Help: can't initialize a remote backend with custom state

I have an existing configuration, a set of config files that are shared between different environments (e.g. stage, prod) that use different local state files. I’m looking to migrate these state files to a remote backend, but the intuitive way of doing init (using “-state=path/to/state.tf” so that it knows where to get the state locally) does not work and terraform simply errors out with no output except the -help text.

Has anybody tried this before?

Personally I think this is less than ideal (it’s not a deal-breaker, though!), but I just decided to do it the old-fashioned way: copy the local state file and name it how you would if you weren’t trying to use the same config for multiple environments (i.e. call it terraform.tfstate), and then the init can proceed. It would appear that the init subcommand does not recognize the ‘-state=’ option