Despite spending over five years making it, Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi still isn't happy with his latest creation. But it is finally here and at the official launch for the game last night in Madrid, Yamauchi turned up with a garage-load of supercars and a wide grin of relief.
After telling us "today is only the beginning" for the game, Eurogamer grabbed some time with Mr GT to find out what this means, and what's next.
Eurogamer: The game's finally out today. What took you so long?
Kazunori Yamauchi: We really wanted to make it incredible, and to make something incredible just takes time. But it's still not perfect.
Eurogamer: What's not perfect? You said on stage you're going to be upgrading every week, every month – what specifically do you want to work on?
Kazunori Yamauchi: That's sort of a surprise we're keeping for the future. Once games go online it's no longer the type of thing where you just make it, hand it over to the players and they go out and play it. Games will keep evolving.
Now it's released we're going to have several million people who'll become citizens of Gran Turismo. From here on we have to listen to their voice and see what they want and change the game accordingly to match their needs. So Gran Turismo really is just at the starting point, it's really the beginning and we're just going to evolve from here.
Eurogamer: On a specific note, will you be adding online matchmaking soon?
Kazunori Yamauchi: In this release we focused on the features that allow close friends to race together. Online updates are planned of course for leaderboard and matchmaking - [they're] all planned in the process of evolution.
Eurogamer: You are a perfectionist, you've said the game isn't perfect – but what do you think is GT5's greatest achievement?
Kazunori Yamauchi: I think it's the overall packaging of the game I'm really proud of. GT integrates a lot of different features, whether it be the graphics or the physics - it evolves a lot of different things. Really integrating that together in a clean package was a difficult process and I'm really proud we were able to do it.
Eurogamer: Looking ahead, Gran Turismo 6: will that be on PlayStation 3 or the next console?
Kazunori Yamauchi: 10 years ago it was easier to predict what would happen three years in future. Nowadays no-one knows what happens in the future. In three years, we don't know what will happen.
Eurogamer: So you're not sure that it'll be a PS3 game?
Kazunori Yamauchi: [Laughs and shrugs]
The following text comes from a general press Q&A session the morning after the launch event.
Journalist: I've test-driven a lot of the cars. Modern cars now drive quite alike – often it's hard to appreciate the difference between them. In the game there's always a difference between two cars – what do you do to enhance that difference?
Kazunori Yamauchi: It's really because the body structure and layout of the cars are becoming almost identical that we came up with different cars. For example, if you take the Ferrari 458 Italia and the Ford GT and look just at the body they're almost identical and you can't really tell them apart.
I think it's just that sports cars have evolved to that point now. For the character of each of the cars, manufacturers focus on providing different sounds that the driver will experience in the car, and also the steering and driving feel.
They would treat things like the feel of the power steering and I guess some of the cars have an adjustable power steering feel. There's many cars where, by turning this knob, you have a very different character in the same car.
On the base part Gran Turismo is pretty much the same. In terms of character you'll find of course that older cars have a stronger one. You'll find that especially so when you compare cars with the same power ratio over those of an older era – the difference is much greater in older cars.
Journalist: Did you have to invent something to create character in the game?
Kazunori Yamauchi: The most important thing is to recreate the car as accurately as possible. We don't do anything in addition to what the manufacturers do. For example, the Lexus LFA was a car where the engineers had a really exact idea of how they wanted it to sound. There's a very specific mechanism for producing that, that transmits the sounds from the engine into the cockpit.
If you look at the waveform graph of the sound coming from the engine, you can really tell that a certain frequency is very pronounced in the design. The frequencies are about five times the engine RPM. Those ranges are extremely pronounced in the sound design for the car and we've recreated that accurately within Gran Turismo.