Back in December 2013, when I reviewed Gran Turismo 6, I started off by saying it wasn't finished. Now, nearly two years later and with a tonne of people having abandoned their PS3s, Polyphony's driving sim can finally lay claim to being complete. Today, the Course Maker that's been promised since before the game's launch is finally out.
This Sony-funded vanity doc about Mr Gran Turismo is more than a puff piece - but only just.
From the archive: From street racing to the Nürburgring, how Polyphony's Kazunori Yamauchi came to define driving.
6th February 2014
19th December 2013
9th December 2013
6th November 2013
3rd October 2013
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17th May 2013
A motorist who lead police on a 100mph car chase through Lincolnshire has admitted that his only knowledge of driving came from his PlayStation.
A US court has thrown out a lawsuit that claimed Gran Turismo infringed the trademark of an Italian flooring company.
Polyphony is still plugging away at Gran Turismo 6, and the latest addition is one of the finest since the game came out at the tail-end of 2013: Nissan's all-new challenger for this year's Le Mans, the batcrap-crazy GTR-LM.
Gran Turismo 6 has finally received its B-Spec mode - an option that allows you to nominate an AI driver to take your place in career events - well over a year after the game first released.
Two gamers who earnt race seats thanks to their prowess at Gran Turismo took Nissan to success at one of the world's most daunting endurance events, as Wolfgang Reip and Florian Strauss helped take the RJN Motorsport Nissan GTR-35 to victory at the weekend's Bathurst 12 hours event.
Polyphony Digital is at work on Gran Turismo 7, and it's likely that the standard cars whose heritage stretches back to the PlayStation 2 era are to stay for the PlayStation 4 sequel.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Ayrton Senna in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, a tragic event that also saw the Austrian driver Roland Ratzenberger lose his life, and throughout May Polyphony is marking the occasion with the 'Ayrton Senna Tribute', a series of updates for Gran Turismo 6 that will culminate with the release of new in-game content.
Sony has announced a finale event for Gran Turismo 5's online mode, which is due to be switched off at the end of this month.
At first glance, you'd think this documentary film about Polyphony Digital founder Kazunori Yamauchi is just artfully disguised marketing for Gran Turismo. That's because your first glance is of the words "Sony Computer Entertainment presents"; it is just disguised marketing, part of Sony's promo blowout celebrating the series' 15th anniversary and the release of GT6. But that doesn't mean the film doesn't have an interesting subject and a few things to say, although it has some trouble articulating them.
Yamauchi is one of the oddest figures in gaming. He's unquestionably an auteur, one of a generation of Japanese game designers - alongside the likes of Shinji Mikami and Hideo Kojima - who have enjoyed unparalleled creative control over huge commercial projects, have been as personally identified with them as a movie director or a rock star would be, and have always pursued a personal vision in their work - sometimes past the point of sense. And yet he works not in cinematic action gaming but simulation; his art is not expressed with flamboyant style, but subsumed in the painstaking work of recreation - of cars, of race tracks, of the physical properties of tyres and suspension rods. He's not interested in creating his own worlds within video games, but in erasing the boundary between games and the real world.
Gran Turismo games overflow with passion for cars and motorsport, but they're also pretty dry experiences, so it's surprising to discover that Yamauchi is not a cerebral technocrat but a sentimental free spirit with a philosophical streak. The most revealing sections of the film show him walking in the woods, reminiscing about collecting bugs with his nature-loving father. He muses that bug collection, driving cars and capturing data are "all connected to the male hunting instinct". He lived free: as a child, he would draw obsessively on the walls of the family home, which his parents covered and recovered with paper for him. As a young man - as our own Martin Robinson discovered in interview with him last year - he was a reckless boy racer.
Last year marked the 15th anniversary of the Gran Turismo franchise and the arrival of GT6, Polyphony Digital's final outing on the PlayStation 3. With the veteran hardware now on its seventh year, it's fair to say they've had a fair crack at pushing the platform to its limits. GT6 arrived with a wealth of new content along with numerous changes and improvements to the underlying technology - we're seeing state-of-the-art features that aren't even present in the next-gen Forza Motorsport 5.
It was around 3am when the rain started again at the Nurburgring. Much harder than before, to the point where the track was completely saturated. Not ideal, clearly, but as even the most dishonest motivational speaker has no doubt memorised, inside every problem there's an opportunity.
Version 1.02 of Gran Turismo 6 went live yesterday - all 1.3GB of it - introducing new seasonal events, new cars and increased payout across all events.
The new events are centred around Red Bull Racing, with a new kart introduced as well as the X2014 Junior, a more manageable version of the Adrian Newey designed fictional racing car. Entry requirements for seasonal events have been lowered too, with an International B licence all that's necessary.
