When Jann Mardenborough arrived at Brands Hatch last May, it was the shy 19-year-old's first trip to a 'proper' race circuit. He had just dropped out of university and was earning his keep by temping in a Next store in Cardiff while he decided whether to sign up for another degree in furniture design.
Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness patched upon 'em. When it launched last November, Gran Turismo 5 was certainly marked with brilliance; a work of slavish endeavour, its dedication to recreating the automobile in many of its forms elevated the simulator to a form of art, with a poetry at the heart of Polyphony's game that its peers have failed to emulate.
Woah. This is one of the biggest, most detail-rich tech analyses we've ever put together, but there's little doubt that developer Polyphony Digital is a studio that likes to dwell on the technical details, and to be frank, a release as highly anticipated as Gran Turismo 5 more than deserves the mileage.
One thing's for sure: few game launches in recent memory have been as dramatic as Gran Turismo 5's. Rumours swirl around its eleventh-hour delay, weeks from its street date of 3rd November, and its subsequent, rushed appearance at the end of the month. Maybe one day, we'll know the full story. But given the state of the final game, there does seem to be an obvious culprit: its online features.
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.
Every year at the Eurogamer Expo we invite you to tell us what you thought of the games you played, and without fail every year (so far anyway) you exhibit amazing taste in huge numbers. This year's Expo line-up was our strongest and most diverse yet, so we were excited to see what would follow in the footsteps of last year's winner, God of War III, or 2008's Mirror's Edge...
Kazunori Yamauchi is excited. He's showing us three cars from the 1967 Le Mans 24-hour race - the Ferrari 330 P4, the Ford Mark IV and the Jaguar XJ13 - and they all look beautiful. The P4 is one of Yamauchi's favourite cars of all time.
The day before yesterday, everybody in the games industry convinced themselves that Lady Gaga was going to turn up at Activision's E3 party, and she didn't. Yesterday, everybody in the games industry convinced themselves that David Jaffe wasn't going to unveil a new Twisted Metal, and he did.
After indie and esoterica, sports and music, MMOs and RPGs, fighting and strategy and action and adventure, we conclude our look at what's coming this year with two fields which tend to put refinement ahead of innovation. Can shooters and racing shake themselves up in 2009?
Kazunori Yamauchi is a man living the boy racer dream - or rather, he would be, if boy racers even dared to have this kind of dream. As the creator of what is arguably the world's most authentic, most comprehensive simulation of race driving, he lives and breathes cars and motorsport.