Kazunori Yamauchi On The Competition & How GT Sport Can Change The World

by Matthew Kato on Jun 14, 2017 at 10:20 AM

Developer Polyphony Digital just announced that GT Sport is coming out this fall, and we had a chance to chat with creator Kazunori Yamauchi on a few subjects.

How did the recent closed beta go, and what did you learn from it? 
The closed beta was really a test for us to find out things we couldn't find out on our own. It really picks up on the most stressful parts of the game, really. We did learn a lot, and we did get a lot of feedback from the community that gave us new ideas of things that we need to work on that will be implemented into the game. The feedback we got from the community was that they were really having fun playing it, so that was a really good surprise.

Has your philosophy of racing video games changed through all the different platforms, technology advances, and competition through the years? 
When I see all the different competitor titles out there now, it sort of reminds me of the things I had in mind when I was thinking about the game in my younger years. So I understand what they're thinking and what their motives are. But I think for me now, after making the game, driving all the different circuits around the world, and actually participating in the races, my focus is to really offer only something I can give as a gift to the players and community.

In general, it seems like you are less interested in approaching Gran Turismo as a game per se, and making it more about the cars themselves. 
That might be true. One thing that I've noticed in recent years is that Gran Turismo is sort of really very Japanese because when I was first making the game when I was younger I thought I was making something that was going to be very global, worldwide. When I look back at the title now, you see the level of detail we pursue, and the process of game making that goes through that, there's something that's really distinctly Japanese, so all these years I thought I was making something global, and it turned out to be more Japanese than I initially thought. But it's very true that Gran Turismo is really not just a game. Because while it is deeply rooted in the games industry, we've always made challenges to see how we could affect society and how we could change the world.

Microsoft has just announced the Xbox One X system, and touted its power. Meanwhile, Sony has the PS4 Pro. I was interested how you think you might be affected by the Xbox One X and what Microsoft can do with that console. 
For example, going from the PS1 to the PS2, there was about a hundred times improvement in the processing power of the systems. But, now when the hardware generations change, there's no longer such a big leap in performance – maybe 50 percent increase or 60 percent increase – something along those lines. And when that happens, it actually becomes difficult to really change the expressions possible in games just due to the hardware power. So what I think is that, the challenge from now on regarding the development in video games is really going to be about the senses and the [inaudible] and just having that right touch. For creators like ourselves it's a good thing.