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Interview – Kazunori Yamauchi

Interview – Kazunori Yamauchi

Who amongst us, as a child, didn’t dream at least once of being a race car driver? The thrill of driving a super-fast car down a winding track has called to us all at some point. Racing can be dangerous though, let’s admit it. It doesn’t seem like the safest sport in the world to indulge in…or maybe I’m just a scaredy-cat. Nevertheless, I’m sure I’m not the only person relieved to have a potential solution; the Gran Turismo games are famous for coming as close to the real thing as today’s technology can allow. The games are designed to simulate the look and feel of the real thing; sitting behind the wheel of of a sleek, shiny new race car with a powerful, thrumming motor just raring to go; and the best part is, the latest game in the series, Gran Turismo Sport, is available for the VR now too!

At Gamers’ Day this year, we had the opportunity to interview Kazunori Yamauchi, CEO of Polyphony Digital and producer of the Gran Turismo video game series, and race car driver extraordinaire, to ask him some about the Gran Turismo Sport. The challenging part of this particular interview, though? Having to do it in less than five minutes. Never let it be said that Hala Tashkandi backed down from a challenge! I put on my proverbial racing helmet, flexed my leather driving gloves, whittled my endless questions down to three choice ones, and pealed off from the starting line to grab my lightning-quick interview with Kazunori-san.

GCON: Kazunori-sensei, we are glad to have you with us. Can you tell us what sets Gran Turismo Sport apart from the other games in the series?

Kazunori: In this Gran Turismo, like in the first one we ever made, we wanted to make it the best game it could possibly be. As a result of our efforts, I think we were able to create something with a unique concept that stands out like a jewel amongst the other Gran Turismo games.

GCON: You drive race cars in real life, so do you have a car at the moment that you consider to be your favorite?

Kazunori: I think, out of the cars that are available on the market at the moment, of course, I really like the AMG Mercedes GT, and I also like the Nissan GTR as well.

GCON: On a more personal note; is this your first time in Saudi Arabia, and what were your impressions of the country?

Kazunori: This was my very first time in Saudi Arabia, but I haven’t really had the opportunity to look around the city as much as I would have liked. However, I was very interested to come here, as when I was younger, I studied Islamic History. There’s actually a lot more I would like to learn. The country is very different from Japan, and because it’s so different, I find it very interesting.

So there you have it! Our gratitude to you, Kazunori-sensei, and we hope to host you again in Saudi Arabia very soon! As for me, well, the VR experience I had with GT Sport made me dizzier than I expected…that stuff is way too realistic for me. I think I’m going to go have a lie-down. Let us know in the comments how you liked GT Sport!

Interview edited for conciseness and clarity. Gran Turismo Sport and Gran Turismo Sport VR are available in stores now.

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