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Kazunori Yamauchi Talks Gran Turismo 5

The GT master details A spec, B spec, dynamic weather and more.

Sony's sweet Gran Turismo 5 PS3 bundle, announced today along with the game's domestic release date.

Joining today's Gran Turismo 5's release date announcement, we have some commentary on the game from producer Kazunori Yamauchi himself courtesy of this week's Famitsu.

Famitsu has a full look at the various announcements that Sony made (or in some cases will be making -- Famitsu actually hits shelves tomorrow) for Gran Turismo 5 in Germany at the Gamescon event. These include:

The GT Life Menu
Car dealer, license and other areas return for this core part of the GT experience. A spec and B spec modes have separate menus.
Realtime Weather Changes
Past GT games have had static weather. In GT5, some races will see dynamic weather changes as you race. You'll need to adjust your settings and strategy in accordance with the weather.
Take 3D Photos in Photo Mode
GT5 was already confirmed to be compatible with 3D output for when you race, and has been demoed in such a state at multiple events (the box even has a logo boasting of 3D compatibility). Sony has now revealed that you can take 3D pictures in the game's photo mode. You can view these pictures on 3D compatible televisions and photo viewers.
My Lounge in the Online Menu
The game's main online menu adds a "my lounge" community area which can only be entered by certain users. Using this lounge area, you can chat and play with just your friends. Of course, the game also has open matching as well.

Yamauchi discussed these and other areas of the game in a short interview with the magazine.

Famitsu first pointed out that the Gamescom announcements at last detail some of GT5's gameplay systems. Yamauchi replied that the announcements represent just a part of what's being worked on over at Polyphony.

As a major feature for GT5, Yamauchi mentioned that the game gives equal billing to A Spec and B Spec modes. In the previous GT, B Spec was included as an experimental component. In GT5, however, both A Spec and B Spec modes can be played from start to finish. They're both full experiences. The race categories and other areas are basically the same between the two.

"Basically" the same, but not identical. There are some differences. A certain race in A spec will be three laps, while the same race in B spec will be 15 minutes. The reason for such differences is that B spec is meant to be a mode where players can enjoy strategy.

Yamauchi feels that GT5 makes clearer the difference between A spec and B spec. Both have been built up as individual games.

For B spec mode, the driver growth component has been made more detailed. GT5 adds in elements of driver personality, physical strength and mental strength. Drivers may get tired during long drives and becoming more mistake prone. Driver management has become more important for GT5.

So why did Yamauchi and crew want to make B spec into a true mode with GT5? Explained Yamauchi, GT5's user base consists of two types of players, those who have great skills, and those who simply like cars and races but aren't particularly good at gaming. The team wanted to deal with the problem of only some players being successful at the game. Making it so that players of all levels can enjoy the game in the same way requires some extremely tough balance on the development team's part. The B spec specification is one answer to this issue.

B spec is not just a mode meant to help beginners, of course. Yamauchi pointed out that only B spec gives players the feeling being a team leader and raising a driver while enjoying the occasional happening.

He also noted that you can have multiple drivers on your team. This can be useful for long races, as you can switch out drivers.

Outside of the A spec and B spec modes, Famitsu also asked Yamauchi about the game's My Lounge feature. As detailed above, this lounge is a private area for your friends. Yamauchi noted that players in your lounge can sit and watch races, or they can shout out jeers, which are heard by drivers.

One of the reasons My Lounge exists is because in the "open match" online system of past GT games, the online lobbies turned into an area just for top players. Yamauchi feels that this is useful if you want a true challenge, but if you want something slower and more relaxed, My Lounge is good.

Yamauchi also mentioned one additional enjoyable element about the My Lounge area. Each player has their own lounge, so players can experience the fun of going to a friends place to play the game.

Turning to the dynamic weather system, Yamauchi said that this is an area that's still undergoing adjustments. This is why they can't say at present if it's something that will be available in all courses and for all races.

On the topic of changes to the game's photo mode, Yamauchi mentioned the 3D photo support and encouraged everyone to try it out, even though it requires a 3D compatible TV or photo viewer.

Japanese interviews usually end with the interviewee giving some general message to users. Not this time! Yamauchi closed off with a surprise. He revealed that GT5 will feature a revival of the Racing Modify menu, an option that was last featured in GT2. It won't work for all the game's cars, of course, but the staff is trying to realize it for the cars players will be expecting.

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