During an El33tonline attended presentation for Gran Turismo 6 at gamescom 2013, we were able to get up close (but not personal) with the legendary Kazunori Yamauchi, a game developer and designer who has for many years been the driving visionary behind the long-running (and unbelievably successful) Gran Turismo series of realistic racing games.
Yamauchi approached the presentation as a press conference in its own right, slowly and steadily announcing an impressive list of car manufacturers all contributing designs and effort towards Gran Turismo 6, and a special collaboration that Polyphony refers to as the ‘Vision GT Project.’
Manufacturers like Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW and Honda, alongside creators such as Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot, SRT(Chrysler), Volkswagen and Zagato, as well as Nissan, Alpine, Bertone, GM Design, Infiniti, Italdesign Giugiaro and even the Jordan Brand and Nike, will all create concept model cars and vehicles in order to give “a unique insight into the future of the automotive sector.” Of course, the Gran Turismo team will recreate the designs as working in-game cars for us to race with.
Yamauchi explained that the manufacturers held internal contests for their designers to come up with the very best, most visionary car concept – only the top design from each car maker will make it into Gran Turismo 6. Each car will be released as downloadable content, but Yamauchi and the team isn’t yet sure if they will be provided as free content or if they will require a fee to download.
Gran Turismo 6 Concept Movie – Vision Gran Turismo
El33tonline asked how the relationship between the car manufacturers and Polyphony developed – did they approach the developer or did Yamauchi go out asking for contributions – to which the designer replied:
“A lot of times the automobile manufacturers will contact us with models that they want to sell, but for the Vision GT Project we asked the manufacturers to provide designs for us.”
During a question and answer session following the presentation, Yamauchi revealed that while he would like to have all tracks featured in Gran Turismo 6 have both night and day versions of the courses, it will prove difficult to achieve this, but famous endurance race locations such as Nurburgring, Spa Francorchamp, Daytona and Le Mans will all definitely have day and night variants. As for other variants, like a rally version of the Goodwood stage, Yamauchi would like to include that but it won’t be ready for day one.
As for plans for the new course maker in Gran Turismo 6, Yamauchi and his team are preparing something “fundamentally different” to what was available in Gran Turismo 5, with an area of 100 kilometres by 100 kilometres available for players to lay out their tracks.
Gran Turismo Goes to Hollywood
The conversation then turned to the announced Gran Turismo movie, and an attendee asked what will be different about the planned film and what the story might entail. Yamauchi revealed that offers from movie companies to make such a movie have been coming in for over seven years – once every year – and the team has continued to turn those offers down.
The reason the GT movie was approved this time was because it wasn’t just a “car action movie,” and seemed to place more of a focus on a singular driver and his growth in maturity throughout the movie. Yamauchi confirmed that the movie will be based on the true life story of Lucas Ordóñez and how he developed into a racer thanks to the Gran Turismo Academy programme.
“I think the movie will start with something like a mom worried about his son who is always playing videogames, with the movie ending with him as a full-fledged world famous racing car driver,” Yamauchi said.
Making a Mark
When it comes to car customisation, more will be revealed at this year’s Tokyo Game Show but Yamauchi warned us to temper expectations as a full set of liveries probably won’t make it into Gran Turismo 6.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Kazunori Yamauchi would take part in this year’s Goodwood racing festival by taking to the track himself, and we asked about his experiences there but it turns out that he didn’t make it due to work on Gran Turismo 6:
“I wanted to but this year there was just too much going on with development of GT 6 that I couldn’t attend.”
When pressed a little further, we asked how his experiences driving on real race courses in real racing machines have been folded back into the development of Gran Turismo, and GT 6 in particular, to which he replied:
“That is a really long story… But especially in the last five years, I’ve been involved in racing myself and there was a lot of feedback that I was able to get from that experience. That involves not just technical parts of feedback, but emotional things as well.”
As it turns out, Yamauchi reckons that he’s pretty good at his own games and was confident he could have ranked in the top fifty players in the world in Gran Turismo 4 and Gran Turismo 5, and even in the second GT Academy he was able to get himself into that top fifty.
“Now that I’ve become older, however, that last second has become really difficult to shave off… which really makes me sad!” he lamented.
Gran Turismo 6 – gamescom 2013 Screenshots
Gran Turismo 6 is out on December 6th exclusively on PlayStation 3 – check out El33tonline’s previous looks at the racer for more information, screenshots and videos.
Also follow El33tonline’s coverage of gamescom 2013 for our continued impressions from the show this year, with photos, sights, sounds and more to come.