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Gran Turismo 7, an automobile cathedral; with Kazunori Yamauchi - MeriStation

2021-09-16T13:22:08.979Z

We interviewed the president of Polyphony Digital and creator of Gran Turismo on the occasion of the seventh installment of the saga; a return to the origins.



Gran Turismo has never been content to be just a driving saga. Emblem of

PlayStation

for twenty-five years, the license headed by Kazunori Yamauchi has established itself as a series where you can

enjoy the pleasure of driving

; to contemplate your car on a starry night; to take care of each component of your vehicle; and to compete. When we speak of “a car RPG” we are inevitably referring to Gran Turismo, whose creative philosophy is closely linked to its creator's passion for four wheels. The arrival of Gran Turismo 7 on March 4, 2022 for PS5 and PS4 means, in reality, a

return to the origins

. Those that many long for and that, in the words of Yamauchi himself, is

a necessary return to be able to direct the future

.

MeriStation has had the opportunity to interview Kazunori Yamauchi, president of Polyphony Digital and creator of Gran Turismo, in a conversation focused not so much on the past, but on the immediate present that is presented with this numbered seventh episode.

The extended trailer that we saw at the PlayStation Showcase opted for nostalgia and forcefulness;

for mixing in just three minutes the sumptuousness of the song

Moon Over The Castle

interpreted with an organ plus an electric

Chaos at the Spaceship.

The constant references to the first four installments of the series were no coincidence.

Let's get a closer look at what Gran Turismo 7 is and why Polyphony Digital aims to make it the ultimate installment.

Kazunori Yamauchi, photographed on the occasion of Gran Turismo 7 in 2021 |

PlayStation

A link between generations: 150 years of motorsport

“When we finished the development of Gran Turismo Sport we wanted the next title in the series to be something that would

connect the past with the present and the present with the future,

” he begins by explaining.

Gran Turismo Sport has established the license with a fervent e-sports competitive scene.

We are talking about championships in the middle of the world with a professional level of driving in many cases.

Not surprisingly, the 2017 title left behind the

traditional

single-player

experience

, the one that now returns more expanded than ever with an ambitious Campaign Mode.

The

GT Campaign

mode

, the classic, returns in a big way, as we have seen in the trailers. From a second-hand car to a rollout of cylinders with which to reach the top of international competitions, dealerships, workshops and tests to obtain all licenses will be the pillars of a

single player

experience

that “will

definitely allow you to play during hundreds of hours

”. In contrast to the previous iteration, are back the Performance Points (

Points Performance

or PR), the car measurement system to determine how competitive they are for a given test.

Those who played Gran Turismo 5 Prologue back in the day (since the Spec II update) will especially remember it, as it was one of the most applauded things about Gran Turismo 5 and Gran Turismo 6 by precisely limiting which cars can participate in an event.

Weight, engine power, weight distribution and other variables that resulted in a very balanced system.

"The Performance Points (PR) will also return, but now with a more complex simulation to calculate the scores", added to the renewed tuning, in which we have more room for modification than ever.

Oil, spoiler, tires ...

When asking Yamauchi about the map change from 2D to 3D, it is due to "a decision of the designers".

Now it is more visual.

Regarding the

accessibility options

, the veteran director assumes that accessibility is "an important objective that we had set ourselves" with Gran Turismo 7. On the one hand, to meet the expectations of those most staunch to the saga; on the other, "get closer to those inexperienced young people who are going to play with their colleagues" and who do not necessarily have experience with this type of more demanding titles. "Now we will have different characters that will appear at specific points in the game to explain what you have to do, specific things about cars, etc.", a kind of tutorials that will help understand the automotive world for those who need it. "It is a feature designed for the uninitiated in the saga." In general, for him the campaign mode is

a driving school

.

Five types of licenses.

The road to superlicense;

reminiscent of GT1 from GT2.

Variable and real-time weather, AI enhancements and graphical settings

At the end of the presentation of the PlayStation Showcase, the official PlayStation blog assured that Gran Turismo 7 will have a new technology for meteorological recreation on the circuits, with conditions for a multitude of weather and lighting circumstances. All this added to a faithful recreation of water particles and aerosols through high resolution and HDR photographs that have been taken in various parts of the world. As a result, Yamauchi anticipates that the sky will be more real and complex. And yes, it confirms that

the changing weather will be in real time during the gameplay

. It may start out cloudy and end up raining as sun rays peek through the clouds and hit the front moon.

Another detail that should be noted in the technical section is the possibility of choosing between two graphic options in the PS5 version. As works such as Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales or Ratchet & Clank: A separate dimension did in the past and in their own way, in Gran Turismo 7 we can choose two graphic options on PS5: one that will

prioritize image quality

and another that will give

frame rate preference

. They confirm that

one of them will be in 4K resolution and at 60 FPS

, although they did not specify if it will be dynamic resolution.

A recurring theme in every installment of Gran Turismo is

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

.

We have taken this opportunity to ask Yamauchi what we can expect in this regard and if there will be any notable improvements.

“When it comes to AI development, it's something you can never be entirely satisfied with;

but compared to GT Sport,

the AI ​​is faster and they will drive in a more humane way than they did in the past

. "

At the moment, we do not know what the stars mean.

Rarity?

Vehicle status?

This is the renewed second-hand dealer.

