woah they even model the lights properly!
http://www.topgear.com/content/features ... /13/1.html
Gaming god Kazunori Yamauchi reveals why Gran Turismo 5 Prologue is the most spectacular GT instalment yet
Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi is, as you might expect, a geek. Not a gaming geek, though. A car geek.
"For me, it's always been cars first and gaming second," says Kazunori, fresh from putting the finishing touches to GT5 Prologue, the latest instalment in the Gran Turismo franchise. "Give me the choice between a day on the track and a day on the Playstation, and it's the track day every time."
Correct choice, Kazunori-san. That's no idle assertion to pacify Top Gear, either - Kazunori is renowned as a seriously quick track driver, and he admits slightly sheepishly that his garage back home in Japan includes a Honda S2000, Nissan 350Z, Porsche GT3 and a Mitsubishi Evo V. Oh, and a Merc SL55 AMG. A pretty full collection, then? Apparently not.
"I'm not even close to owning all the cars I'd like to," says Kazunori. "My dream garage would have to include... well, a Ferrari 330 P4, a McLaren F1 and the new Nissan GT-R."
Ah yes, the GT-R. Nissan's Skyline (OK, it's not called the Skyline any more, but Kazunori repeatedly refers to the GT-R by its old name) has been intimately intertwined with the GT franchise over the past 10 years - in fact, 48 different Skylines have appeared in the various iterations of the game.
"We've got so many cars in the game that are absolute gems - the Ferraris, for example," muses Kazunori, glancing up at a giant screen with Nissan's Godzilla rendered lifesize across it.
"Next to them, the GT-R is the ugly duckling among the swans. But it's still a special car for us. For a start, we were involved in the car's development [Kazunori worked on the in-car information screens, and was given a GT-R for his efforts], and the timing of the game and the car have run closely together. So we were always going to be partial to it."
The GT-R is one of 71 cars in GT5 Prologue, each recreated in terrifyingly accurate detail. 'Lifelike' is a term bandied round too readily in the gaming world, but trust me: Prologue is worryingly, flinchingly realistic.
At the official launch, a video splicing together in-game clips and real-world footage had the TG team transfixed for a good 20 minutes as we tried to separate the real and the virtual. We'd had a couple of beers, true, but still...
"As an example, the amount of effort and information required to create a whole car in GT4 is equivalent to one headlight in GT5 Prologue," says Kazunori. "We've modelled the bulb, the lens, the reflection, everything. We got headlights shipped from the manufacturer and dismantled them."
Now I'm beginning to understand why the GT team takes six months to build each car. With limited time, they had to select the most important cars to put in Prologue, which means there's a spectacular array of Ferraris - including the 2007 F1 car (oh yes) - alongside a smattering of Japanese and European supercars. And a Suzuki Cappuccino. Eh?
"Of course, we couldn't put in every car we wanted to," admits Kazunori guiltily. "We try to include everything that the users have asked for, but some cars - yes, like the Cappucino [a tiny, underpowered kei car] - are personal favourites."
Told you he was a car geek. Expect plenty more left-field surprises when GT5 proper arrives: the rumour is that the full game will feature some 900 cars.
"Prologue is the halfway point of what we want to do with the game," says Kazunori. "The other half is our homework from now on."
That homework includes something that GT fans have demanded for, well, ages: damage. As in smashing, crumpling bits of car.
In previous GT instalments, manufacturers have put the kibosh on in-game damage to their cars - bad publicity, apparently - but in the full GT5 you'll be able to dent and mangle the cars to your heart's content. I ask Kazunori if it's a sign of the increasing power that the GT franchise wields.
"Manufacturers are now coming to us, asking us to add their cars to the game, so we're seeing less resistance to in-game damage from the manufacturers," he answers diplomatically. He hesitates. "I'm still not sure they'll be too keen on seeing their cars roll over, though."
There'll be a lot more to GT5 than just flying shards of metal and carbon fibre, though. Like the Top Gear test track.
As we told you back in October, you'll be able to take on the famed corners of the Hammerhead, Gambon and the rest - something Kazunori is relishing. "I'm all set to drive the Top Gear test track," he says with a competitive glint in his eye. "I'll be out to win, even if I'm up against the Stig."
Beating the Stig in his own backyard? Car geek or not, that's quite a challenge. Roll on GT5...