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Gran Turismo Creator Talks Death And Mimesis Theory

The masters always want to see progression and advancement, and they also want to see their chosen industry break new ground in various ways.

Kazunori Yamauchi is best known for creating one of the most popular and critically acclaimed video game franchises of all time, Gran Turismo, but his hopes and dreams for the future of the industry extend well beyond the racetrack. In speaking at the DICE 11 event this past week, the Polyphony Digital CEO says he wants gamers to embrace the concept of death:

"It would make me happy to see a game that really makes you think about how a person should live and how they should come to terms with death. This theme is something that's already explored in other forms of entertainment, whether it be music, movies or literature. It's really a dream that I have, but obviously someone here can make it as well."

Yamauchi also spoke about "mimesis," which he defines as "a certain reaction when you meet something incredible, find something new, and are infected with feverish desire to do something." This is what he wants out of his series; he wants GT to "invoke this mimesis on the audience of players." Right now, he says the franchise exists on the edge of the game world and automobile industries and obviously, he has high hopes for the future.

But to consider the concept of death - to actually consider it - in an interactive format is awfully interesting. Perhaps the question is, "what can't games do...?"

Tags: kazunori yamauchi, gran turismo, gaming industry

2/11/2011 8:44:51 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (41 posts)

PasteNuggs
Friday, February 11, 2011 @ 9:29:58 PM
Reply

This is a great reason as to why I think Kaz should take a break with GT. He is so brilliant and I think he would do great in any genre he would decide to tackle.

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Scarecrow
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 12:28:08 AM

What's with you people and wanting to kill off some of the most amazing series ever.

From what I've read I'm seeing you guys ask for Metal Gear Solid to end, God of War, Gran Turismo.

Are you guys insane?

What's wrong with them making an alternative game on the side while still nurturing and making their flagship title?

Imsoniac does this with Resistance + Ratchet & Clank.

Why do they have to let go of their flagship title?

They can also just expand the company so that they can work on two games at the same time (two separate groups).

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Lawless SXE
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 12:54:33 AM

MGS and GoW need to end because the last game in both of them made a logical conclusion to the storylines. It really depends on the game in question. Some just have nowhere to go. Others should just die.

GT can continue forever as there will aways be more cars, more tracks and more realistic gameplay to add in. CoD, theoretically could last forever as there are always more conflicts to explore. As long as they aren't recycling the same characters or events over and over. Valkyria Chronicles could last a long time, as there is a whole history of Gallia included in the two that have already been released.

But people also ask what you are, like those asking for ND to continue Jak and Daxter and Uncharted. Visceral continuing both Dante's Comedy and Dead Space. Bethesda with Elder Scrolls and Fallout. R* with GTA and RDR. Sucker Punch with inFamous and Sly. It's all good.
Peace.

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kraygen
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 1:15:13 AM

I kinda agree with Scarecrow. Personally and I think some others would agree, it's not that we want those games to die never to return, but to maybe begin a new story. Those stories have finished, time to start anew.

Also that it would be ok for them to work a new IP, then return to the franchise we love, give a break so that we can enjoy the next one all the more.

However with the length of time spent on Gran Turismo and the fact it really has no story, I'd say for them, yes, expand and work on 2 games at once, separately.

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Cesar_ser_4
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 9:50:53 AM

in other words, reboot them? that would be good, specially if done in a rocksteady/batman:aa sort of way

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GuernicaReborn
Friday, February 11, 2011 @ 9:52:05 PM
Reply

There are two things that come to my mind about death.

One is the religious aspect, mainly what happens after death.

The other thing I think of is everything that I will miss when I die, and I don't mean people, places and things, but Events. Major events, like man walking on Mars or cloning human beings.

I don't think of what my accomplishments in life will be before I die, or about death in the physical sense. I'm not worried about it hurting, and I'm not afraid of it. I wonder if a video game could make me think differently.

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Shams
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 12:15:44 AM

If we end in nothingness, how will we miss anything when we are nothing and can feel nothing? And if there is something after, I suppose all other things that have happened or will happen will pale in comparison to what will unfold.

