Heard of Drift 19? Probably not, and that’s no surprise. Their website is a featureless placeholder, there are no posts on its official Instagram (@drift19com) and updates on the game are pretty sporadic on the game’s Facebook page.
But, from what little we’ve seen so far, there’s reason to be excited about its planned launch on November 8.
Launching on the Steam platform as an early access title next month and produced by Polish company ECC Games (which as far as we can tell has also worked on the Nintendo switch port of Car Mechanic Simulator 18), Drift 19 is pitched as “the first real drift simulator”, which should make all you oversteer enthusiasts start salivating.
After all, dedicated drift games are not exactly thick on the ground. Besides a plethora of mobile drifting games, some good, some distinctly below-par, the sport of drifting doesn’t have much representation on PC or console.
Besides titles like CarX Drift Racing, which was developed from a mobile game, and the slightly obtuse Russian Drift Series game, serious drift sims are few and far between.
Most virtual drifters instead look to more full-featured racing sims like Assetto Corsa, Project Cars and iRacing to get their sideways fix, and there’s no shortage of tracks, cars and other DLC to tailor those games toward the drift crowd.
However, Drift 19 looks set to be an all-inclusive out-of-the-box drifting game, and that may be far more appealing to gamers looking for a turn-key experience.
It’s currently in the beta stage, and while it’s not due to go on sale to the public on the Steam platform for PC in ‘Early Access’ form until November 8 we can already tell there will be a number of drawcards.
Firstly, it looks like it’ll be a graphical feast. Car models of a Toyota AE86 and an E30 BMW 3 Series show plenty of attention to detail, and the developers say they’re officially licensed too – no generic names here.
As for the cars you can expect, we’ve also spied images of a Mazda RX-8, E46 BMW 3 Series and Toyota 86 in action.
But more than that, Drift 19 appears to allow gamers to delve much deeper into their virtual drift pigs. Engines are rendered in incredible detail, and there looks to be a very robust and Car Mechanic-style modification interface for the suspension, engine, exhaust, and bodykit.
Want to replace that cast manifold with a stainless-steel header? Physically click and drag to perform the swap. Are the steel belts hanging out of your rear tyres? No problem, because it looks like Drift 19 even simulates an actual tyre changing machine. Beaurepaire’s Simulator 2020? Maybe.
The early access version of Drift 19 will give players the ability to modify their car in the garage, with access to around 750 parts, and practice drifting or complete drift challenges on Japan’s famous Ebisu circuit. Three configurations of Ebisu will be available: Ebisu School, Ebisu Minami and Ebisu Driftland.
Once the full game is released the number of available tracks and cars will swell, while ECC Games says new game modes and a multiplayer mode will be added. It'll initially only be available on Steam for PC, though it appears Playstation and Xbox versions will eventually come.
However, as to whether the physics engine does an adequate job of simulating the drifting experience – something that many racing games struggle to get right – remains to be seen. WhichCar hopes to go hands-on with Drift 19 soon to find out.