish to share it. But another reason is that I want users to spend a good time playing, essentially.

Have you had or have any kind of pressure from Sony in any aspect of the game including launch dates, content, etc?

Not in content, but really the pressure, if we can call it that, of the delivery dates are sometimes difficult to bear.

I remember in an earlier interview you showed me your business card as a Sony employee, and told me that it had no meaning for you as you had virtually no say in the governing board. That the company was all that mattered. What is your relationship with Sony?

The most important people in my life and close work are of course the employees of Polyphony. We are like a family. On the other hand, some people at Sony helped me, and help them grow professionally also. And those people, my work and my devotion I’m happy to give all I can.

Changing to PSP, the analysis I have read so far on Gran Turismo PSP give grades no higher than 8 out of 10 on average. “They talk a good game but not a juegazo.” Any comment on this?

I understand the point of view of this analysis perfectly, don’t misunderstand me on that. Obviously, when a user plays Gran Turismo, they expect a near perfect experience. That’s the reputation that the series has earned over the years. One of the big problems that we faced in creating Gran Turismo PSP was the small size of both the screen and the memory of the machine. From the beginning, we knew that we would not be able to develop a game to match their console cousins, so we had to redesign everything to fit PSP, and I think it was a very good redesign. But I understand for people who have had the experience of playing Gran Turismo on a big screen, thinking, “Oh, I wish there was something or other in this portable version too.”

This game has been designed from the ground up to be something different. If you expect the same thing, it really lets you down a bit. But if you look at from the point of view of the new design, with ad-hoc modes to four players or the party to play online, you’ll see a product that is well thought out and with a good finish. We are very careful in these special features of the handheld game.

Finally, we discuss the deformation and damage in Gran Turismo 5, a burning issue. Gran Turismo has always been known to seek perfection in all aspects; the visuals, the driving experience, and so on. Can we also expect perfection in accidents and consequent damage to vehicles? Banish all doubt.

I’ll only say one thing. Our team of engineers did not want to do something that has already been seen in other games. No. I wanted something completely different and new.

Yes, expect perfection.

On my way back, in my head were echoing the words of sensei, “Expect perfection.” It sounds very brash and presumptuous. But coming from whom they come, those words can be taken as a promise. A promise that I trust will be fulfilled.

It was a pleasure, as always, master.

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Comments (84)

  1. Rumface

    This interview was amazing, thanks for the translation.

    Granturismo has been a part of my life since I was little. The first Granturismo was one of the first games I bought, Since then I’ve learn nealy everything I know about cars from Granturismo. It truely is a wonder to see this sort of interview. It is refreshing not to see half a dozen childish posts about other games under it too.

    I too would really like to hear Kazunori Yamauchi thoughts on other racing games to date such as Codemaster’s Dirt and Grid, EA’s Need for Speed and Turn 10’s Forza series.

  2. LordVonPS3

    “En el juego final habrá más de 950 coches y 20 circuitos. Las diferentes configuraciones de éstos llevan la cifra total a más de 70 pistas. Qué diferencia con esos 178 vehículos y 11 circuitos de la primera versión, del juego que lo inició todo, pensé para mis adentros.”

    The Spanish (article) is specific about the number of cars and circuits. However, the official line from http://eu.gran-turismo.com/gb/news/d10595.html is “20 locations”.

    Do not draw any conclusions yet…

  3. David

    I know that there are some people who think all games are just for kids but I’m sure that GT5 will capture a lot of attention from anyone who sees it. No matter how old or young you are, your gonna go nuts when you see your dream car in a beautifully rendered environment going full blast. The cars in GT5p are already great looking and I’m sure that GT5 will take it to an even more breath-taking level.

    I know that I will not get bored of GT5 for the next 5-6 years. Until GT6, I’m gonna have the “Drive of my Life” with GT5. Considering how hard KY and is team is working, and what we’ll get in the end – The wait is very well worth it.

    Sensei, Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to the GT series. We will always and forever cherish you and your team as if there is no tomorrow..!!

  4. Murcie

    I don’t really care about the supposedly limited number of tracks. Just so long as we have the BEST tracks, that’s fine with me. Brilliant read, can’t wait for GT5, all the usual stuff lol.

    The one thing that I absolutely cannot wait for is to take my absolute dream car (I hope to GOD that it’s in the game), the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640, around the Nurburgring…That will be absolute heaven to me.

  5. Adam

    What is needed now is realistic engine sounds.

    Potentially such a good game, just need to improve the sounds!!

