Gran Turismo creator speaks on PS3

Polyphony Digital head Kazunori Yamauchi wants Sony's next-gen console to change the world, calling it "our weapon for revolution."

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Naturally, Sony wants to make a big deal of its upcoming PlayStation 3, and part of that means devoting not just one, but two Web sites to the console. The official Japanese PS3 Web site, which was formally opened today, has been joined by a PS3 Concept Site. Aside from some downloadable PS3 wallpaper, the site is running a video interview with Polyphony Digital's leader Kazunori Yamauchi. Throughout the video, which runs a bit longer than 10 minutes, the Gran Turismo creator discusses what the PS3 means for his flagship driving series and gaming in general.

"We were surprised at how big a leap the increased resolution brings," Yamauchi said. "I think the users will be very surprised, too." Yamauchi believes video games are particularly well suited to the high-definition format, noting, "games have unusual potential in that they are the fastest, easiest way to produce high-quality, high-definition content. High definition might be more influenced by games than by movies."

Of course, if the graphics are flawed to start with, the sharpness of high definition would only call more attention to imperfections. That puts an extra strain on developers, who can't rely on small imperfections to be covered up by a standard-definition display.

"For the first time in video games, we can render graphics that are on a par with movies in terms of realism," Yamauchi said. "This makes life very hard for the developers... It demands even more detailed work than in the past. The amount of data incorporated into games has also increased dramatically. It's very gratifying, but also very hard."

Of course, there are advantages to having that kind of power to play with. Yamauchi noted that the upcoming Gran Turismo series' PS3 debut will take advantage of the PS3 to up the series' draw distance. "In the past, you could only see about 30 [meters] in front of you, at the most," Yamauchi said. "Now, you can see several hundred [meters]. This changes the handling and feel of the gameplay greatly."

He was also very upbeat on the next-gen console's physics-modeling capabilities, noting its applications to the motion of the cars, outside environments, and spectators.

"To be honest, I can't really say the [original PlayStation] or the PlayStation 2 were able to sufficiently represent the realistically modeled physical world we wanted [in previous Gran Turismo games]," Yamauchi said. "With the PS3, we will be able to perform true physical modeling for the first time."

Regarding PS3 network connectivity, Yamauchi said he expected it would provide something "a bit different from the usual Internet experience" people have during day-to-day surfing. By bringing the Internet to millions of television screens, Yamauchi believes that the PS3 will go beyond games. "The PS3 is not just revolutionary for video games; it's revolutionary for television, to put it simply."

Yamauchi summed up his high expectations for Sony's next-gen console with his closing words: "Our job is to make games and deliver them to the user. But at the same time, we want to change society. So for us, the PlayStation 3 is our weapon for revolution."

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