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FatherSun
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 11:43:11 AM

I think he means MISS as in he wont be here for the advancements that the future will surely bring. So he is actually missing those things now in his walking life. Who knows if he will have that opportunity later. But if there is an after.... that will be extraordinary for sure.

Last edited by FatherSun on 2/12/2011 11:45:26 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, February 11, 2011 @ 10:10:32 PM
Reply

You won't tackle the concept of death with driving sims, but I don't see him jumping genres any time soon.

If someone does want to take up that challenge though, I recommend a game driven look into the mind of the unorthodox and undefeated Samurai duelist Miyamoto Musashi, author of The Book of Five Rings. That dude knew how to confront death and win.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 2/11/2011 10:10:57 PM

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Shams
Friday, February 11, 2011 @ 11:40:12 PM

His secret towards victory was going for the hands and the wrists, while he's enemies were aiming for deathblows. One would've thought they would've developed handguards on their swords in response to his tactics, as the Europeans developed for their weaponry.

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mexgeo86
Friday, February 11, 2011 @ 10:20:39 PM
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I keep thinking 'Death Note' for some reason. I'm sure Kaz would do a great job in any new project he worked on even if it was not racing related.

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Shams
Friday, February 11, 2011 @ 11:42:32 PM
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"It would make me happy to see a game that really makes you think about how a person should live and how they should come to terms with death. This theme is something that's already explored in other forms of entertainment, whether it be music, movies or literature. It's really a dream that I have, but obviously someone here can make it as well."

I thing that's what Kojima intended to do with Old Snake in MGS4.

FFxiii dabbled with that, too.

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Shams
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 12:17:02 AM

Kazanori Yamauchi hitting mid-life crisis.

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Scarecrow
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 12:30:53 AM

Trust me, the similarities with Kazunori and Kojima are amazing.

These two guys should meet one day and maybe make a game together.

As far as the death thoughts, yeah could be mid-life crisis but out of mid-life crisis is where a lot of artists and philosophers reveal their true genius.

It's when their mind is at its peak of knowledge.

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FatherSun
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 11:52:52 AM

Mid-life crisis is the point in time where one reflects on life and realizes their mortality. It is also a time to think of what exactly will be left behind. What legacy will remain. GT series is definitely a Legacy. If he comes up with anything else it would extraordinary.

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Shams
Friday, February 11, 2011 @ 11:45:37 PM
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I say childhood does not end until a person faces death and realizes his/her own mortality.

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Alienange
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 12:31:18 AM
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No spoilers here, but I already know a few games this gen that have made me think of death. Right at the end of the game too ... dang. That was an awful feeling. Then I put in a new game.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 1:16:21 AM

I felt depressed for about a week after MGS4's ending, call me weird but I really connected with snake, & was sad with what happened to him. Also when I thought (SEMI-SPOILERS) snake died was proobably the worst I've ever felt in my life LOL (if you didn't cry you have no heart...or mind).

Kojima sure knows how to pull at the heartstrings like no other person. Even films haven't made me feel this way, only ever a tear drop, & that's if it was real life events like WWII.

I say to Kaz go for it, don't let GT series stand in your way. He could create something very special.

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Alienange
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 10:00:01 AM

Didn't even think of MGS4 but it's true. Some games are just have sad endings that make you feel the loss death brings. I'd say SotC did that to me... TWICE. If you've played it, well, you know there's a lot more to it than that but still.

Dang. It's hard not to name games without blowing it for others.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 3:45:37 PM

I did say spoilers :P

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Lawless SXE
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 12:45:30 AM
Reply

I needed some time to think about this. The concept of death has been handled in certain games, but in most it results in little more than game over. Heavy Rain is a good example in where, if the character dies, they stay dead. The same goes for the original Valkyria Chronicles. But rarely is there that emotional connection that we feel when someone dies in reality. Heavy Rain almost had me there, but it didn't have that impact that I had expected. MGS4 did much better.

