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DICE 2011: Polyphony Digital’s Yamauchi On Mimesis, Creating History

More than simply designing games that people enjoy, Polyphony Digital CEO and Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi says he’s driven by the idea of mimesis pushing the industry forward.
More than simply designing games that people enjoy, Polyphony Digital CEO and Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi says he’s driven by the idea of mimesis pushing the industry forward. Talking at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas on Thursday, Yamauchi defined mimesis as “a certain reaction when you meet something incredible, find something new, and are infected with feverish desire to do something. What I want to do with Gran Turismo is invoke this mimesis on the audience of players.” Citing the works of Mark Cerny and Richard Garriott, which helped instill mimesis in him at a young age, Yamauchi said he now felt obligated “to pass on what I’ve received to the new audience and the next generation. When a form of art is undergoing development, it’s a chain of mimesis that really makes it change and grow.” Yamauchi said he saw Gran Turismo as existing the edge of the video game and automobile industries, just as new organisms come into existence at the savannah at the edge of a desert and the rainforest. The veteran Japanese creator noted how Gran Turismo was used to design the fastest car on Earth, along with sponsor Red Bull. Though he’s known specifically for games focused on auto racing, Yamauchi said he has a much bolder vision for a type of game he wants to see the industry produce. “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,” he said. “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 completed his presentation with an appreciation of the “gems” found in the history of both automobiles and video games, saying he would join the development community to “continue creating history together.”

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