Ford Vehicles Featured in New Console Game

Ford and video game developer Eidos are polishing the virtual chrome on 18 of the auto maker’s classic and contemporary vehicles for use in an upcoming title, “Ford Bold Moves Street Racing.” The game was developed for PC and console platforms.

Ford Models appearing in the game range from the 1968 Mustang GT to the 1973 Escort RS2000 to the hot-off-the-assembly line 2007 Shelby GT500. While many of the cars fall into the classic category, the game takes Ford’s new brand message, “Bold Moves,” as its title.

The branded game approach is a risky one. While ad agencies often work with clients who want to develop such advergames for retail, the safer approach is to integrate with demonstrably popular games through product placement or billboard-style 3D advertisements.

“Those are big risks because you are putting in a lot of money in terms of development costs,” Dario Raciti, OMD’s group director and gaming leader, told ClickZ News recently. “The cost of producing a game for next generation platforms has increased significantly from a year ago on current generation consoles. We’re talking about almost Hollywood dollars.”

One of the features in the “Street Racing” title that’s certainly a bold move for Ford is the decision to allow its cars to show damage as drivers ding them up on the road. Damage will also affect the cars’ performance. The issue has been a pain point for game developers and publishers licensing real-world autos for racing titles.

“What’s great about Ford is they get it,” said Eidos Marketing Manager David Bamberger. “They understand gamers and are open to understanding gamers more.”

The game is due out in late September on legacy Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation 2 consoles, and a version will come out for Windows. A Sony PSP version will be available in October. The release dates coincide with the fall and holiday season rather than the 2007 automotive release schedule. It will also be a budget title that lists for $19.95. The budget price lends itself to release on existing consoles, rather than the Xbox 360, which is already out, or the Sony PlayStation 3, which is due out this holiday season.

“The focus here is that Ford is known for ‘fun, fast and affordable,'” said Bamberger. ‘At the lifecycle of the hardware, this is the perfect title for the Xbox, PS2 and PC.”

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