Gran Turismo 6's economy's also been given a slight tweak, with early races getting a 110 per cent boost in their payouts while later ones get a 170 per cent boost. Get a gold across all the seasonals and it's possible to earn 3 million credits - or 6 million, if you're able to take advantage of the newly introduced consecutive log-in bonus.
Gran Turismo 6's microtransactions were always a controversial feature. Some people just don't like being asked to grind for in-game content when they know that the barrier to their prize could be waved with a few quid, while others appreciate the optional shortcut. Critics of the model will be delighted to learn that it's all for naught at the moment, as a glitch has been discovered in Polyphony's latest racer that can earn you a cool 20 million credits - about £120 / €150 - in under three minutes.
PlayStation 3 racer Gran Turismo 6 has debuted with around five times fewer sales than its predecessor GT5.
GT6 arrived in the UK all-formats chart in eighth place this week, and was the only major new release.
Call of Duty: Ghosts was again top, followed by FIFA 14 in second, Battlefield 4 in third and Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag in fourth.
UPDATE: Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida has taken to Twitter to address concern about microtransactions in PlayStation 3 racing game Gran Turismo 6.
Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi has become a street.
Here's something exciting to kickstart your Tuesday: a guided tour through a series of menus. They're not any menus, thought! They're Gran Turismo 6's menues. Okay, they're just like any old menus.
Editor's note: With the release of a new Gran Turismo due next week - some four years in after the last entry - we thought it'd be a good time to revisit our profile of the series' creator Kazunori Yamauchi, first published upon the release of Gran Turismo 6 back in 2013.
PlayStation 3-exclusive racing game Gran Turismo 6 has micro-transactions, Sony has confirmed. It's the first game in the series to do so.
PlayStation 3 sales have hit the 80 million mark, Sony has announced.
That's as of 2nd November 2013.
PlayStation 3 launched in Japan on 11th November 2006 (it didn't launch in Europe until March 2007), making the console nearly seven years old.
Gran Turismo 6 will feature seven all-new locations for the series, plus the introduction of 'coffee break' mini-games - and it no longer segregates its standard and premium car models.
Just under a month before its release, Sony has unveiled the full Gran Turismo 6 car list, which currently runs to 1197 cars. 124 of them are new for Polyphony's latest PlayStation 3 game, with an eclectic bunch being pulled together including several FIA GT cars and some exotic classics.
The legendary Australian Bathurst circuit, formally known as Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit, will make its series debut in Gran Turismo 6, developer Polyphony Digital has confirmed.
The four mile course opened with the 1938 Australian Grand Prix, and now hosts a variety of races including the Bathurst 12 Hour and the Bathurst 1000. It's a steep, twisting circuit with a breathtaking mountaintop section that will test even the most experienced driver. Its inclusion in Gran Turismo has long been expected, however. Polyphony staff were spotted mapping the circuit back in 2011, even before Gran Turismo 6 was announced.
Polyphony boss man and racing enthusiast Kazunori Yamauchi is certainly happy to finally include the track. "It seems only right that the legendary Mount Panorama circuit is included as fans will now have a chance to drive one of the toughest tracks out there," he said . "Described by some as Australia's very own Nürburgring, this is a formidable track that will provide an exciting new challenge for PlayStation gamers."
Gran Turismo 6 will receive a sizable day one patch upon its release this December, with updates set to roll out in a support period scheduled to last 12 months.
Following news that the audio - an area of contention for many players of Polyphony's series - likely won't be updated for the release of Gran Turismo 6, creator Kazunori Yamauchi confirmed to Eurogamer that a large day one patch will update other features within the game.
"It's the same every time," said Yamauchi. "Everything's very tight. It's an incredibly tight schedule. As to being able to include everything we want to on day one, we probably won't be able to. I think for the 12 months following the release we'll continue to update the software. Because in Gran Turismo 6 we're preparing a lot of different things we haven't even touched on yet."
One of the many privileges of writing about video games is getting to go up close and personal with the places in which they're crafted. If you've got any love for games, the worlds they conjure and the spell they can cast then going to a studio can be like visiting the chocolate factory.
The engine noises in the release version of Gran Turismo 6 likely won't see a significant improvement over those in Gran Turismo 5 - though series creator Kazunori Yamauchi hopes to improve them in a post release patch.
Gran Turismo's audio has long been a source of criticism, with its weak engine notes paling in comparison to the more full-throated tune of competitors such as Forza's cars. That situation will most likely remain when Gran Turismo 6 launches in December later this year.
"I think I mentioned this in the past, but we're really working to change the fundamental way that the engine sound works," Yamauchi said in a press event at Polyphony's offices in Tokyo. "Right now I have a feeling that it might not make it for day one for GT6."
Gran Turismo developer Polyphony has said that it already has a PlayStation 4 version of GT6 in mind, but by the time it releases it may have evolved into GT7.
Sony's Gran Turismo movie will tell the story of how GT5 gamer Lucas Ordóñez became a real-life racing driver.
