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Kazunori Yamauchi Talks Gran Turismo PSP, GT5

Connectivity with the PS3, technical feats and more discussed.


Polyphony Digital CEO Kazunori Yamauchi fielded questions from the Japanese press at E3 regarding the PSP version of Gran Turismo. Here's a bit of what the driving master said during a group interview session as reported at 4 Gamer and Inside Games.

Leaks aside, Gran Turismo, as the new PSP installment is known, was a big surprise for E3 given that many had probably assumed it to have as much chance of actually coming out as that supposed remake of Final Fantasy VII. Yamauchi told the gathered press, "I recall making the announcement at 2004's E3, so five years have passed. We'd started development at that point, but in between there was GT5 Prologue and Tourist Trophy, and in the end five years passed."

As major points for the game's development, Yamauchi cited the ways they'd be making use of the fact that the game is on a system that players can carry with them, and how they'd make the game properly compatible with the slightly varying PSP hardware revisions. On this latter point, he noted that the PSP revisions may have different screen size, contrast, brightness and slight changes to control feel. "We're making adjustments so that it can be playable suitably on all versions," he said.

As for those portable-style features, Yamauchi brought up, of course, Ad-hoc support. As previously detailed, the game will support four players for wireless races. Additionally, players will be able to share and trade cars. The game will have cars that can only be shared, cars that can only be traded, cars that can be both shared and traded, and cars that can be neither traded nor shared. The vast majority of the cars will allow for both trading and sharing, though. Asked what cars would be locked of from both sharing and trading, Yamauchi said to wait for the final release to find out.

For those wanting online play, Yamauchi confirmed that Infrastructure Mode would not be supported. It doesn't appear that anyone asked about Ad-Hoc Party support, although this is a common thing for PSP games nowadays.

Gran Turismo splash from the GT official site.

In addition to connectivity with other PSP units, the game may end up hooking up with console Gran Turismo games. "We're aiming to allow you to carry over your PSP garage data to the console. It's difficult to start from one car every time a new version comes out." It should be noted that Yamauchi did not specifically say "Gran Turismo 5" here.

While some players are probably content with collecting a full fleet of cars from scratch with each GT release, Yamauchi noted, "In recent years, casual game users have been increasing. We expect there to be a large number of first time Gran Turismo players with the PSP version." To reach these players, and to make the game more fitting for a portable machine, Yamauchi said that they're implementing some features that will allow you to progress through the game in short 15 to 20 minute play bursts. Referring to things like the 24 hour endurance races of the console versions, he said, "It's doubtful people would play this on a portable machine."

The PSP entry appears to be quite the technical marvel. In addition to 60 frames per second visual output, the simulation engine has elements of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (Spec III). For car data, the game uses data from Gran Turismo 4 and Tourist Trophy.

One technical marvel from GT5 is not carrying over. The PSP entry will not model car interiors and will only offer external and cockpit views.

The car data is pulled straight from GT4.
Just a sampling of what will end up being over 800 cars.

Expectedly, Yamauchi did not speak too much about Gran Turismo 5. Asked about the message players were meant to take from the short E3 trailer, he said "WRC is an extremely European motor sport. NASCAR is an extremely American motor sport. We showed those two. That's it. (laughs)."

In addition to the NASCAR and WRC logos, the trailer showed crashes. "This is something that was wanted for a long time, and we thought we'd add it if we had the chance, so we put it on our list. At a technical level, it's possible to replicate anything. All that remains is a question of priorities. For example, weather changes, wipers, etc."

Sadly, he wouldn't share any release information for the game.

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