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.
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Journalist: Are you keeping track of the racing genre? What do you think of competitors?
Kazunori Yamauchi: Back in 1997 we had an isolated existence in the market but now there's a lot of racing games out there. It's very good for the genre I believe.
Journalist: What's your opinion of using 3D in racing games?
Kazunori Yamauchi: 3D was not something that was implemented at the last minute. We were working and testing with Sony two years ago. I think 3D technology right now is at a stage where it just has a lot of possibilities.
I was questioning how viable it is to add an effect to the gameplay and the reason I felt like that was, back in the eighties, I loved movies and a lot of 3D movies hit the screen and I felt it was limited. I thought 'this was it' and there would never be anything more.
But my thinking has changed since we've had the chance to work with 3D. And now I think it could be quite an advancement for mankind, really. The reason I say that is, in the history of mankind, starting with cave wall paintings, through oil paintings up to modern photography, everything we've left as a record has been in 2D.
For the first time in our history we're reaching a stage where 3D images are becoming possible. The effect of this is not something we can really come to a quick conclusion on – it has an infinite number of possibilities.
Journalist: What feedback have you had from the online community so far?
Kazunori Yamauchi: Yesterday the online service was kind of in a critical state. The data centre was set up to handle 500,000 connections but the number of connections we received greatly exceeded that amount and there was a high chance of experiencing problems as a result.
The design of the GT game really integrates the online and offline parts. So the problems online actually affected the offline play as well. Right now we've changed the number of simultaneous connections that are possible to one million, doubling the number, and we're trying to gauge what will happen, but we don't know at this point in time.
We also received a lot of demands for having more regulations placed on the online play. We're going to perform an update on the 27th that will include things like max power restrictions and weight restrictions. It's like a living creature, dynamically growing as we speak.
Journalist: Why did it take so long? And what is yet to come to perfect the game?
Kazunori Yamauchi: All the parts of GT are very difficult to develop and there's quite a gap between just completing something and perfecting it. In the process there's a lot of work involved between and sometimes that means getting rid of what you already have and starting afresh. That's what took the longest.
As I mentioned, we're already doing an update on the 27th to refine the usability of the game to make it a better experience. I think it's going to be hard to find an end to that process.