Gran Turismo 7 PS5 PS4 PlayStation Sony Car Development Times

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?

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