Sony Blog Manager Fred Dutton announced that Gran Turismo 6 is officially out on PS3 today, with details from Kazunori on Lunar Racing.
To quote: Today, Gran Turismo 6 takes to the track. In keeping with the series' MO, Polyphony Digital has once again created an incredibly sophisticated and convincing racing simulation, which proudly wears the developer's unconditional love for the automobile on its sleeve.
And alongside the huge roster of new cars available to take for a spin, and the 37 tracks waiting to be mastered, Polyphony has thrown in something of a surprise. For the first time ever in a Gran Turismo title, you have the opportunity to swap the racing circuits of planet Earth for the Moon, and pilot a lunar rover across its surface. Hands up if you saw that coming?
"We had been working for a while on simulating the stars properly in the game, and the moon was being recreated very accurately. While we were working on that, the idea just came out of the blue," recalled Polyphony president and series creator Kazunori Yamauchi, when we caught up with him at the game's launch in Ronda, Spain, earlier this week.
"We thought, 'wouldn't it be interesting if you could drive on the surface of the moon?' So we did some research into the lunar rover and thought we should make it available in the game to drive.
"It was something we knew we could do with the technology that we had. It was really born out of curiosity. And if you remember in the opening movie, the opening music is Rachmaninoff and the theme of that piece is 'the moon'. Things just connected one after another.
Considering the emphasis Polyphony places on realism and precision, transporting GT's trademark action into zero-G was no small undertaking. The same eye for minute detail that the studio would apply to any earth-bound automobile would need to be applied to the lunar rover too.
"Researching the geography of the moon's surface and going back and looking at the actual routes that Apollo 15 took was actually a lot of work!" insisted Yamauchi-san.
"It was a difficult process but we did as accurately as we could possibly manage."
GT's lunar adventure isn't the only space-age inclusion in Polyphony's latest. One of the most exciting additions to the series formula in Gran Turismo 6 is the Vision GT project. The studio has teamed up with a number of leading car manufacturers, including Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, to create concept models offering a unique insight into the future of automotive design. These pioneering designs will duly be fully drivable in the game.
"I think in terms of the beauty of the cars and the driving experience, the cars that are going to be released as part of the Vision GT concept, they pack amazing possibilities in terms of the enjoyment that people will experience."
Back on the subject of the moon, while a huge amount of effort was put into making GT's first extra-terrestrial outing both fun to play and a genuine simulation it's, as Kazunori puts it, a "side dish" - "and the main course is just about to be served."
And what a feast awaits when the game arrives on PlayStation 3 today.
"The objectives of Gran Turismo are very simple actually. We want people to enjoy the beauty of cars, we want people to enjoy driving, and we want people to enjoy the beauty of the environments. Those are things that have remained the same throughout the series, and it's the same for GT6."
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