  6. SImrc

    yep i think its more 20 locations country and 70 tracks in that tracks are varition …… whe 950 cars 50 cars suprise total 1000 cars what whe now need is weather to compleet the driver simulator

  7. 8@No$

    I beleive that when GT5 comes out, it will be dream-come-true-GT for every GT series fan like myself, who is following the series back from 1997. I am sure that it will be the best game of all time>period>

  8. eternal

    good job tenacious d on the translation its not easy 2 do it even do its in spanish but being a diffrent counrty is not the same means i also so 20 tracks with 70 variations of it but do the math deir cant be cus not all tracks has dat many diffrent ways to race it n if u thinkg about u can almost guess half the tracks just from lookin at the vidoes and in prologue deir are 5 with are more den likely going be on since they dont take much 2 convert 2 gt5 in the e3 trailer they show the famuse glass buildin in indianapolis( i cant remember wat its called) in da much more resent videos like tsg n gamescom dey show tokyo circut n in da resent video deir is kaz is racin in germany numberg their not going 2 want 2 reveal dat many already n pluss if u going 2 include rally cars dat dosent leave for many opcions on tracks which also donst sound logical that many cars in with very small number of tracks dosent sound right i thnkg in the translation from japensse 2 spanish was wrong n i thinkg its 20 countrys with 70 tracks escaly if their is going 2 be 950+ cars

  9. S. Bains

    GT5 will out muscle, smoke Forza in every department except styling (I don’t think GT5 will let you customize paint jobs). But then you did not buy the ultimate driving machine for styling – how many stylized Ferrari’s or Bugati’s do you see on the road?

    Yamamuchi is the man … expect perfection! well worth the wait .. look forward to experiencing GT5

  10. Tenacious D

    Wow… I really feel honored to be quoted so much because of this silly thing. ;D

    I re-read it every chance I get, because Xavi is one of the few friends of Kazunori-dono (as I often refer to him). And this article has an intimacy that comes across because of that, even though my awkward transmogrification, trying to add in English phrasing to smooth over the wording that only makes sense in Spanish. When you speak with a friend, a connection happens that you don’t get with some stranger. Xavi’s excitement comes through as well, making it even cooler. I worry too over Kaz’s health, and hope he cuts back on that nasty smoking habit!

    I wanted to leave the odd phrasing of the original to give it that flavor of a translation, rather than just rewrite it to suit us westerners. Even though it’s still has clunky, awkward parts, the flavor is what I wanted to capture, and I’m pretty happy with it. Shame that a handful of small edits vanished in a PC crash, and I had to get going after that. ;P

    After spending so much time with it, I really feel like I was there with The Master and Xavi, and can only echo what was said above.

    The Sensei will present his Masterpiece in due course, and the joy will be epic. Thank you, Kazunori Denka (your majesty).

  11. Comet

    “The images came from the replay mode. There were cars running at NIGHT. The modeling was clearly at the level expected since GT5 Prologue. And finally we saw the first deformation and cracks on cars. There were a few shouts of excitement among those present. There was a short but intense second collision. For lack of a better word, awesome.”

    Simulator of the generation… confirmed

  12. zhunterzz

    Wow, that was a great interview and story. I really can’t express how excited I am to have the 5th installment of this legendary franchise. I can’t wait.

  13. Ennur

    I’m still a bit upset with “only” 20 locations and 70 variations overall.
    As much as I like some of the original tracks, there are some great real tracks that deserve to be in the game and aren’t.
    What I’m worried is that many of the variations will end up being backwards versions of the tracks.

  14. capt_aaa

    This is what differentiate GT from the wanna b and me too imitators who do nnot have a passion for what they produce but rather care for the bottom line of Micros**t.

  15. Dom

    The interview is ok, but maybe a bit biased and not objective. It’s good mission statement for all the fanboys out there. I hope and think that critical statements should find the same support on this site. We all trust in GT5 and there is no second option, to be fair, but still a lot of things are presented in rose-colored glasses in this interview.
    If I would get the chance to interview him, I would try to talk more about the negative aspects with him. What he can’t do with GT5 and all the mistakes he has made in the development process of GT5 so far.

  16. icant55

    Good work “PD” on GTpsp !!! AD-hoc is crazy fun!. I Really like the part where he talks about the tuning details of cars :-). And thanx jordan and others for keeping us on point with the details.

  17. supersi

    You tool, next time read the article properly. Its 20 different locations with over 70 tracks. The employees don’t HAVE to stay there, they do it because they want to create something epic for the likes of you and me.