**SPOILERS**
As Snake knelt in that graveyard, gun in hand, contemplating his life and death, I was overcome. Perhaps not because I felt any great connection to the character himself, though I would like to believe that is the case. I'm not ashamed to say that I cried each of the three times that I watched that ending, even though I knew what happened for the last two. The way the camera pans up and the shot rings out is masterful.

**End Spoilers**
But to have a player connect with the character based on their life experiences... Most games are simply not long enough, and not engaging enough to do this. I think we will not see it until the stories in games regularly become as good as those found in novels and films. Music is a different matter completely. Combining lyrics with certain beats and riffs can work wonders, even if no story is being told. Even if it simply a collection of words. (If anyone wants a couple of songs that I feel are great at eliciting emotion: 'Roses for Mama' and 'Aurora Borealis' both by C.W. McCall. They always make me stop, listen, and think about what is being said.)

It's a rare experience that can completely change a person's viewpoint. Personally, I've almost died from external influences three times, and have attempted suicide twice. Each time has brought about a new sense of appreciation for life. All it takes is time and disenchantment sets in again. This is off-topic, but I need to say it to someone. It's dark, and there is no-one around me with a light to show the way. Sorry.

I agree with Yamauchi. To have a game in which you guide a character through their lives, but from the standpoint of a narrative, rather than something like The Sims, eventually leading up to their deaths, and seeing their contemplations on it, would be marvellous. It would, I believe, become the single most important video game in history. It would mark the true step of games from entertainment to affirmation, a step long since realised in every other medium.

Could he do it? I'd like to assume yes, but to the best of my knowledge, his games have always circled automotives. That is his forte, and while it would be good for him to step out of it, I'm not sure that he would be a good storyteller. Honestly, I think that if anyone is going to create something like this, it will be either Hideo Kojima or David Cage. Both of them have proven themselves to be master storytellers. Both of them have proven that they are capable of generating emotional responses from their audience through their characters and cinematography.

I want this to happen. And Mimesis... It's good, as it leaves you wanting to broaden your horizons, but the feeling doesn't always last through to completion.
Peace.

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Pandacastro
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 1:06:42 PM

I think team ICO could do it too.

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___________
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 12:45:37 AM
Reply

enslaved kinda does that with its ending.
is it better to live in a fake world of happiness, or to live in a real world full of destruction and misery?

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Lawless SXE
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 12:55:12 AM

Great example.

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FatherSun
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 2:05:12 PM

The Blue pill or the Red?

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kraygen
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 1:19:10 AM
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I think if done right, by the right developer, a game focused around death, it's emotions, and everything that it involves could be an amazing experience.

However I stress "done right."

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nilos95
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 1:36:50 AM
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OK, that's a teaser for the project Kaz will deliver in 30 years(he will start development soon)by using some of PD's workforce(those in GT portable team)!

Just Kidding obviously!

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Ultimate_Balla
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 1:42:00 AM
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Damn. You people are emo! :P

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 2:17:34 AM

Everybody's emo around death :)

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BTNwarrior
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 1:53:33 AM
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does this mean that in GT6 if we crash really bad we have to start the whole thing over again?

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Killa Tequilla
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 6:52:01 AM

Yes, yes it does.

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SolidFantasy
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 9:26:13 AM
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I think games have a lot more offer society than most people and even developers are aware of. Kaz seems to have the right idea.

The only times I can recall have a "mimesis" moment came from FFVII / FFVIII and the MGS series.

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Zorigo
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 10:39:31 AM
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To portray it in game shouldn't be too hard. there are some very masterful story tellers outthere.
I know entertainment can evoke huge emotion, because i just read a thousand splendid suns by khaled hosseini and god damn what a brilliant brilliant book.

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FM23
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 10:52:24 AM
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Well before going off and making a game that embraces death, how about fixing the easy A.I. in GT5...that's what his plans for the future should be.

I'm not sure why people want a game like this, this seems more like a movie. Mafia 2 would have been a great movie instead of the lackluster game it turned out to be. If someone can do this right...well maybe go ahead but I have a strong feeeling this won't sell well.

