With MLB The Show 21 dropping Friday for gamers with early access, all eyes will be on the new features and upgrades that developer San Diego Studio has made to this year's game.
The early access was made available to anyone who preordered either of the special-edition versions featuring Jackie Robinson on the cover. Everyone else will have to wait until Tuesday to get their hands on the best MLB simulation on the market.
San Diego Studio has given fans plenty to get excited about, with multiple new features and improvements to make for a smoother gaming experience.
Major League Baseball is the only one of North America's big four sports wherein the dimensions of the field vary from stadium to stadium. A football field is always 100 yards from goal line to goal line. A basketball court is 94 feet long and 50 feet wide. And a hockey rink is 200 feet long and 85 feet wide.
A baseball stadium, on the other hand, could be 310 feet down on foul line and 325 feet down the other. San Diego Studio is finally letting fans take advantage of the uniqueness of MLB stadiums by letting them build their own in MLB The Show 21.
As indicated in the trailer, Stadium Creator includes contemporary, traditional and fantasy design kits to help you build your home park. The feature will only be available to gamers on next-gen consoles, so PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners are unfortunately out of luck this year.
Players with a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S will be able to share their creations in online gaming. It will also be available to use in Diamond Dynasty and Franchise modes.
Create Your Own Shohei Ohtani
One of the major selling points in MLB The Show over the years is Road to the Show mode. While it would have been easy for San Diego Studio to rest on its laurels because of the popularity of the feature, this year's game features one significant change for the better.
A trailer dropped in February indicates that MLB The Show 21 will give gamers the ability to create a two-way player:
Ramone Russell, MLB The Show's product development communications and brand strategist, told Brian Shea of Game Informer the decision to allow two-way players came from the studio learning that gamers will often create a pitcher and position player.
"A lot of people create a pitcher and a position player," Russell said. "Now you can be a two-way player, and we have this new narrative feature set that talks about you being a two-way player. If you choose not to be, you don't have to, but you have that opportunity now."
Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels has become one of the sport's must-watch superstars because of his ability to hit 100 mph on a radar gun and drive the ball 450 feet with the bat.
Now, gamers who have thought about trying to create their own Ohtani will have that opportunity.
One area of MLB The Show that had gotten stale was its gameplay. Pitching mechanics have been largely unchanged for a long time, though that is not going to be the case this year.
The traditional pitching meter will still be included, but it's also receiving an upgrade in the form of Pinpoint Pitching.
According to Shea, Pinpoint Pitching gives gamers "more control on the mound than ever before," though it is "more challenging" than the standard pitching meter.
Russell explained to Shea what that will mean in the context of the game:
"'I'm aiming to pitch here. If I hit the meter perfect, it needs to go here.' For that to happen, you need to have a lot of levers that can't be easy to hit or you kind of break the game. There needs to be some depth there, and that's what Pinpoint Pitching is; we're grading you on your gesture, we're grading you on your gesture timing, and we're grading you on your accuracy."
Shea noted that if Pinpoint Pitching doesn't tickle your fancy, the game will include "rebalanced" versions of the pitching meter, analog and pulse for your pitching needs.
During a feature premiere in March, San Diego Studio also showed off new fielding mechanics that will make it easier to know the proper route to take on fly balls and where to position yourself to play balls hit off the wall.
The ability to make jump catches at the wall has also been overhauled. In addition to being told you will need to jump with a series of upward arrows, the animation will also allow for more flexibility so that avatars are capable of making catches to the right and left side of their bodies instead of only straight up and down.