Perpetual powerslider Ken Block has been announced as EA's new Racing Advisor for Need for Speed.
The multi-year partnership will see Mr. Block provide an "insight into what it takes to push the action and adrenaline of racing to new limits" when developing Need for Speed.
The news also served as an announcement for Gymkhana 6, the latest installment of the award-winning viral video series where Ken Block drives his souped-up Ford Fiesta ST in ways even the manufacturer probably couldn't imagine – his last outing saw turn San Francisco into an elaborate automotive obstacle course, performing preposterous powerslides, narrowly weaving between trams and even crazy mid-air drifts.
Quite how the forthcoming sequel will surpass this remains to be seen, but I eagerly await what they come up with next, although a handful of publicity photos suggest there will be a Need for Speed-style chase with Ken v.s. Lamborghini police car. This should be epic.
EA will be sponsoring Gymkhana 6, which will premiere on the official Need for Speed YouTube channel November 11th.
Mr. Block commented on the new partnership: “I feel like [Need for Speed and EA] both have the same goal in mind – to let people live out a fantasy of really pushing the limits of what you can do in the driver’s seat” said Ken. “We’re excited to show you how we’re taking things to a new level in Gymkhana SIX in just a few weeks.”
“Ken’s a true master of drifting, handling, and really turning the streets into a playground for cars. We were already huge fans of his before, and we know he will be a great asset in helping us provide gamers the most adrenaline-filled and fun racing experience in the industry as we move forward,” commented EA Ghost.
EA Ghost also hinted that the partnership will allow for future Ken Block-related game content for Need for Speed. For Rivals, Ken's instantly recogniseable livery will be available as showcased in the released screenshots featuring a Shelby Mustang dressed in the Ken Block attire, but it's surely only a matter of time before we see Gymkhana-inspired stunt challenges become a part of Need for Speed.
Of course, Ken Block was previously known as the face, and indeed the inane voice, of Codemasters' DiRT series in the video game world. His new relationship with Need for Speed obviously means that this will no longer be possible. Drawing from this, his departure from the DiRT series seems like another indication that DiRT 4 will abandon all this hoonigan nonsense and return to its pure rallying roots.