PS5 and SSD memory, a perfect marriage

The PS5 hardware boasts a lot of things. From an

SSD

memory

more than a hundred times faster than PS4 hard drives to an architecture that only poses facilities, especially for a genre like simulation, which can serve as an example of what a platform is capable of. Yamauchi admits to being delighted. “

Working with PlayStation 5 has been very positive because it is a platform that is very easy to develop with

. PS4 was already considerably better than PS3 in terms of ease of development, but PS5 is even better, so it was a very good experience. " With this platform, “the level of expression possible in a video game is taken to the next level. Really

you can feel that when you are developing a game a new level is set, a new standard

; you can feel it. We wanted to look back on the history of Gran Turismo when working on PS5 and bring

all the heritage and great things we had in the past to the present

. "

Trial Mountain and High-Speed ​​Ring are two flagship Gran Turismo circuits. This time they are back with changes and improvements that adapt the layout to a greater variety of vehicles and current technology. “In previous games, you had to work hard to get the most out of the consoles back then. This meant that optimizing the tracks required cutting or eliminating many details and focusing on the road surface, ”he adds. Now you don't have to give up practically anything. “With PS5 there is much more leeway thanks to its processing power. Now we are able to express a wider world and improve the density of detail of what you are seeing on the screen ”.

The

PS5's

SSD memory will

allow timeouts to virtually disappear.

You select track and ... to run.

"When it comes to

loading times

, I don't think you can really appreciate them at all," says Yamauchi.

When asked for more precision in his presentation, he assures that we can estimate "

approximately one second

" on the loading screens.

GT Café is back;

for the pleasure of collecting cars

For Yamauchi,

Gran Turismo 7 is also a car collecting video game

. If before you only completed the campaign with a dozen vehicles, now the progress goes the other way, without so many difficulties to get new cars; but compensating for that progression in the settings and configuration that we dedicate to each vehicle.

GT Café

will have a certain encyclopedic character superior to that of yesteryear, since it will be here where we will have to complete missions to acquire cars from all over the world… traveling all over the world. Apart from Brand Central (the dealerships) and the second-hand car workshop, GT Café is another more

gamified

way

of getting cars and expanding our collection.

A museum with an à la carte menu

.

You have a coffee, you pass some tests and you get a compact.

"

Gran Turismo 7 is on a mission to pass on automotive culture and automotive history to future generations

."

The game will contemplate more than 150 years of automobile history, with cars from two centuries ago to other

futuristic

concept cars

that we cannot even see on the street.

“And I think it's something that only Gran Turismo is capable of doing these days.

We have that responsibility ”, he adds.

The interpreter who has mediated during our interview assures that Yamauchi wants to express his love for the automotive world in this game.

The purpose of this revamped GT Café is to get players to collect and create a car collection

.

We will be able to learn a lot about a large number of brands ”, both by countries and by continents.

For example, there will be driving missions designed on Japanese circuits whose rewards will be Japanese vehicles of certain categories.

As in GT Sport, the interface and distribution of elements on the screen is similar: daily miles, level, experience, credits, selected car ...

“If you just want to focus on getting the fastest cars, the ones you need to just complete the game, you will likely make it to the end with a total of 10 or so in your garage. This is how previous Gran Turismo was structured, but we realized that in order to be able to transmit the culture of the car that is not appropriate ”. Polyphony Digital wants us to find the charm not only of those vehicles capable of reaching 200 kilometers per hour in a matter of seconds, but all of them. This balance will be essential to convey that purpose of "getting hold of everyone."

In total,

at the launch there will be more than 400 cars and more than 30 circuits

; a figure that will increase to

more than 100 traces

if we add all the variables. When asked about the post-launch content expansion plan and if this policy will be similar to that of Gran Turismo Sport, we did not receive an answer because they could not talk about it at this time.

One of the reasons why the development of the game has taken so long in time is due to the time required to design and recreate each car in three dimensions.

In the words of Yamauchi himself, "we have been able to improve over the years", now they do not need as much time as before because "the efficiency of the workflow has improved enormously", but his aspirations to achieve the maximum level of detail makes It took them "

about six months in total to create each car

."

DualSense: a controller designed for driving games

Gran Turismo 7 wants to be a video game for all audiences, without this serving to intimidate those who believe that the nuclear, demanding and profound experience of the saga is going to be put aside. Reaching more types of audiences means facilitating access to those less experienced users. The

simracing

can also be

arcade

, or

simcade

; from Polyphony Digital they assure that this combination is possible with the title that concerns us. The DualSense controller, without considering only its technological repertoire, has dazzled the creative.

“With the DualSense we have taken advantage of the use of

the adaptive triggers to simulate the vibrations of the ABS while activating them

.

It's a

gimmick

, but it's effective.

The most important thing is how much control has improved thanks to the DualSense controller.

Now you can compete against the best in the FIA ​​Gran Turismo championships using a steering wheel and take them on with DualSense, ”says Yamauchi, without seemingly as much of a difference as before.

Gran Turismo 7 and the competition: learning from Gran Turismo Sport

The beginnings of Gran Turismo Sport were marked by criticism and lack of consensus for creative decisions more focused on the online experience than the traditional single player;

but little by little it was evolving until now it is an unrecognizable product in relation to four years ago.

Its competitive scene is experiencing one of its best moments on an international scale.

The interface becomes more intuitive and friendly;

with option to activate tutorials if we consider it appropriate.

"Gran Turismo 7 is going to do everything that Gran Turismo Sport was capable of, but with

improvements in usability and the quality of the network

."

Servers have always been a problem for those who play via wireless (Wi-Fi).

We will have to wait until next March to see how matchmaking works, latency and other aspects such as the number of simultaneous players per game.

They will offer more details soon.

Gran Turismo 7

will be released on

March 4, 2022

for PlayStation 5 and PS4.

The interview was conducted by video call with Kazunori Yamauchi, president of Polyphony Digital, with the mediation of an interpreter and PlayStation officials.

Source: elparis

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