Kaz Yamauchi: Exclusive GT4 Catch-Up
We catch up with Polyphony Digital President and GT4 Producer Kazunori Yamauchi to find an impressive personal motoring history. New GT4 details inside!
Since we spoke to Polyphony Digital front man Kazunori Yamauchi a year ago, it seems like tonnes has happened in the world of Gran Turismo. We had the teaser release of Gran Turismo 4 Prologue in Japan late last year and in Europe last month, not to mention an impressive second E3 showing last month as well. Everything's happened, in fact, except for the game actually seeing a release.
Now scheduled to hit shelves in November, Gran Turismo 4 is unquestionably in top form. We caught up with Kaz Yamauchi just recently, for a quick and exclusive chat about some of his more personal motoring experiences... plus a detail or two on the game.
Kaz was quick to reveal that, despite a furious development schedule, accidents during the making of Gran Turismo 4 have been kept to a minimum. "During the development of GT3, we didn't crash any cars at all, so we were confident about that going into GT4 - until recently, when one of the staff members crashed a Mazda Roadster MX5! But that was the only crash this time. There were more crashes of course, looking back at GT1 and GT2 - but by GT3, we've now 'grown up' with the cars, so there are fewer accidents."
We were also curious as to Kaz's personal motoring history and which cars he's owned to date - given he's surely the ultimate fanatic. He takes us through his personal list of cars, as if recalling beautiful, prized trophy girlfriends. "The history of cars I've personally owned starts with Toyoto Corolla - used, as I got it from somebody. The next one was also used, the Suzuki Alto - not the Alto Works but the standard Alto."
He'd only just tapped the gas so far: "Next I stepped up to a Celica XX. Following that was the Skyline GTR R32, after that was the Mitsubishi FTO GPX, then the Mitsubishi Evo 5, after that is the Honda S-2000. And around about that same time, the Porsche GT3 and Mercades AMG SL55. And after that is the Nissan 350Z."
And to top it all off, Kaz revealed: "And, just yesterday, I signed a contract to buy a Ford GT!" We, along with the assembled group of PR reps and translators, were all momentarily united in awe. This man really likes cars. He explained the decision behind the GT: "That was the sports car I wanted most, because the original GT40 was made in the year that I was born."
|Kazunori: Bought a Ford GT.|
Our time with Kaz was rather limited this time, so we asked one burning question related to the game, regarding camera angles. One of the biggest additions to GT4 that we saw in Prologue was the fixed viewpoint behind the vehicle - the one where the camera is locked in position behind - so that you never see the sides of the car. We asked why this view had been added - and will there be more views, like a bonnet view?
Kaz's answer reveals the kind of attention to detail that is making GT4 the most advanced driving simulator ever. "Regarding the viewpoint you mentioned, yes that's new. I had always been aware that, with the camera fixed behind the car, it's easier than the other viewpoint behind the car that sways. Obviously because with fixed it is easier to visualise or see the course. However by doing so, the gameplay in terms of the dynamics of the car and the movement is reduced."
He continues, "I've always been aware of the fact that this viewpoint was something users looked for in a racing game, but I always try to recommend the drivers' viewpoint. But by looking at the trends and characteristics in gamers who select viewpoints, I think although drivers' viewpoint is key, this new view was important to answer the needs of the users."
"And to answer your question regarding any additional camera angles - I am considering a rooftop camera."
You heard it here first! Stay tuned for a lot more on Gran Turismo 4 as we approach the scheduled November release, and be sure to check our related articles for gallons of five star premium archived coverage.Editorial Director, Kikizo Games