The People Behind Gran Turismo

Aside from a few seconds of screen time in the rolling credits at the end of each game, few people aside from Kazunori Yamauchi get much credit for the countless hours of hard work that goes into each masterpiece of the Gran Turismo series. True, Polyphony Digital is a very secretive company – that’s just a fact of life in their industry – but there are hundreds of brilliant people getting their hands dirty (and sleeping on cots under their desks) who deserve more credit for what they do. A single web page on Polyphony Digital’s corporate site offers the rare opportunity to place faces with names. Thanks to the magic of online translation, let’s take a closer look at who they are. GTPlanet wishes all of them well – keep up the great work, guys, we are looking forward to what you have in store for us.


Mitsuru-san is responsible for managing the online aspect of GT5 Prologue. He’s the one who actually posts those news updates that you see in the game’s menu, maintains the time trial rankings, and online racing events. He also works at a “lower level”, aiding the development of the actual network environment. He had no game development experience prior to joining Polyphony Digital, but it hasn’t been an issue.

Kazuaki Matsuo

Kazuaki-san worked with Sony Corporation before moving to Polyphony Digital in 2005. He specializes in service delivery systems, and now develops the client-side online software. In other words, he writes the underlying code that enables online races and connectivity. He states that he enjoys his job because everyone at Polyphony has a “clear purpose”, and the result of their labor is immediately visible in the products they produce.

Norio Takama

Norio-san has an extremely important job that affects everyone who plays Gran Turismo – he’s a mathematician who develops the physics models that define how each car moves and feels. He originally worked for Sega, creating games for the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast. This is a fascinating area of game development that is critical to the series, but unfortunately does not get enough credit thanks to all the popular attention to visual details.

Shinobu Sawamura

Shinobu is responsible for the stunning backgrounds and landscapes within the games. According to Google Translator, she feels “excitement at the area covered by skin” for the opportunity to create virtual worlds, and enjoys working with people from around the world to put each game together. Now, the question is, who are those other people from “around the world”?

Akira Saito

Before joining Polyphony Digital, Akira Saito developed arcade games. Like Shinobu, he also works with visual effects, landscapes, and textures to make real-time computer graphics look more realistic (he’s obviously very good at what he does). Like the others, he enjoys the working atmosphere at Polyphony, but also the clear sense of purpose and the fact that their work is covered extensively by “foreign reporters”.

March 16th, 2009 by Jordan Original Post


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