Hooniverse Asks: What do you want to ask Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of Gran Turismo?

Later this week I will have an opportunity to chat with Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of Gran Turismo videogame series. This is really something special for me as Gran Turismo is really the only videogame I play at any extent. I have had every generation of the game and I have almost competed almost all of them.

While there are other games, games that are in some ways better than Gran Turismo, the fact is Gran Turismo really set the standard for driving game. It was the first game that allowed the player to choose the car that he or she may actually own and modify it accordingly, and somewhat realistically. In its time it was the most realistic driving game, too. And most of all it has always celebrated true enthusiast car culture with frequent historical tales in the later games.

Throughout its renditions the game changed focus from car modifications to driver involvement. Attention was moved from car improvements to driver improvements, from power to handling, from lowering springs to tire type. It sprung the GT Academy, which gave a chance to serious driving videogamers to become actual racing drivers. 

The next chapter of Gran Turismo is upon us and there will be a lot of news regarding it this weekend. I have the feeling that I could probably chat with Kazunori Yamauchi for several hours. But if you have any specific questions, please ask below and I will relay them.

Image source: The Drive.

East Coast Editor. Races crappy cars and has an unhealthy obsession with Eastern Bloc cars. Current fleet: 4Runner, Integra, Regal, Lada

18 Comments

  1. Is GT Academy officially dead? I don’t think there’s been one since 2016, but I don’t recall them announcing its end.

  2. What was the moment, when did he actually understand how big it was in the sense of social impact, shaping the culture? Did he just follow through with the project and got an excited call three weeks after release, was everything scaled already in huge, or did he start against resistance but with an inner glow and consciousness “this will be IT!”?

  3. I’m assuming the “favourite car” and “what do you want to add” have been done to death.

    Maybe what is the coolest GT playing story that someone has told him?

    1. In the same vein…”how many of the GT cars have you actually driven”? It’s a simple question, probably asked too many times, but if I were in his shoes…that’s a logical way to spend some of that fame.

  4. First off, supremely jealous.

    As for the questions:
    1) Kaz mentioned he was interested in creating an open world online driving game several years ago (in the GT5 days) where it was less about racing and more about interacting with others on the road. Is that still something they are interested in? I believe it was referred to as “C-Spec”.
    2) What is his personal favorite Gran Turismo-created “fantasy” track?
    3) Some old tracks had a few easter eggs in them. Do you know of any that haven’t been found?

  5. What was the motivation behind making GT Sport incapable of saving while offline? Has GT abandoned the offline sim-racing market?

  6. I understand Kaz’s desire for GT to be the sim of sims. It certainly is the most accessible. And to that point, it attracts a vast audience. That said, a lot of us miss the customization that GT Sport left behind. Will GT ever bring that back? I’m sure a lot of us GT fans look over at Forza and wish we had the options available like body customization, engine swaps, part interchangeability, etc.

    1. The trouble is that Forza didn’t seem to put any thought into the customisation. I don’t mind engine and drivetrain swaps that are period or class-correct, but Forza allows swaps that are mechanically impossible, and permits them in any class. The GT swaps always seemed to be better thought out – you couldn’t just whack AWD into anything you wanted to, but you could convert an AWD car to RWD to save some weight for example.
      Being able to whack in fully adjustable suspension, swap engines and AWD everything means that if you want to build a competitive car for online racing, they all end up handling and sounding the same way, the only difference being their outward appearance.

      1. Forzas Multiplayer is still a total mess too, even the Beta “Forza Regulations” is still a bumper car fest, you have to get 12 seconds worth of penalties to be kicked, but that still allows plenty of scope for race ruining moves in a race.

        I know I’m not that fastest driver, so I’m not sour about coming last because other people are faster, but it gets really annoying that you try race clean and end up having your race ruined by intentional and unintentional collisions (e.g. you get rammed hard by people who didn’t even remotely apply the correct level of braking or people are just so all over the place you can’t avoid them).

        I’ve not played GT Sport as I don’t have a PS4 – but I’m not sure any racing game has been able to implement through AI a long standing rule in circuit racing that human marshals don’t have a problem spotting in the real world – not changing line more than once through a section of track. A lot of collisions seem to be from people who do anything to stop you passing. You’re just racing a nice tidy line and someone does something stupid in front of you and wham, you’re off, maybe even get a penalty, even though in real racing you wouldn’t be at fault. Maybe iRacing has this sort of thing, but I don’t have the mental energy for that. I don’t mind racing against people who leave driver aids on, but the problem is when someone else has traction/stability on, the’re less adversely affected by being shunted or attempts to push you off the track.