Sony has announced that PS3 racer Gran Turismo 6 will launch worldwide on 6th December this year.
At Sony's Gamescom presentation in Cologne, Germany, European PlayStation boss also confirmed the word from Hollywood that Sony Pictures and GT creator Kazunori Yamauchi are working together on a Gran Turismo feature film.
A new trailer was shown featuring a range of far-out concept cars designed exclusively for GT6 by manufacturers like Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, Renault Alpine and Aston Martin as well as famed coachbuilders Bertone and Zagato and, weirdly, Nike.
Sony is planning a film version of PlayStation-exclusive racing series Gran Turismo.
Outside Xbox's Mike Channell and Martin Robinson (sorry, talking about myself in the third-person again) really like cars. Like, an awful lot - as you read this I'm off salivating over some vintage examples at Goodwood while Mike is an all likelihood poring over his gallery of pictures of Porsche 962s wondering which one will be his desktop image today.
The Last of Us. God of War: Ascension. Beyond: Two Souls. PlayStation 3 is enjoying an Indian Summer of sorts - a well-stacked line-up of first-party exclusives that sees the venerable current-gen hardware pushed to new technological heights in the months running up to the arrival of PS4. Perhaps most eagerly awaited is the arrival of November's Gran Turismo 6, the second - and almost certainly the last - PlayStation 3 game to arrive from the labs of Polyphony Digital, home to some of the most talented console developers in the world.
Gran Turismo's long taken a battering for deficiencies in its artificial intelligence. For years the game's AI drivers were renowned for slotting into single file moments after the start and dutifully following each other round in an automotive conga line. And within hours of the recent GT6-powered GT Academy demo appearing, there was already a video of five AI cars performing a comical 'after you, I insist' routine to try and get around a parked player.
Gran Turismo 6 is getting the demo treatment, with a GT Academy themed selection of events hitting PSN next week.
Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi is - was - a man obsessed with reproduction. With fidelity, curation, collection and simulation. He has run his studio Polyphony Digital and its mighty racing series as a combination of science lab and museum, fastidiously digitising the curves and characteristics of hundreds of cars and courses for posterity while pushing the graphics and handling to ever greater levels of verisimilitude.
The scale of the Gran Turismo project is vast, measured in vast numbers: 15 years, 70 million sales, 1000 cars. But its singular, obsessive focus has come at a price that was highlighted by the release of Gran Turismo 5 in 2010. It was the most magnificent and sprawling game in the series, but it was also out of touch and unwieldy, with half-realised online features (now improved, but only partly) and a hopelessly cumbersome and slow interface. Reviewing it, I remarked that "it seems to have been developed at this ridiculous length and expense in a vacuum, by a studio pursuing its own unique agenda... and ignoring everything that was going on around it."
Among the things going on around it was some accomplished and threatening competition. This didn't just come from Microsoft's slick Forza Motorsport series on Xbox, but also a thriving PC simulation scene (iRacing, rFactor and the like) and some enormously popular free-to-play tablet games like Real Racing and CSR Racing. These games were easier or cheaper to play than GT, more intense, more connected, more streamlined.
High-definition 720p60 encoding of Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo 6 concept footage.
It's perhaps a little ironic that the creators of some of the most beautiful console games ever made so very rarely promote their games using actual in-game footage or screenshots. For Polyphony Digital, the trend continues with Gran Turismo 6, where its beautiful concept trailer - in common with the majority of its previous videos - looks for all the world like an offline render, downscaled to 1080p from an unimaginably high resolution, based no doubt on the most high-detail versions of its in-game assets.
The question has been on everybody's lips since the rumours of a full Gran Turismo sequel on PS3 first emerged: why not PS4? Yesterday, it was confirmed that Gran Turismo 6 will launch on PS3 before Christmas this year, directly alongside - not to say competing with - the launch of Sony's new home console.
Leaves! Tires! Adaptive tesselation!
UPDATE: It's actually properly, properly official now. Gran Turismo 6 is heading to the PS3 this year, and it will feature 1200 cars and seven new tracks.
Update: Italian retailer Multiplayer.com has also listed Gran Turismo 6th for a 28th November release on PS3. It even has a picture, though it's unclear if that's a real cover or simply a mock-up.
PlayStation Plus, the premium PlayStation Network service that provides subscribers with a rotating library of free games and other digital benefits, will play a "prominent role" in PlayStation 4, Sony has confirmed.
In an interview with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe PlayStation Blog manager Fred Dutton (remember him?), SCEE boss Jim Ryan said PS Plus take-up has trebled over the last 12 months - and Sony is keen to keep the momentum up for the release of its next-generation console.
"We're very happy with the service that we've been able to offer with PS Plus," he said.
A senior Sony executive has said Gran Turismo 6 is a PlayStation 3 game.