Gran Turismo Creator Kazunori Yamauchi Answers Fan Questions in Reddit AMA
Kazunori Yamauchi is the creative genius and mastermind behind the entire Gran Turismo franchise. For 20 years he has been creating one of the greatest simulation racers of all time. He is currently hanging out at Goodwood with Nissan’s chief designer Shiro Nakamura to reveal the Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo car, and they decided to hop onto Reddit to do an Ask Me Anything (AMA).
While sadly I wasn’t informed in time to get any questions in, I can at least dig through for all the good parts and collect them here for you. They field questions about Gran Turismo as a whole, talk about features they want to add to Gran Turismo 7, and of course they also talk about racing, cars and the experience of Goodwood.
Some of the real highlights include the addition of the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge to the Gran Turismo games, the possible inclusion of custom tracks like El Capitan and Nissan even muses about the idea of a Nismo-tuned Titan pickup.
You can find all the big questions and their respective answers collected below.
Read on to find out all the questions and answers from today’s Reddit AMA
Hello Reddit! I’m a game designer, professional racing driver, and CEO of Polyphony Digital and producer of the Gran Turismo series.
What distinguishes the Gran Turismo franchise from every other racing game out there? What makes it special and better than all those others?
Kaz: That’s actually a really hard question to answer. First off, the game is being created by a car lover by myself. The second thing is that it’s rare for the same game to be worked on by the same team for over 20 years now. That’s one of the main reasons why we’ve been able to keep the feel of Gran Turismo the same throughout the franchise series.
What’s your favourite car to drive in the real world?
Shiro: I enjoy driving any type of car, but the Nissan GT-R is my favorite. Also... 1960s 240Zs are really nice. I really enjoy the diversity of 1960s Nissans.
Kaz: I think my answer kind of overlaps with Shiro a bit. Right now the car I really like driving the most is the Nissan GT-R GT3. It’s a car that only weighs 1350 Kg with 650 HP turbo engine and it’s rear-wheel drive, so it’s actually very challenging to drive.
What is your favorite game series that isn’t a racing game series?
Kaz: Recently I like games like Angry Birds and Plants & Zombies.
Hi Yamauchi san. When will the GPS race maker be released ?
Kaz: I think you’re talking about the track maker, the Beta version is already working and in my hands now. When we can deliver it to users is still up in the air.
Will the new sound engine make it in time for July update and will the physics engine be further improved to accommodate Nissan’s 2020 Vision GT car?
Kaz: The major update to the sound will be coming in GT7, so don’t expect anything on that front from the July update.
The Nissan 2020 Vision Gran Turismo has a different drive system where the front wheels are driven by an electric motor and the rear wheels are driven by a standard combustion engine, so it’s a hybrid system. We’re working on developing that system right now and we’re currently working on adjusting the recovery efficiency from the electric motors so that the car can complete a full lap on the Nurburgring using both gas and electric motor power.
Shiro: This is a very important part of Nissan’s designer’s vision — although it is still a pure design exercise, we did bring this to our product planning engineers to run this through them in order to get their take on everything from aerodynamics and powertrain. So it doesn’t just look beautiful, it’s realistically beautiful.
Would you be interested in doing an F1 game and what happened to Tourist Trophy?
Kaz: I actually love the F1 / Grand Prix. But that’s really a driver’s sport. There’s some distance there to actually making that into a game, but who knows — you might just discover it all of a sudden.
In the collaboration that was announced with the FIA, my objective now is to really revitalize and reconstruct motorsports. That’s also the dream of the FIA chairman and so that’s the goals that we’re working toward.
The last message in the FIA press conference was that this is for the expansion and prosperity of motorsports for the next 100 years. That’s exactly it — I’ve always wanted motorsports to become as popular as football or soccer and my feelings haven’t changed regarding that.
Hello, Mr. Yamauchi. First of all, let me tell you I love Gran Turismo since I was about 10, when I got GT2. I have all the GT games, and my question is very simple: Why is it that many tracks, like Midfield Raceway, Seattle, Red Rock Valley, Smokey Mountain, Thaiti Maze, Grand Canyon, El Capitan, etc are removed from GT6?
They are all original tracks, and they’re pretty good. I also feel like there is a lack of rally tracks, when you had such amazing tracks in previous games. And what about Pikes Peak? Thank you, and I hope I can finally forget this doubt that clouds me since GT5. Thank you.
Kaz: I’d like to have a lot of those tracks back in the game as well, but I guess you can say that even our production teams ride certain trends when they’re working. One of those is that we started out with all fantasy tracks when we first created Gran Turismo. But once the teams started researching methods of creating real tracks, that became the focus of their work, and less work was done on those fantasy tracks.
