The upcoming release of MLB The Show 21 will be met with great fanfare thanks in no small part to cover athlete Fernando Tatis Jr.
After establishing himself as arguably the face of Major League Baseball in 2020, the San Diego Padres superstar was picked to grace the cover of this year's video game from Sony Interactive Entertainment:
There was a brief moment in the first week of the regular season when it looked like the release of The Show would be a somber moment. Tatis injured his left shoulder on a strikeout in San Diego's 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on April 5.
The Padres later announced Tatis suffered a partially torn labrum, but he wouldn't need surgery. The 22-year-old is eligible to come off the injured list on April 16 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, though the team has not confirmed if he will be activated on that date.
Even though there may be a bit of a wait to get the real Tatis back on the field, gamers can take control of the virtual version as soon as Tuesday.
For obsessive gamers and MLB fans, Sony Interactive Entertainment is releasing a special Jackie Robinson edition of the game.
The special edition release will include all the features of the standard version, plus a Diamond Choice pack, Ballplayer Equipment pack, 10 The Show packs, three Gold Choice packs and a Robinson bat skin.
Preorders of the Jackie Robinson edition also come with four days of early access to the game.
As for the content of this year's game, San Diego Studios recently released a trailer showing gameplay footage:
The notable new features in this year's game include a stadium creator that allows gamers to build a custom baseball cathedral for their favorite team to play in.
Pinpoint pitching is the biggest gameplay addition, with Matthew Liebl of FanSided breaking down how it acts as a more detailed version of the traditional analog and meter tool that has been used in the past:
"Pinpoint Pitching combines a little bit of the Meter and Analog pitching functions along with a new specific gesture motion that you'll perform with the R stick. This motion will be rated on a GRD system: Gesture Performance, Release Timing, and Direction of Release. If all three are performed correctly, you'll generate a perfect pitch with very, very high accuracy."
One significant change for this year's release of MLB The Show is it will be available on current and next-gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles. The series has been a Playstation exclusive since it launched in 2006.
Per Tomas Franzese of Inverse.com, a Playstation representative said MLB made the decision to open the game up to Xbox owners.
"As part of the goal for this year's game, MLB decided to bring the franchise to more players and baseball fans," the PlayStation representative told Inverse. "This decision provides a unique opportunity to further establish MLB The Show as the premier brand for baseball video games."
In addition to being available on both systems, MLB The Show 21 will have cross-platform capability for Playstation owners to play online against Xbox owners.
MLB The Show 21 will be available on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S consoles on Tuesday, April 20.