    Great article

  18. GTP_Davey07-O37

    I am now at peace. Fantastic read, and looking forward to the european release…It left me speechless to say the least and quite emotional too..Epic work from Kazunori Yamauchi and his team(family)…..;-))…

  19. jay gatsby

    This is the most touching interview ever. thanks for the interviewer and guy who translate it.

    PD and Kaz, you’re the best. Thank you for Gran Turismo.

  20. Riad

    Man jordon always makin things as easy as possible just for us..thanks man , greatful for the little extra things u do for us

  21. holl01

    Yamauchi would definitely have to be on my top 5 list of most respected/admired people in the world (him along with Arnie, James Hird, Steve Irwin, and my mummy ofcourse!) He’s basically dedictaed the last 15 odd years of his life to Gran Turismo (I however, have only dedicated the last 5), and this great interview has given me this indication, I have full respect for him, his team members and his family for allowing him to create such masterpieces, time and time again! And yes, I expect GT5 again to be nothing less than a masterpiece.

  22. Bolg

    “In the shop there will be many accessories to improve your cars. The master was particularly proud of this facet of the game. He commented that we can change almost every imaginable piece of the vehicle, not just the typical sections of the engine, brakes, etc.”

    Fantastic, thats what I’ve been waiting to hear.

  23. S3 Racer

    So i also bought the ps3 for Gt (not only but mainly), PSP fat bought cause of the gtmobile trailer.
    Expect PERFECT :D
    now need/must wait 6 months !!!
    I think 20 circuits ain’t bad, (look at Susuka with 3/4 layouts and reverse), Nurburgring can easily made 4 layout (look at GTR2)…
    So i think 20 may be meaning 20 circuits/location without any possible layouts. thats how I understand it.
    it’s like religion, everybody reads it differently LOL

    Thanks Poly for your nice games. Huge Job on gt5p and gtmobile, I expect nothing less from gt5, Our mind will be blow away. Litteraly

  24. SImrc

    i read ther will be 20 Location thats means countrys and 70 tracks in that tracks are varitions ….


    Nurburgring Germany

    Spa Belgium

    Lemans French

    Suzuka Japan

    Daytona America

    Hongkong China

    Eiger Nordwand Switzerland

    London Engeland

    costa di amalfi Italy

    Tahiti Maze malaysia

    Maby i am wrong but i hope thats location

    Ther will damage on all cars , what whe now need is realistic weather and day night cyle to compleet the real driving simulator

  25. Paul Mc

    Take a bow Tenacious D for the epic translation! Great Job!

    Why hasnt anyone asked YT what he thinks of the Forza series? Since Turn10s E3 press conference ive often wondered what YT thought of their “best looking racing sim this gen” boast.

  26. nick

    only 20 tracks? gt4 had almost 40 didn’t it?

    and the amount of work hours they have to do is crazy, they shouldn’t have to sleep in the studio

  27. David

    Wow this interview is great, I wish more journalists would go into that kind of detail.

    GT really sounds like a labour of love! You would very rarely get that much dedication out of staff to basically camp in the office for 5 years! Sleeping at PD must be quite cool + you get all the hot chicks in their PJ’s!

    I dont know why he doesnt hire more staff, surely they could double the number of staff and do it much quicker with less stress, right now its only like 50 people max. They have so much money hire like 500 people and get the game out in a year! I suppose he wants high quality and people he can trust.

    I do have one problem though and thats KY still mouthing off, saying ‘expect perfection’ etc etc, Gamescom and TGS damage WAS A JOKE! So im hoping he sticks to what he says for the final release.

  28. Napoleon_Ist

    “On Gameblog’s TGS podcast released today (linked below), journalist JulienC, who made the Polyphony Digital studio tour video (~13 min.) and Kazunori Yamauchi’s 30-minute video interview (yet unreleased), claimed he saw GT5 night races and rain races (both features were not supposed to be in GT5 in the first place) in the studio. Also, GT producer told JulienC that Polyphony have 3-4 months left to complete the damage feature which is a big work for them since they want to make something that is really different from the other games. Damage will be full scale and real time processed, it will be more precise and each impact deformation will be calculated hence unique.”

    Published: 5 days 23 hours ago

  29. HornyGT

    Great interview. Thanks for it.

    The GT5 trailer can’t be shown, I understand.
    But where are the photos of that “quite attractive woman”? Show us :d

  30. Ddag

    @Mickle Pickle
    The e30 M3 was in GT4 wasn’t it *-) I can’t remember now, I shall have to go dig it out XD
    I agree though, and I REALLY hope we get a back catalog of some of the legendary Bimmers :)

  31. Napoleon_Ist

    i agree that most recent gt5 interviews were lame like those of joystiq, ign and gamespot. they asked gtpsp questions!

    but those made by jvn and gameblog were great, and gameblog revealed the press teaser before anyone else incuding meristation.