Seriously, why would you want to explore a game about death, that some weird gothic ish. I mean bad things happen to people all the time and some may use gaming as an escape so why the hell would someone make such a depressing game. My brother got shot some years back so why the hell would I want to play something that centers around death. Yeah I don't have to buy it, but why even create it. And how could you make a quality game about death that's worth $60? HA

This is best served as a movie production. I wouldn't watch this movie nor would I care to play a game that explores this depressing topic. This game wouldn't be a MIMeSIS experience for me. Just my opinion, but really...who really wants to play this?

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Scarecrow
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 11:44:26 AM

"easy AI"

How about not tuning up your car and see who's "easy?"

The only reason why you beat the AI is because either you enter with cars that are way above anything they use or you've got 200 more horsepower and other tunes ups on your car.

You should instead not blame the AI, but rather blame yourself.

A better comparison on how good the AI is if you go to Arcade mode and face the AI in Pro/A class without any assists and real physics.

It's up to you how real your races are. If you're playing with Traction control, break control, and all that pffft of course it would be easy. I doubt you were playing without assist.

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FM23
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 5:31:15 PM

@scarecrow

WHOA buddy, I don't play with any assist except ABS at 1. The only races I found hard were the classic american car race, super get, formula 1, and some of the race car circuits. I wasn't claiming every race was easy, but for the most...most races were which is both my fault and the games. And yes, I do play fair game so I frequently make sure I'm not overpowedred. I shouldn't even been in control of this anyway, the game should...poor game design 1.

And yes I race pro in arcade with no assist as well. The races are a better here, thats for sure...too bad no Xp is gained here. I race with 'real' physics so that's not my issue. PROBABLY I should race with tires less than racing hard or medium. I love GT5...but you can't blame me for getting tired of lackluster races. Your giving GT5 too much credit and trying to say me...the gamer...is doing something wrong when it's the game and partly me, but I'm aware of my faults. I'm just spitting facts here...nothing more. like I said I love Gt5, so don't get the impression I'm talking big shit here. If anything I'm knocking poor game design.

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Wissam
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 11:15:56 AM
Reply

If he talks about death. he should at least give us a save option in the 24 hours races.
cause someone will certainly dies after playing
that much.

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Scarecrow
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 11:45:51 AM

Would be a great option.

Though the 24 hour races are aimed at those who take Le Mans seriously. Some can do it by themselves, others actually team up with a friend or two to take turns. The thrill of actually completing that, specially if your buddies help you out would be amazing.

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FatherSun
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 12:11:16 PM
Reply

If any medium can explore Life and Death in such a way it is gaming. With this interactive entertainment it allows for most of humanities senses to fuse together to form such an immersive perception of the subject at hand. Light and sound and thought all working together to engulf the mind in endless worlds that can only be limited by the imagination. It is a scary thought indeed yet humanity was created to explore such horizons. Maybe this medium can help us better understand what may lie ahead. Maybe. Humans may simply not be capable of that level of comprehension.

I will leave you with this. No matter what you think you have figured out. No matter what levels are reached there is always more.

I have traveled my mind to the end of existence and sat alongside with "GOD". I asked, What comes next? It said " I do not know."

Last edited by FatherSun on 2/12/2011 12:21:21 PM

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FM23
Saturday, February 12, 2011 @ 5:33:07 PM

That actually sounds like a good game right there. I thought of a depressing game, your game sounds deep...lol

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daus26
Sunday, February 13, 2011 @ 1:43:08 PM
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I don't see how it's possible for Kaz and PD to do any other games unless they buff up their staffs significantly. As the moment, they have a lot of things going on with the GT franchise. Each GT game would take years, and after that, they'd take little to no break in preparation of the next one, and perhaps their Tourist Trophy game. Also, they'll have to worry about the portable GT version.

That said, I'm really curious to what Kaz is really talking about here, and how he would make a game out of it. However, I don't want it to stray from GT to the point where we'll only get a GT game every 8 years, considering the fact that GT5 took as long as it did. If they do, they need to triple their staff at least, literally.

Btw, them guys at GTP have been translating some tweet stuff again and it looks like actually fully, customizable transmission is coming, and also the GT5 PP system. BUT remember, its not a guarantee. Translation should never be 100% depended on.

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