Nearly five years ago, Gran Turismo 5 was teased as part of the the PlayStation 3 unveiling at Sony's 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo press briefing. Two years ago, the public got its first taste of Polyphony Digital's $60 million game in the form of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. Then, three and a half months ago, the racing game's planned March launch in Japan was scrapped, pushing back its US and EU launch indefinitely.
Last week, Polyphony Digital CEO Kazunori Yamauchi offered some public reassurance that the game is on track. "Gran Turismo 5 is about 90 percent finished," he told the UK racing magazine Inside Line. "There are currently around 140 people working on the project." To date, the Gran Turismo series has sold over 55 million copies.
Yamauchi offered his comments while speaking at the final race of the GT Academy, a program that trains European racing-game enthusiasts to drive real-life race cars. Cosponsored by Sony and Nissan, the competition will send French-born Jordan Tresson to the 2010 European GT Cup Series behind the wheel of a 420-horsepower Nissan 370Z GT4.
"Normally, video games are a closed genre," Yamauchi told the finalists. "If you are good at a golf or soccer game, it does not mean you can be a pro golfer or soccer player, but Gran Turismo is different. If you are really good at Gran Turismo, you can be a really good race car driver."
According to Inside Line, the Polyphony Digital chief is himself training for a race, next week's 24 Hours Nürburgring. In preparation, he recently completed a four-hour heat in a Lexus IS-F at the titular track in southern Germany. Yamauchi also revealed the cars that are in his own garage at home in Japan: a R35 Nissan GT-R, a Honda S2000, and a Ford GT.