  32. Mickle Pickle

    I completely agree with “jcynavarro” who wrote:
    “… Whatever or how ever the final product will be… I will enjoy it. If its missing something that has been requested over time… so be it, they worked their butts off for me to be bitching about something else….”

    and “HoffY” who wrote:
    “… i bought a PS3 (…) for the SOLE reason of playing GT5, and GT5 only. It didnt bother me if i didnt put a single other game disc in the drive…”

    I will just add that >> i hope they will finally decide to put in the BMW e30 (3-series from the 80’s) in GT5 after all these years overlooking that automobile icon… :(

  33. Brian

    Thank you for a valuable interview, asking the right questions, and this will surely be the number 1 driving sim to date in my eyes- because of the amount of details they go through, and their devotion to the series. The sky is no longer the limit, the edge of space is, and only Polyphony has ever the potential to reach it.

  34. Matt

    More than 20 probably means around 25 unique track environments, with the number of variations of each particular track varying dependent on either the number of different configurations employed on the track in real world racing or, if the track is Polyphony’s creation, as many as they want to use.

    Anyway, at this point, having read the entire translated piece, its hard to imagine that this game
    will be anything short of fantastic.

    I remember some game magazines calling Gran Turismo a ”Car-PG”, in the sense that the vehicles are so customizable that it reminds one of a character on an RPG.

    Just think about the possibilities with Gran Turismo and download content. The game’s life could be extended until the launch of the next Sony console. I point to games like Everquest and Final Fantasy 11 as examples. The expansions would come in the form of new tracks, cars, parts, or possibly even game engine tweaks (like the physics upgrade that Prologue had a few months ago).

    We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Kaz and his co-workers. Anyone who reads this article should grasp the scope of the enormous sacrifice these people make to see their vision come into being. Some might say that the long development time is just the result of Polyphonys low staff numbers relative to Turn 10 bringing about an inefficiency, but I for one on the contrary am positive that that has nowhere near as much to do with the long wait for the final product as does the sheer amount of depth the game will have in every imaginable respect.

    Thanks for posting this Jordan. I probably wouldn’t have picked up on it in the Forum.

  35. HoffY

    Great interview and thanks to the English translator(s)!

    You know… i bought a PS3 on release day in AUS for the soul reason of playing GT5, and GT5 only. It didnt bother me if i didnt put a single other game disc in the drive. Thats how much i was looking forward to GT5. Over the time the seemingly long dev time did take its toll a little. But now… seeing as we are only about 6 or so months away.. i really don’t mind if they take a little longer to get it sorted. Especially considering the damage BOMB SHELL has been dropped now and its going to be in GT5! I thought for sure we’d have to wait for GT6 before it would be incorporated. Plus… MW2 will keep me going for easily 1.5-2 years.

    So GT5. Bring it on! Pumped totally! I hope the few things i consider important features (more real life tracks and former GT tracks.. don’t skimp on track numbers! track voting for one every month on PSN, detailed driving statistics like number of laps in what car in which track, number of clean laps, just everything!/an actual decently done gamesave/replaysave manager[not player.. MANAGER] to name a few) that have been left out of many GT releases are added/enhanced but other then that i’m sure it’ll be excellent.

  36. Confi-User-3

    Thanks Jordan for marking the most important parts orange =)
    The worst thing is… to wait 6 months for this. But we’ll survive it.
    There’s only one thing I don’t really understand…
    That thing with the tracks and the circuits.
    Do I have to imagine it like in Prologue? There are 6 circuits and for each two variations of them, so 12. So do I have to think so that, for example, Twin Ring Motegi has 4 variations, El Capitan also 3 or 4 variations, Nurburgring maybe 2 and La Sarthe 2 variations, and so on.
    70 variations are still a lot. I think they excluded reverse versions, that would increase the number heavily… and maybe he means not 20, maybe he means something around 20-29 what would be even more awesome.
    Whatever, I’m really looking forward to that over 950 cars, especially the Ferraris (and Lamborghinis) =D

  37. 90zcrx

    “He commented that we can change almost every imaginable piece of the vehicle, not just the typical sections of the engine, brakes, etc.”

    BOOM BABY! oh man this piece of info sets my mind at ease and is really what gets me EXCITED for gt5!!!