Though I think real, existing tracks are important, I also think that fully designed tracks are also very interesting and have their own place so I think that’s something to look for in GT7.
Mr. Yamauchi, on behalf of the photomode community, we thank you for creating one of the most realistic photography experiences in all of gaming. Many of us have been shooting since the days of GT4, and that alone has inspirired us, myself included, to have a career in photography. But we have concerns about the future of the feature we love the most. In GT6, photomode is really... lackluster in comparison of GT4 and GT5. There’s very few locations, in only 2 regions of the world. While the 2 car feature is a great addition, and the much quicker 2x resolution loading time is absolutely amazing, we feel like our main selling point of GT is eventually going to be put aside.
What is the future for photomode? In GT6’s lifetime, like will we see new photomode stages? like the ones in the Vision GT galleries, or even the dealership showroom, or more real life locations? Will we see lower shutter speeds for race replay photomode, like showcased with the FT-1 press shots? What about interior photomode, both during racing and photo travel? What about new features in general? We’ve created amazing art with what we’ve given, and Mr. Yamauchi, we need more. We feel like our passion is being neglected, since GT4, we may of had features added, but locations have been cut down, especially from GT5 to GT6.
So in overview, will photomode for GT6 see any improvements and added features, and new locations? And what about the future for Photomode with GT7 and even beyond?
Kaz: Gran Turismo actually really reflects my personal interests — cars, photography, and video/film. So photo mode is something that’s very important to me. So obviously I’m not pleased with the current rendition.
And I know how good it was in GT4, but it just so happened that the architecture of the PS3 wasn’t really suited for this feature. But in PS4, I’m going to try to make sure that there’s a photo mode that can satisfy any connoisseur of photography and you can really look forward to that — because as a photographer, I’m really not satisfied with what we have yet.
Shiro: Gran Turismo is such a good opportunity to see a car in any environment — this is great for any designer to see how their design will look in a variety of locations.
Upon launch we were told we were going to be getting monthly DLC of cars and tracks but it has yet to arrive yet. When do you expect it to come out?
Kaz: I think there might be a misunderstanding there. I think I said "almost" every month. I also didn’t say "DLC" per se, but that there would be an update almost every month.
On average we’re going through one to two updates per month. So I don’t think I have broken any promises. I think somewhere along the lines someone may have contorted my words. When you talk about things like Vision Gran Turismo as an example, we have over 30 cars that are going to be involved in that project and that was to be included in a year’s time. So when you look at it, my saying that there would be content released almost every month is not too far from the truth.
But the Vision Gran Turismo cars, each car is made with great care at each of the manufacturers, and we can’t control when those cars can be completed. So I ask for your understanding.
Shiro: Yeah, because those designers are SO lazy. (joke)
Mr. Nakamura and Mr. Yamauchi : Now that the Nissan VisionGT concept has been released , is there any possibility for the team to work on another concept together ? Or is it restricted to one concept per automaker ? ( maybe something inspired from the 240Z ? )
Shiro: Although we’ve completed this concept, we’re working together on the second concept — an Infiniti Vision concept — and we hope to be able to launch that sometime in the coming months.
Kaz: The Nissan and Infiniti concepts are very different... so it’s very interesting.
How’s the goodwood festival? Gutted me and my other half aren’t there! :(
Shiro: I like it very much. I’ve been here three times before. But particularly this time is very special as we’re unveiling one concept in real life, the Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo — plus showcasing two more concepts that we’ve shown at previous shows, the IDx and IDx NISMO.
If you could describe Gran Turismo 10, how would you imagine it?
Kaz: So regarding the next generation PS4 and beyond, there’s always ongoing research going forward at Polyphony Digital and Sony. There might be some technologies that may change the world and until recently I was thinking that video games might reach a saturation point but I found out that there’s much more to come and much more to look forward to in terms of technology of the future — not that I can discuss any details right now.
Hi. Thanks for the wonderful games. Could you tell us a bit more about Polyphony’s relationship with the car makers? What kind of obstacle if any you had to deal with to get real cars as detailed as they are in game?
Kaz: The relationship between Nissan and Polyphony is an old one. Probably starting around 1999 around GT2. And as you know, the hero car of GT1 and GT2 was of course, the GT-R. Back then it was the R32 and R33 GT-Rs. The package was a R33 GT-R and the Toyota Supra.
I was myself a GT-R owner, so there were personal reasons for wanting a collaboration or partnership. And really that led into a deep relationship. It’s not companies or corporations that make friends — it’s the people that make friends. Friendships then lead into taking on projects together.
