Do you ever get the feeling we might be getting a bit too obsessed about photorealism in games? Well, if you’re a car modeller at Polyphony Digital, nobody would blame you for starting to feel that way.
When it comes to meticulous attention to detail, the Gran Turismo series has always been the gold standard for petrolheads the world over – old vacuum-cleaner sounding engines of the PS2 days aside, that is.
But have you ever instead stopped to think about just how much work it takes to get those raytraced wing mirrors, buffed spoilers, and polished headlamps ready for their 4k (and soon-to-be VR) close-ups?
No, of course you haven’t. You only think about yourself. Luckily for the rest of us, Japanese outlet Impress aren’t quite so selfish, and in a recent interview with their Game Watch team, series creator Kazunori Yamauchi gave us a little window into the madness. And it’s fair to say the numbers are pretty mind-boggling.
When it comes to car production, we spend 270 days, which is a huge cost, to make each car from scratch. Compared to the past, the development cost is incomparably higher, but players simply evaluate the number, saying, "There are fewer cars than Gran Turismo 6."
Now, as comical as it might be to imagine, that obviously doesn’t mean there’s some poor fella at Polyphony flailing his arms around and screaming “I’ve told you, Dave! I can’t move onto the Mazda Demio exhaust notes until I’ve finished modelling the turbo wastegate on this 1993 Nissan Skyline!”
(Although in fairness, that sort of bespoke, hand-crafted artistry would go some way to explaining the game's somewhat divisive approach to microtransactions.)
No, of course we’re talking 270 days’ worth of man hours spread across the entire team here: think modellers, sound designers, legal lawsuit type people, the folk who have to make sure the Mazda RX-7’s arse end slides out juuuuust right when you tip it into a corner at 60mph. That sort of thing.
Still, it’s a truly eye-watering amount of work. And if you think it’s just a case of Polyphony being a bunch of anal buggers (new death metal band name there if anyone wants it) think again: Turn 10 Studios – developers of the competing Forza series – have previously gone on record to say that the whole process of adding a new car to their game takes around six months, too.
To take you back a quarter of a century — because why not? — N64 classic GoldenEye 007’s entire multiplayer mode was coded in around 40 days. When you stop to consider that, it begs some important questions about the complexity of modern day video games.
Are we willing to accept less content in exchange for shinier graphics? Is true photorealism even a feasible pursuit at this point? And will Dave ever get the exhaust note files he’s been waiting for since September?
Whatever the answer, we think it’s pretty cool to stop and think about these things every once in a while. God bless game developers, eh?
[source game.watch.impress.co.jp, via exputer.com]
It's definitely incredible how much time and effort goes into rendering one vehicle and tuning it for the game.
I'd love to know how many man hours go into details like a single plant pot in The Last of Us, too. It's mind boggling how much time and effort goes into creating these games for PS5 now.
That is pretty crazy, but it definitely shows in the quality of these first party games. There is a reason that they are so much further ahead than over studios.
This also shows exactly why prices have increased. Everyone wants to root for the little guy to make more money for their effort, and rightfully so in most cases. But consumers need to expect to foot that bill.
Interesting take on why microtransactions are pushed so heavily for this game ...
For me, this is the greatest racing game of all time. And I played almost every other one on PC and even Xbox. The VR Part will take this game to a height where Forza will never be.
Careful using the phrase 'man hours'....
I think the micro transactions bit is unwarranted, I know plenty of people who haven't spent a penny in-game and have the platinum and a great garage of cars
So 400 cars at 270 days worth of man hours is 108,000 days. Which is 295 years worth of hours. They have over 300 staff at polyphony. Games take about 5 years to make. Seems legit? I think.
Removed - inappropriate language
It's insane to me that they make claims of time when it's clear they are putting a fresh coat of paint over a decades old engine. It's beyond crazy to have a game centered around "realism, " yet not have a viable damage or physics system in place.
Maybe spend some of those hours on that rather than lootbox systems and bizarre animations of cars in a friggin restaurant menu....
@KundaliniRising333 Hi Kundalini, hope you're well mate.
Did you get a chance to put together a new economic system which will replace the current one? I'm really interested to hear about it is all. @nessisonett didn't get back to me either, I hope he's okay.
GT7 looks like a next gen game, but it feels like GTS. I'd rather they put the effort into bringing more tracks/circuits back. Midfield Raceway and R246 would be a good start...
It's time to let this game go and make a current gen racing game Polyphony. Hopefully they release it in the next year or so.
Having developed aircraft for high fidelity simulations (military use and dcs) that does not surprise, one aircraft takes about 2 years to develop
@TrickyDicky99 if this game didn't release on the PS4 & was still the exact same game you'd be singing it's praises talking about how 'next gen' it is just because it only released on ps5 🙄🤣
@Would_you_kindly nope, the tracks are nearly all the same as GT Sport, which I have the Platinum for and over 1,000 hours in.
GT7 is essentially GT Sport Directors Cut. Luckily I dodged a bullet and didn't buy it.