  38. DaveTheStalker

    Tracks: So does the imagination of KY and the PD staff constitute 1 ‘location’ of the 20? Trial Mountain, High Speed Ring, Deep Forrest, Apricot Hill, RED ROCK, Autumn Ring, and the MASSIVE Test Course do not ‘exist’ outside the virtual world of Gran Turismo.

  39. W89rnr

    The customization really picqued my interest, I wonder how extensive the final build will be as far as engine and parts modeling and if they’re going to be viewable in a garage-like setting, I’m so excited!!!

  40. Rusty*

    Brilliant reading!! Thankyou very much Tenacious!
    That has been possibly the best insight into PD, Gran Turismo and its masterful team and the great leader himself.
    I do hope that everyone can now appreciate the dedication and effort that goes into creating the games that never fail to ‘knock your socks off’. It makes me a little sad to read that K.Y and the team might put there health and life aisde for GT5, I would prefer to wait longer so that is not the case. Everyone needs to lay-off and chill for a bit.
    Good on PD and K.Y, I’m sure at the end of the GT5 road, there will be GT officianado’s totally amazed at GT5.
    Thanks again Tenacious!

  41. Wizard Hat

    I can almost see the high speed rolls and flips that send pieces of car flying in every direction. Going to be awesome.

  42. yanfloist

    WOW….now Forza really doesn’t stand a chance, not that it did to start with anyway. I believe that everyone will “drop their jaws” when we finally see what’s inside GT5!!!!

  43. Mustang750R


    my guess is their doing all the small pieces for stuff like damage effect, like a radiator busting and parts falling off as a example, or maybe for actally being able to see the mods you made to the vehicles like turbos and such.

    To say “huge” would be a understatement, so lets try Epic? lol What say you?

  44. ralph89

    “On every desk were dozens of scale models of all sorts of vehicles. Many vehicles, most of them dismantled to the core, with all its pieces laid out around them. They ranged from models that fit in a hand to others which were quite massive, and all designed with great detail and care. A curiosity that I immediately noticed was that many of them were red. A synonym of speed, no doubt.”

    This is the best part for me, I guess it’s true that they even model the small part of the car (engine piece etc). Man GT5 will be huge.

  45. jcynavarro

    My 2 cents… We all may want something and some of us even might “need” something from this game. But when it really comes down to it, they are creating something that THEY see as a representation of their vision… Whatever or how ever the final product will be… I will enjoy it. If its missing something that has been requested over time… so be it, they worked their butts off for me to be bitching about something else…. If Mr. Yamauchi reads this… How ever the final game turns out… Thank you!!! great work!

  46. Matt

    @ Bakemono858: It seems to me that the final word on tracks is actually over 70 variations of over 20 different tracks. Which tracks will have the most variations of course remains to be seen, but that is what the official gran turismo site says. With the new hardware I’m sure it takes much more time to render each unique environment, so additional configurations of a smaller amount of tracks probably made more sense with respect to development timeframe.

    The track question is puzzling to me.

    I know there is no self-imposed rule set in stone by Polyphony for themselves that dictates there must be more tracks in each new game, but as the article states, 51 tracks were included in GT4.

    This is a very subjective preference, but I’d much rather see more unique environments each with their own specific topographical characteristics as opposed to differently configured track layouts on a lesser amount of environments that all have the same geographical traits.

    20 is still a good number but for me, the more environments the merrier, as in the end, aside from car variety, track variety is what really makes for lengthy replay value in a racing game.

    I’m sure these 20 environments will be very well done. But its hard to figure out exactly how this small number of unique environs will work considering that WRC and NASCAR are included, which pretty much rules out having the majority of official tracks from either of those series in the game.

    Download content could be the answer of course, but, barring all else, I hope your interpretation is correct. It could mean 20 different countries with 70 tracks spread out throughout those.

    I hope for my sake and yours that you are right.

  47. Mustang750R

    After reading this I feel like going to Japan, visit PD, and hug and say thank you to Kaz and his team, no, family at PD for all their hard work.

    And also to let them know that GT PSP is F***ING AWESOME, lol.

  48. Context

    Amazing im so pumped to see the final product now, and the suspense of not knowing what the damage is going to be like, killing me. If he makes Nascar damage perfect with roll overs and everything, im going to explode.

  49. Bakemono858

    That translation is wrong where he discussed tracks. It’s been stated that there will be 20 locations and 70 tracks

  50. CarBastard

    Whats weird about it is that I, being a spanish native speaker, thought of translating it for you but thought it was useless. I guess i was wrong ;).

    Thanks Jordan and Tenacious =).

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