March 29, 2023

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Gran Turismo “Legend” Yamauchi speaks to Unboxholics!

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Unboxholics team with a legend in the gaming industry, Kazunori Yamauchi.

He is the head of the development team Digital polyphony to Play Station And the creator of the beloved racing series Grand tour. Yamauchi began his career in 1994 with the cartoon racing game Motor Toon Grand Prix, which received a sequel in 1996. Then in 1997, he changed course with the first Gran Turismo on the PlayStation, which was not an infrequent commercial success, But it also swept the critics by storm, leaving its mark on the industry in many ways. The first Gran Turismo game is considered by many to be one of the most important video games of all time, with the series to date counting over 10 sequels and spin-offs and tens of millions in sales.

That first legendary game was just one of the topics of our conversation with Yamauchi, which took place on the occasion of the release of the latest Gran Turismo 7 update, which adds support for PlayStation VR2. Among other things, we talked about the future of virtual reality, the role of technology in the series, Polyphony Digital’s relationship to the automotive industry, what makes Gran Turismo different from the competition, and even the games Yamauchi plays in his spare time. .

The full interview follows. with a tick wide Unboxholics questions.

First of all, Mr. Yamauchi, I would like to say that it is my honor to speak because I have personally enjoyed your games since I was a child.

Since PlayStation VR 2 is the latest big addition to the game, I want to start with it. What distinguishes virtual reality in terms of the development process?

VR as a technology has been developed for about 50 years now. When it comes to racing games, VR was kind of the “end goal” as we wanted to see this type of game play. So, after decades of development, we can now offer that experience at the consumer level as well. As a creator this makes me very happy.

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What was the biggest challenge you faced while creating this new virtual reality experience?

Virtual reality requires two screens to work, so compared to viewing on a standard TV, there’s a lot more workload on the system, and in order to enable this high-speed rendering, we had to create a renderer that could actually do that. quickly. At the same time, we had to prepare other data that would reduce the load on the system, but maintain high image quality. These were two of the difficulties we faced and had to overcome to create a good experience in VR mode.

We can expect virtual reality to change or evolve in general gt experience7? For example, there are plans to make PS controllers compatible VR2 sense;

We think the compatibility with the DualSense controller and steering wheel is pretty good when it comes to racing games. However, in terms of what else we want to do with the development of virtual reality, we’re interested in motion sickness. It’s something that affects some people more and others less, because the way everyone feels motion sickness varies from person to person. Therefore, we would like to make some improvements and changes that will allow you to further customize the experience to the needs of each individual player.

Virtual reality was definitely a huge plus for the game. How do you see its development in the future?

The era of virtual reality has just begun. I think the way VR technology will integrate humanity into the future is something we haven’t seen happen yet. Technology will continue to evolve and I think we will see some changes on the people side as well, with more and more people getting comfortable and knowledgeable about using VR glasses. Virtual reality technology will improve the overall human experience as it develops more and more.

Let’s leave VR For a moment, because I want to ask you more general questions. Gran Turismo is a legendary franchise that has chapters for almost all PlayStation consoles. That is, it witnessed many technological developments, or rather, transformations! From the 2MB of RAM in the first PlayStation console to the virtual reality capabilities of the PS5. What role has technology played in the Gran Turismo series in general?

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Here at Polyphony Digital, as a studio, we have always been curious and stimulated by new technologies. This is why the games in the Gran Turismo series have always been developed with technology in mind, and this is something that will continue into the future.

AI Sophy from Gran Turismo is a very good example of this mentality. It is something that was created thanks to our curiosity about new technologies.

Aside from new technologies, how do you keep up with the latest developments in the automotive industry? How do these affect the way you approach game development?

It’s been 25 years since the first Gran Turismo was launched and over the years we’ve had a variety of different projects in collaboration with the car industry, such as the Vision Gran Turismo. Therefore, I think our relations with auto manufacturers are becoming closer.

There are many manufacturers trying to predict the future of cars and we are practically with them. We want to support their efforts and work together to see where the industry goes in the future.

I’d like to move on to some personal questions. Being a veteran of years in the industry, I know it’s hard to answer this question, but what’s your favorite memory from Gran development? Turismo And what are you most proud of?

I already have a lot of memories from making games, so it’s really hard to pin down one. However, I can say that the feeling of completing my first Gran Turismo game is something I will never forget. We were working on something that didn’t exist in the world. We took a long time to develop it and get it ready for the world, so when we released it, that moment would really be unforgettable.

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For the thing I’m most proud of, I’d like to start over with the first Gran Turismo. At that time, there was a very big distance and gap between the gaming industry and the automobile industry. But now with projects like Vision Gran Turismo and other successful projects we’ve done in collaboration with car manufacturers, this relationship that we’ve been able to create is something I’m proud of.

first gran Turismo It is already a legendary game and the fact that it has spawned a series that continues to this day attests to that. What do you think Gran does? Turismo To stand out from other races Games and racing sims;

As I personally think, we have an understanding of car design, an understanding of car mechanics and technology. By participating in the race myself, I have gained an understanding of all the different parameters that come into play in racing. So it’s about respecting all of those things, so that respect is what sets us apart.

Have you ever thought of making a different kind of game? This is not a race;

Yes, I’ve always wanted to, but the opportunity doesn’t come around often, so it just hasn’t happened yet.

Finally, I would like to ask you, do you play games on your personal time or do you prefer entertainment and activities that are not at all related to your work?

Yes, I play games like Minecraft with my kids for example, but when I have time to myself I usually spend that reading books.

Thank you so much for your time, it was my honor again!

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