While I sit here enjoying and strolling through Gran Turismo 5 Prologue, Spanish game site MeriStation has recently conducted an interview with Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi. Kaz reiterates certain things he's mentioned before and states some new tidbits. First, Kaz makes it a point to mention that Prologue is not an indication of the final product and that it's simply to test the reaction of the hardcore Gran Turismo fans, and to perfect the online network.

He also states that, contrary to initial belief that the cars use some of Gran Turismo 4's architecture, they don't. The cars in Gran Turismo 5 are completely modeled from scratch – nothing has been recycled. Furthermore, they've modeled car interiors with faithful precision, including the texture of the steering wheel, to lining on the upholstery – and after playing GT5: Prologue, we can attest to this. As mentioned before, it'll take one man alone six months to model a car, and one man alone one year to model a track. Thankfully, there are 30 people working simultaneously on track detail, in addition to 90 others doing various other programming and modeling tasks.

When asked if and why GT5 is the best driving sim, Kaz states it's because the game has soul, which translates to realism. Everything about GT5 is realistically detailed, the sound, the environments, and especially the cars. With that realism in mind, he's stated that Sony has been great at providing the team total freedom, and that they only limitation is a targeted launch date. Ultimately, Kaz states that because he is a perfectionist, Kaz will delay the game if he has to. At the moment, Sony and Polyphony are pinning the game for a Christmas 2008 release.

Now, what about damage? Well, good news, there are a variety of damage models being tested internally at Polyphony Digital. The challenge is choosing one that isn't hyper-realistic to the point where a single, tiny error destroys your car and throws you out of a race when you've completed 90% of it. Additionally, because Gran Turismo 5 is dealing with hundreds of cars, covering virtually every manufacturer, some car brands still don't want to see their cars getting damaged, while others don't mind. And so the issue is out of Polyphony's hands, forcing them to prevent certain cars from being damaged. So while most should be damageable, there will be some that won't be.

Moreover, Gran Turismo Portable is still in the works, and it will arrive no longer as a game based on Gran Turismo 4, but a game to compliment Gran Turismo 5. Kaz states he will release the PSP's GT shortly after the release of GT5, so early 2009 looks like the time frame — a one year wait, not bad. Oh, and get this, after they've released GT5, they're still going to spend another year on tweaking online to make sure it's as stable as possible for the users. You'd expect the guys to take a vacation, right? Well, in the 15 years of development behind the Gran Turismo series, there has never been one. But don't feel too bad, Kaz and the team are well rewarded…Kaz has two Ford GTs, a Porsche 911 GT3, a Nismo 350Z Spec-R (modded), Spoon S2000 (modded), and a host of others. The entire Polyphony parking lot is well decorate with beautiful vehicles.

Look for our hands-on coverage of Gran Turismo 5: Prologue to pop up soon.

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