GT Creator Kazunori Yamauchi on Bringing 25 Years of History to Gran Turismo 7

Polyphony Digital’s wonderfully nostalgic new trailer for Gran Turismo 7, released by Sony during its PlayStation Showcase 2021 last week, communicates a very clear message: this is a series with a long history that players look back on with steadfast fondness.

Filled with sequences inspired by the unforgettable intro movies of several classic Gran Turismo games dating back to the series’ debut on the original PlayStation, this latest look at GT7 knew exactly which buttons to push to prepare fans for the long-awaited return. of the full Gran Turismo experience.

Gran Turismo creator and Polyphony Digital CEO Kazunori Yamauchi confirms that the callbacks were something he wanted to do to help link the series’ story to the next chapter.

“I felt like that was the kind of thing the audience was really looking for right now,” Yamauchi tells IGN. “When the development of GT Sport was finished, I mentioned in interviews that I wanted GT7 to be a title that connects the past with the present and the future, and that’s exactly what GT7 is all about.”

Of course, there are a variety of obstacles that accompany the task of creating a game for an audience as wide as Gran Turismo’s, ranging from fans who loved the original nearly 25 years ago to children who may not even have been born when the likes. GT5’s and GT6’s arrived in the last decade or so.

“I think it’s definitely a challenge that Gran Turismo 7 is facing, because 25 years ago the world was so different,” says Yamauchi. “There were a lot of different car media outlets, and kids came into contact with cars all the time and naturally they became car fanatics. Gran Turismo was born in that environment. “

“But when you look at the world now, all the different opportunities for new car enthusiasts to be born have been lost over the years. I wouldn’t say that GT is the only one, but GT is definitely one of the last mediums where a new car fan can be born.

“Therefore, the challenge of Gran Turismo 7 is not just about serving long-time Gran Turismo fans, who expect the depth and level of realism they have come to expect from Gran Turismo, but it’s also about caring for the kids. They are playing the game for the first time and it is really teaching them about: what is the automotive world? What is tuning? What are these settings? What does a career entail? It was a challenge for Gran Turismo 7 to be able to convey all these different things, really from scratch, to the new generation of would-be car enthusiasts. “

Yamauchi admits that veteran players may find some of these beginner basics puzzling, but emphasizes that they are important for the series to accommodate beginning players and create new car fans and new GT fans.

“For Gran Turismo players who are used to the series, they may find it too explanatory of all the different things in the game,” he says. “You might think, ‘Why do I need to collect all these different cars or learn about all these different cars? I already know it.

“But the game was really designed for this new generation of kids who don’t know the cars that need to be introduced into this world, but at the same time keeping the realism and depth at a very high level that allows fans of the series to be satisfied too. And I think we were able to balance this pretty well in Gran Turismo 7. ”

Gran Turismo 7 – Recurring Features

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We’ve seen glimpses of some of the classic Gran Turismo features that weren’t around since 2013’s Gran Turismo 6, including the return of the used car dealership, variable weather and climate, and tuning (“Tuning and Settings in Gran Turismo 7 is going to be a lot of fun, ”insists Yamauchi).

Also returning are two of Gran Turismo’s iconic fantasy tracks: High Speed ​​Ring and Trial Mountain. Yamauchi is pleased with the response to the return of these tracks, which debuted in the original 1997 game but have been absent from the series for nearly a decade.

“Making original tracks has always been something we like to do, and we are very happy that they have now been recognized as the heritage of the series throughout the years,” he says.

Of course, there are many fantastic tracks from early Gran Turismo history, including the Grand Valley, Autumn Ring, and Deep Forest, so what made the High Speed ​​Ring and Trial Mountain the first two to bring GT7 back?

“As far as the other tracks are concerned, it’s not that we’re not working on recreating some of them as well, but putting aside, the reason we needed the High Speed ​​Ring is because it’s really a suitable track for a beginner driver. “Yamauchi says. “And it turns out that Trial Mountain is one of my favorites too, so that’s why it was selected.”

While GT6’s returning features are dominating much of the discussion surrounding GT7, fans who have enjoyed GT Sport’s competitive multiplayer approach can “absolutely” expect that everything Polyphony has learned from its PS4 success will be found. incorporate GT7, where it will exist alongside the traditional Gran Turismo experience.

“Gran Turismo 7 will contain everything that was possible to do in Gran Turismo Sport,” confirms Yamauchi. “Everything that has to do with multiplayer will be included in the new game, but at the same time it will improve its usability and also the reliability of the network of those modes.”

“Gran Turismo 7 will really contain everything that was in GT Sport; there will be nothing lost there. “

Screenshots of Gran Turismo 7 PlayStation 5

So what will be a success for Polyphony Digital with the arrival of GT7 in early 2022?

“I mentioned this before, but Gran Turismo 7 really has two sides; two aspects, ”says Yamauchi. “First is the side where we are really trying to cater to people who come into contact with cars for the first time, and then the other side who are already car lovers and already love GT. We think we’ve balanced these two aspects to a high level, but we really want to know how people feel about how they play the game for them. “

Gran Turismo 7 is scheduled to arrive on March 4, 2022. 2022 will mark the 25th anniversary of the original Gran Turismo, which first launched in Japan in December 1997. With more than 80 million games sold since 1997, Gran Turismo It is the best selling original PlayStation series.

Luke is a game editor in IGN’s Sydney office. You can find him on Twitter every few days. @MrLukeReilly.