I was bouncing back and forth on this one being it’s own post instead of saving it for Newsbytes, but it’s Initial D, so let’s go ahead.
The Initial D series doesn’t need much of an introduction, it being one of the pinnacles of arcade racing that has been around since the early 2000’s. The series did find it’s way to North America and Europe in iterations 1-4, but after some poor sales on the 4th model, Sega decided to keep it focused on Asian markets. That said, with the rise of chains like Round 1 USA, you can find more recent versions of the game in the US…you just have to know going into it that it is mostly in Japanese. For most locations, non-translated games tend to struggle to earn, so most avoid the high costs of importations.
That all said, interest in the series remains high in Japan and elsewhere, so Sega is ready to give the world a new iteration of the game to enjoy. While they’ve been sort of following a numbering scheme, the last one was “Initial D Zero” instead of 9; Instead of this one being called Initial D 10, they are calling it Initial D: The Arcade. Here’s the teaser, which provides some visual history of the game too:
EDIT: Just caught this posted to the Arcade Belgium Facebook, where it shows the cabinet in person about 35 min in.
This, plus the official website, have announced a special unveil/location test “Ignition” event for the game that takes place at Sega Akib@ko 5 on the 23rd & 24th of this month. Here’s a small pic of the cabinet, which lacks in some of the lighting effects that will be present (the plexiglass marquee has LEDs lighting it up from the sides). Note that there is presently no indication that Sega plans on bringing this to the West, so it will be considered a Asia-only release for now. That said, I would not be surprised if Round 1 USA imports some sets.
Screenshots can only tell us so much, but judging by these, it’s a pretty game, and seems to be using a deeper range of lighting/shadows than previous ID titles (I say seems as I am not 100% sure. Either way, looks like this is using HDR lighting to good effect); It also uses motion blur and the car models look perfect. The road texture also looks really detailed. Overall, this looks at least as good as any console racer by these, although we’ll need to see it in action for that final vote. Per the 2nd video above, this game was designed using Unreal Engine, so it’s certainly benefiting from that; later in that same video, it shows the game in motion. While the stream is a bit pixellated/artifacted, you can look past that and see that it’s a beautiful game and it moves along at a buttery-smooth 60fps. That all said, keep in mind that this is still a prototype, so Sega can still change anything to it, as well as improve the graphics further if they want.