        Mainly the appeal of the original GT games was simply to be able to drive a wide selection of realistic cars or all types. Most my time in Forza 7 is actually spent in “Rivals” just seeing how fast I can get a variety of stock cars to go, then doing very incremental tuning when I can’t get them to go faster. Honestly, if the GT series could get back to that sort of wide car selection, especially with all the oddball Japanese stuff (Suzuki Cappucino/AZ-1/Beat/Alto works please!), realistic body/mechanical damage (like BeamNG level) and have troll/idiot free multiplayer (which is someting GT Sport is good at apparently) I’d seriously consider jumping ship. Oh and I’d like Assetto Corsas steering feel and accurate gearbox options (i.e. there isn’t a simple auto/manual/manual with clutch choice like most games – the gearboxes actually reflect the real cars, so while you can turn on an assist to have the computer change gear, if a car is an auto or DSG in real life, it won’t suddenly have a clutch when you select manual mode. Dirt surfaces and even spintyres level mud sections that some vehicles might not actually be able to navigate (looking at you Forza Horizon) would be nice too.. I don’t ask for much.. 😀

      2. Forzas Multiplayer is still a total mess too, even the Beta “Forza Regulations” is still a bumper car fest, you have to get 12 seconds worth of penalties to be kicked, but that still allows plenty of scope for race ruining moves in a race.

        I know I’m not that fastest driver, so I’m not sour about coming last because other people are faster, but it gets really annoying that you try race clean and end up having your race ruined by intentional and unintentional collisions (e.g. you get rammed hard by people who didn’t even remotely apply the correct level of braking or people are just so all over the place you can’t avoid them).

        I’ve not played GT Sport as I don’t have a PS4 – but I’m not sure any racing game has been able to implement through AI a long standing rule in circuit racing that human marshals don’t have a problem spotting in the real world – not changing line more than once through a section of track. A lot of collisions seem to be from people who do anything to stop you passing. You’re just racing a nice tidy line and someone does something stupid in front of you and wham, you’re off, maybe even get a penalty, even though in real racing you wouldn’t be at fault. Maybe iRacing has this sort of thing, but I don’t have the mental energy for that. I don’t mind racing against people who leave driver aids on, but the problem is when someone else has traction/stability on, the’re less adversely affected by being shunted or attempts to push you off the track.

        Mainly the appeal of the original GT games was simply to be able to drive a wide selection of realistic cars or all types. Most my time in Forza 7 is actually spent in “Rivals” just seeing how fast I can get a variety of stock cars to go, then doing very incremental tuning when I can’t get them to go faster. Honestly, if the GT series could get back to that sort of wide car selection, especially with all the oddball Japanese stuff (Suzuki Cappucino/AZ-1/Beat/Alto works please!), realistic body/mechanical damage (like BeamNG level) and have troll/idiot free multiplayer (which is someting GT Sport is good at apparently) I’d seriously consider jumping ship. Oh and I’d like Assetto Corsas steering feel and accurate gearbox options (i.e. there isn’t a simple auto/manual/manual with clutch choice like most games – the gearboxes actually reflect the real cars, so while you can turn on an assist to have the computer change gear, if a car is an auto or DSG in real life, it won’t suddenly have a clutch when you select manual mode. Dirt surfaces and even spintyres level mud sections that some vehicles might not actually be able to navigate (looking at you Forza Horizon) would be nice too.. I don’t ask for much.. 😀

        1. Absolutely. the online racing was terrible if you wanted to try for a clean race and take whatever place your ability would get you to.
          Instead people build bumper cars with 1,000hp and AWD (front wheel bias so you could keep it pinned while getting nudged by other players) and then use traction control and ABS to avoid actually setting the thing up to be driveable.
          I mostly enjoyed rivals in the lower classes because build and driving ability came into play, rather than chucking all the parts on and relying on traction control and mostly luck for a top time.

  7. First off, supremely jealous.

    As for the questions:
    1) Kaz mentioned he was interested in creating an open world online driving game several years ago (in the GT5 days) where it was less about racing and more about interacting with others on the road. Is that still something they are interested in? I believe it was referred to as “C-Spec”.
    2) What is his personal favorite Gran Turismo-created “fantasy” track?
    3) Some old tracks had a few easter eggs in them. Do you know of any that haven’t been found?

  8. Will we ever see a GT game with the same number of fully rendered for their generation cars as GT2 or GT4?

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