@TrickyDicky99 LMAO 2026 at the earliest lol
They should hire better devs then. Kidding aside, they could cut considerable man hours if they didn't invest so much time in details only a small percentage of players sees.
But well, they are perfectionists over there..
I wonder if this average is different if you take out the extreme supercars that they have. Does a regular Honda Civic take just as long, or are the low end cars a quicker process?
@Unlucky13 Probably. I would image, just like in real-life, certain assets can be used in multiple cars. The more common the car the more bits they can re-use. Certainly for the interiors.
I think they've scanned stuff in at such a high resolution we can't see it in all its glory even on the PS5. Have to wait until for GT10 on the PS6, on an 8K TV, to see it.
@TrickyDicky99 Each to their own. Personally I'm loving it and can't wait to see it in VR
@SJBUK As someone with a huge interest in the common, regular cars and a minimal one with the supercars, I'd much rather they shift the focus to the old ways of having many more ones you'd see on the street and be able to actually drive yourself. Especially if its easier to do.
Wow, they Mazda spent a lot of time making everything in gt7. Just wish with all the mtx I could a Ford more of them. I guess Afeela they're overpriced but I'll just have to keep Tesla myself it's fine.
@SJBUK Maybe you skipped GT Sport. I have over 1,000 hours on GT Sport, GT7 is pretty much the same game plus an expanded single player.
I'm waiting for a proper new GT game not held back by the PS4.
@CR45H-0VERR1DE5 pretty sure it's 270 days in working hours. so one person working 24/7 would take that long
Bought it yesterday so I could license before PSVR 2 releases.
In seventeen days, seven hours & fifty eight minutes.
It surprising that car manufacturers aren't providing 3d models themselves considering they build 3d models of cars as part of the design process.
Very well-written article, nicely done!
no way, they have a team making these, its not just 1 person or a handful. its like multiple groups of people focusing on 1 car at a time
"Honda bright side, they look really good" this got me 😂
Fantastic game, I have so much to do in gt7 single player mode,no wonder it takes a gd while to model cars in gt7 ,so much detail ,they leave no stone unturned ,the most playable racing game on playstation with a controller in my humble opinion very addictive ,and could well be the best racing game I've played on any console, acc is very very good but unplayable on a dualsense ,gt7 wonderful game ,it'll be on another planet in vr2 mode:)
To be fair, there were many of us who sat GT Sport out because it had almost no single player offerings.
This is the first GT I’ve played since GT6 way back on PS3. And imo, it’s better than that game in every single way.
GT6 should have received a PS4 port in 2014. It needed it. Because I still shudder at the load times that game had. It was stupidly bad. And the install time… praying that the power wouldn’t ever go out.
@OrtadragoonX I've had my fill with GT Sport, haven't touched it in a couple of years, but that's probably what 1,200 hours does to you.
GT7 isn't much different so I wasn't interested, especially when they announced it's a PS4 game.
@TrickyDicky99 I did buy it to try out the VR modes but must admit didn't spend too much time with it. Not sure why, it just didn't grab me the way GT7 has.
I suppose the driving dynamic is not too different, so if you played Sport to death then I can see why GT7 might not offer you much apart from the graphical improvement and now full VR, if that took your fancy.
@Unlucky13 Yeah, I see where you're coming from. I prefer the faster cars when racing but looking forward to driving far more of the 'everyday' and classic in VR.
@SJBUK I honestly struggle badly in the very fast cars. And I don't even attempt to drive the ones at the very top end. Its just too fast for me to control. The high performance street cars are really my max end, and I've been playing the series since the very start.
@McBurn you say a small percentage of people will see? Maybe now. But more and more people own 4k tv's with the right hdmi support, I do and I enjoy to see those details, makes me feel into another world basicly because it is just looking so amazing. They don't make the game for the tv's people have but for the TVs people will have. If the quality would be bad I know for certain you would complain about that. That said, the quality could still be higher if you ask me, can still spot small pixels if I focus on the look of the cars. (ps5 + samsung qled 2021 model)
@jacco: With "details" I meant stuff "under the hood" and things you would have to go out of your way to even notice.
But I don't care either way. The last GT I played was 2 on the PS1. I just clicked on the article because the headline was so ridiculous-.-'
And no I would not complain even in the scenario you described. Always been a performance over graphics guy^^
I’m really looking forward to appreciate the devs work on PSVR2.
270 days? They must be drawing the cars pixel by pixel in MS Paint.
@KundaliniRising333 decades old engine. This is proof you in your brightest day can't even imagine what all of this is about. Really man. That's horrible prerequisity to publish own opinion (for which you are welcome of course, but....some sanity to it would not harm).
@Unlucky13 Good question!
I may have mentioned this before, but nobody is asking for this kind of excess. Games seem to be getting expensive on account of the developer's whims, not the consumers wants.
@Unlucky13 That's one of the great things about GT7, loads of very different cars to play with
How has technology not improved to increase the pace of creating these assets as well? Even Indie Developers can just throw assets from unreal engine 5 into their game at this point.
Please note I'm a layman in this matter so explain like I'm 5 if anybody has the answer.
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