The 2011 Ford Fiesta RS WRC, based on the Fiesta road car, is the star of Codemasters’ new rally game, DiRT 3. Over the years, more than 40 Ford vehicles have starred in more than 20 video games since 1998, with the Focus and Mustang featured most often. In DiRT 3, YouTube sensation and Ford driver Ken Block appears with his Ford Fiesta RS WRC 2011 as he shreds rallies in the new video game by Codemasters.
Veteran gamers know the Fiesta rally car is only the latest in a long line of fast Fords that have starred in some of most popular racing video games for more than a decade.
The tradition officially started in 1998 when gamers had a chance to drive the Ford Escort WRC 4WD in the first chapter of Codemasters’ racing title, Colin McRae Rally, named after the late WRC star. One year later, the powerful Ford Focus RS WRC graced the cover of Colin McRae Rally 2.0. The car was a virtual version of the vehicle McRae drove in the 1999 WRC championship.
For gearheads, the virtual racing is a realistic simulation of the high-horsepower thrill of motorsports. For Ford, participating in video games has been a way to reach millions of enthusiasts around the world. “Video games have become so realistic you can almost smell the burning rubber,” said Mark Bentley, licensing manager at Ford Global Brand Licensing. While Fords have been featured in a variety of the most popular video games, Ford has always enjoyed a special relationship with Codemasters, makers of best-selling rallying games. WRC versions of the Focus and Fiesta, for example, have often played leading roles in Codemasters’ titles, but there is also room for historical legends like the Sierra RS Cosworth, Group B RS200 and Puma Super 1600 Rally. Even the Ford Transit van and F-150 pickup made cameo appearances in Colin McRae Rally ‘04.
The Ford Mustang has been a fixture in video games such as Microsoft’s Midtown Madness (1999). The GT, Boss, Cobra and Shelby Mustangs also appear in Forza Motorsport, Gran Turismo and Need for Speed. In these games, the Ford GT supercar and the Taurus also have recurring roles. Ford also lent its name to the five video games of the “Ford Racing” series for Playstation, PC, Xbox and Nintendo DS, published from 2001 to 2008. The games featured a wide range of Ford vehicles – such as the Mustang, Ford GT, RS200, and the F-150 – and also a selection of classic and historic Ford cars from the near and far past: Capri, Gran Torino, Thunderbird, Puma, Sierra, Escort, and even a Model T.
The most recent arrival on gamers’ screens is the Fiesta RS WRC 2011, the muscular four-wheeled star of DiRT 3. The Ford Fiesta RS WRC is based on Ford’s successful Fiesta road car, and has been developed by Ford partner M-Sport together with Ford of Europe.
“Ford Global Brand Licensing works closely with video game developers to ensure accuracy and authenticity of Ford vehicles in games,” Bentley said. “We are involved from start to finish during the development process and provide publishers with key assets such as vehicle designs, detailed exterior and interior photos, vehicle specifications and recordings of engine sounds. The more we support a video game project, the better the end result will be.” Because of this, the driving model and car behavior in the video game has been designed to provide the best realism, which makes driving the wild Fiesta RS WRC in the game as fun and challenging as the real thing – but from the safety of your own home.
DiRT 3 is the eighth chapter of Codemasters’ long-running rally racing videogame series that started in 1998 with Colin McRae Rally. In total, the Colin McRae Rally/DiRT series has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.