When we visited Gran Turismo creators Polyphony Digital in 2006, president Kazunori Yamauchi previewed what would become Gran Turismo HD, the first "real driving simulation" for the PlayStation 3 that would offer 770 cars and 50 tracks for download.
At the time, Yamauchi called it "the GT version of iTunes," letting players buy the barebones Gran Turismo HD Classic, the download more than 5,000 pieces of content to expand upon the game. That idea was scrapped in favor of a freely downloadable Gran Turismo HD and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue.
With gamers warming up to the option of downloadable content over the course of the current console generation, we'd think the market might be ready for that kind of model for a Gran Turismo game. But Polyphony Digital went back to the formula of previous entries for its newest, Gran Turismo for the PSP. It packs in 800 cars and over 30 tracks.
I asked Kazunori Yamauchi at E3 what brought about that change in philosophy.
"It's not so major as to call it a philosophy," Yamauchi said. He indicated it's just simply a change in plans. He said it's not Polyphony Digital's job to dictate business decisions, saying "It's our job to develop great games."
Whether it was cool reception to Gran Turismo becoming some sort of pay to play status symbol or just a preference to stick to the old model of huge fleets of cars and tracks, we don't really know. But it looks like all that obsessive modeling time by rank and file Polyphony gearheads will translate into a Gran Turismo 5 stuffed with cars.
How have your tastes changed? Would you be more willing to download by the car today than three or four years ago? I know I am, probably thanks to Rock Band.