Meet the coolest bakkie on the planet!

Meet the coolest bakkie on the planet!

I have found my new bakkie! You can watch it in action on the video below. But sadly, I won’t ever be able to drive it …

I have decided to kick off the year on a fun note. So, instead of penning a column on the woes of our economy, the challenges faced by our industry and the many tragedies associated with the pandemic, I am going to write a positive column. While never diminishing the current realities of life (my heart breaks when I think about the families who have been devastated by the loss of their loved ones), I think we need to escape for a little while and just have some fun. So, here goes …

I have stumbled across what may just be the coolest bakkie on the planet. It’s a Ford F-150 and unfortunately I will never be able to drive it. That’s not because the F-150 isn’t available in South Africa. The bakkie I’m lusting over is part of a video game. It’s not real.

It was created by Ford and video game developer Psyonix and the “butchest” of all bakkies plays a starring role in a game called Rocket League. The F-150 in question has a bad-ass exterior design and it even comes with a rocket booster. In case you don’t have a geeky kid who enjoys gaming, Rocket League is described by its makers as a “high-powered hybrid of arcade-style soccer and vehicular mayhem”. Putting that into simple English, it’s a soccer game played by cars. There are two teams that use rocket-powered vehicles to hit a ball into their opponent’s goal and score points.

Ford is the first global automaker to work with Psyonix to create a truck specifically for this somewhat popular game (Rocket League passed one million concurrent players for the first time in its history last year).

To ensure the F-150 Rocket League Edition in-game vehicle maintains the real-world styling cues and Built Ford Tough DNA of the iconic bakkie, the F-150 design team collaborated with designers at Psyonix. The athletic-looking F-150 that appears on screen is based on the all-new 2021 F-150 and features the signature C-clamp headlight design, rounded wheel arches, drop-down windows and “F-150” stamped in the tailgate.

“It had to be an F-150 but one that fits within Psyonix’s extreme virtual world, pairing soccer and mayhem,” says Ehab Kaoud, chief designer, Ford trucks. “The F-150 is already the most popular truck in the real world, and this F-150 Rocket League Edition is poised to be the most popular truck in the gaming world, too. It’s Built Ford Tough meets gaming.”

This is a great marketing opportunity for Ford. According to the Entertainment Software Association, a gaming industry trade association, more than 214 million Americans play video games and three-quarters of all US households have at least one gamer in the home.

“As opportunities in gaming continue to grow, we’re really looking at this as its own marketing channel,” says Scott Denby, strategy manager, Ford brand content and alliances. “It’s the same way you would look at social media or TV and film integration. We’re identifying authentic ways to be involved in gaming and to do it in a meaningful way. We want to make sure we’re adding to the player communities’ experience.”

Meanwhile, I will just dream of driving one of these bakkies one day. Mit rocket booster, of course.

Published by

Charleen Clarke

CHARLEEN CLARKE is editorial director of FOCUS. While she is based in Johannesburg, she spends a considerable amount of time overseas, attending international transport events – largely in her capacity as associate member of the International Truck of the Year Jury.
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