Initial D is one of the most popular manga series of all time. Running from 1995 until just earlier this year, this nearly two decade-long serialized franchise centers around illegal Japanese street racing, and for lack of a better term, is all sorts of awesome. Despite being adapted for television, the Initial D series has seen a few video game iterations as well — and by a “few” we actually mean “a lot.” Most of the games were arcade titles, however, there were a couple console versions thrown into the mix; the most notable being the Saturn game bearing the same title, as well as the more recent PS3 entry Initial D Extreme Stage.
Needless to say, in the East the Initial D games have been pretty darn successful. Thus, when Sega revealed this week that they have a free-to-play game based on the franchise headed to the Nintendo 3DS, fans of the lineage lit up with fervor. But adding to the news is the fact that this new game, entitled Initial D: Perfect Shift Online, is a free-to-play title.
At this point, solid information on Perfect Shift Online is fairly sparse, but from early reports it’s said that players’ cars will drive automatically, while folks will only be required to handle shifting gears and nothing else. Of course, like any good F2P game, items will be monetized, which hopefully doesn’t mean the thing turns into “pay-to-win.”
As of now, a beta for Perfect Shift goes live in January, with the full game launching in Spring of next year. It’s unclear (and probably unlikely) that the game will ever seen the light of day internationally, but with as many 3DS games coming West as we’ve seen and heard about lately, it wouldn’t seem too far fetched for such a thing to happen.