So it’s the same with the G33 or the R35 — it’s really — they’re all projects that came from the friendship between myself and Shiro.
In regards to any obstacles with adding any detail, there’s no single obstacle that gets in the way. It’s really a lot of work for everyone involved. There are diligent efforts to make it happen.
This is a good opportunity so I want to really emphasize there’s an incredible amount of work to make this happen. A designer works for six months straight to bring a single model into the game. So undoubtedly, these designers are the ones who really support Gran Turismo.
Hello Kaz, huge fan!
Are there any manufacturers you would like to put into Gran Turismo but can’t due to licensing issues?
And can you please put a Subaru BRAT into the next Gran Turismo game?
Kaz: Yes. Porsche.
That’s also not an issue between Polyphony Digital and Porsche.
Regarding the Subaru BRAT, I won’t say we won’t include it.
Hello Yamauchi-San and Nakamura-San. My first question is directed to Nakamura-San: When will be there a good looking, fun to drive compact/subcompact in the same vein of the B13 Sentra, the March and the old Primeras/G20s (I own a Primera BTW)??. The most interesting cars Nissan offers are the high end ones, contrasting with the basic ones, that are cheap, but instead of cheerful are a bit soul-sucking. And also, why did you let the new Versa to be look like it looks now. Thanks for your Attention.
Yamauchi-San, GT teached me about the joys of balance and very little weight, making me wishing for a Miata, a Golf GTI Mk1 or a Lotus Elan. Also it has teached me about driving fast safely and enjoying the road IRL. When can we have back El Capitan??
Shiro: The question is always people looking for small, compact, and sporty cars. They’re definitely the most enjoyable and we’re investigating the opportunity. Our new IDx concept is precisely that. At the moment it’s just a concept, but I passionately like it. We can’t confirm it yet — but it’s the kind of car we’d like to build.
Kaz: As far as El Capitan, I believe I answered that above.
have you guys ever thought of making a nismo truck? could it incorporate the Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo and the Nissan Titan?
Shiro: A nismo Titan? A very interesting idea. We’ve never thought about it.
If you think about it, a big-engined truck is almost like a sports car. Two passengers, fun to drive — it’s a fun idea.
I will take your request back to the office with me.
Will the Vision GT cars eventually have cockpit view? Some (maybe all?) of the car companies have designed them eg Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin.
Kaz: We would LIKE to. Emphasize on "LIKE."
Shiro, I love the IDX concepts. Can you tell us what’s next for these amazing concepts? Will I be driving one soon?
Shiro: I think that we’re inspired a lot by the 510 and that era of compact sport cars and we want to find out how we can bring back that spirit again.
We have the GT-R, but we know that you want a lighter, maybe less powerful, but still fun to drive car like that. Our designers — really, all young people — want a car like that.
Even looking at the interior, as the world of cars are becoming more complex, we wanted to even look for a way to make that as simple as possible.
What inspired you to make games?
Kaz: My starting to create games was really a coincidence from the beginning. I’d always dreamed of becoming a movie director. When I was young, seeing Sony purchase Columbia, I figured that working for a company that owned a theater company would allow me to become that. But it just so happened that I was assigned to a new team making video games.
In terms of making the games, I’d started fiddling with code at the age of ten, but that was really just a hobby, I never meant for it — or thought — it would become my life’s work.
This year we saw more of the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge styling exercise at Goodwood . Hopefully there will be a production model, but, even if there isn’t be a production model, can you please bring it to GT ? 6 or 7 , doesn’t matter :)
Shiro: Sure. Why not? We like the design and we like the performance. We’ll start working with Yamauchi-san immediately.
This is a classic example of fans asking for something, us listening, and we’re both here together, and we’ll make it happen.
Kaz: I’ll add it to the huge chopping list of Gran Turismo cars.
Would i be right in saying that The Goodwood Festival of Speed is the best car show in the world?
Shiro: This is one of the best mixes of a car show and a driving event. It’s interactive — this mix is very special. It’s one of a kind.
Kaz: Rather than being a motor show, Goodwood Festival of Speed is like a huge party that’s hosted by a single man and I think that everyone has an experience of hosting a small party at a home for a few guests. But when you think about it from the point of view of a single person hosting a party this big, it’s very interesting.
It’s also a very fun learning experience. I think every time I visit, the incredible passion and fun comes directly from Lord March, who makes this possible.
Kaz and Shiro: Thank you everyone for all of your interesting and inspiring questions. As we saw we were able to get not only great questions but great ideas from all of you as well!
I wish we could have answered all of your questions, but we have to get back to Goodwood to enjoy the amazing Festival of Speed.