If Kazunori Yamauchi had one obsession or even a fetish for that matter it would no doubt be for supreme graphical fidelity. I would hate to be his adolescent son presenting my crayon picture of a car, can you imagine the critique!
Dodgy looking environments and standard cars aside, with often misplaced focus, there is no doubt one of the key strengths of Polyphony Digital, and for sure driven by KY’s desire for perfection, is the teams innate and borderline obsessive recreation of a physical object, namely a car. Every version of Gran Turismo on every console has pretty much been a graphical standard setter!! It almost seems that RAM and CPU power that is not even there and available, has somehow been conjured into existence just to eek out that wee bit extra detail in their creations.
We all like to pick apart PD’s efforts but we have to hand it to them. What they can achieve visually in a game with limited technical resources is quite astounding. When Forza 5 Released on the Xbox One I did a Photomode graphical comparison between the two. The fact that I could actually compare them in the first place was amazing to start with, especially if we consider that the Xbox One is a current generation system, while the PS3 (at the time) was 8 years old. (10 now)
I would hasten to add that the smartphone you have in your pocket is likely more powerful than your PS3, and pretty much in a year or 2 they will be more powerful than the current generation of consoles. Yeah I know it is crazy and pretty unbelievable. Well, as an example My Galaxy Note 5 has an 8 core processor and 3GB of ram. My PS3 has only 512MB of Ram for memory and Graphics.
So to really understand and appreciate PD’s ability to really exploit hardware just take this one example into consideration. An Xbox One has up to 32 times more access to video memory vs the PS3 – 256MB vs 8000MB. The PS3 can actually use up to 224MB of its system memory to aid the GPU memory to claw things back, but it is clear, the Xbox One trumps the PS3 substantially in this respect. Now there are allot of other factors that determine a system performance that we will not go into, but into terms of raw compute CPU power the PS3 has around 230Gflops while Xbox One is around 1.31Tflops! So almost 6 times the CPU power for the Xbox One. Now it is always extremely difficult to compare CPU’s and GPU’s especially one that are vastly different in architecture (CPU) but it is safe to say that “overall” CPU performance and GPU performance is close to an order of magnitude greater on the Xbox One.
Now with PD’s track record of exerting every ounce of performance out of previous consoles, what can we honestly expect from them with the next Gran Turismo on a system that is even more capable than an Xbox One? I mean premium cars as they stand on the PS3, would certainly not look out of place on the PS4, but if we know KY and PD as well as we do, we know for certainty that the PS4 offers up boundless opportunities in the way of raw power which is a great excuse and cue for PD focus on the realistic pursuit of graphical perfection.
Certainly with GT5 and 6 on the PS3 premiums cars and their aesthetics without doubt were the main focus, while the environmental graphical representations were never given the same amount of love, though at least with the new track additions they did still look good all things considering. I mean if we wanted a more unified graphical representation then the quality of the premium cars would have suffered, though how much or how noticeable or important it would have been is debatable from an end user perspective.
With so much more power, and with KY quoted as saying that the PS4 is much easier to develop for, at least graphically, we can without hesitation expect some magical things from PD. Even if PD go all out militant on the car representations like they always have done, I am sure the PS4 will have enough in reserve for the environments and sound to get the same attention that they deserve and some love that was sorely absent in previous Gran Turismo’s. Let’s just hope that PD take into consideration that we have already been waiting 2.5 years for a GT on the PS4 and that we are all mad keen to get stuck into a new Gran Turismo.
I would hate to think, that while I write this KY is probably sitting there rocking in an old creaky wooden arm chair at PD towers, smoking on a pipe and listening to Miles Davis contemplating that it is now almost possible with new tech to digitally create a virtual car from the Atom up!!! Oh Dear, take a comfortable seat people, KY is smoking his pipe again!!