The PlayStation 5’s debut first-party game is coming and it’ll be MLB The Show 21.
After Gran Turismo 7 was officially delayed over console launch season, it looks like the first Sony-published PlayStation 5 game will now be their coveted MLB series.
There are so many rumors about what’s actually included in this year’s annual MLB release, and it might even be supported cross-platform, which is very rare for console publishers. This would be the first baseball game with cross-platform support since MLB 2K13, unless you count the not-very-similar Backyard Baseball ’15 for iOS and Android.
Having support for more platforms than just PlayStation would be neat, especially for PC users, but it’s definitely not necessary. It’s a Sony release and being given a Sony platform to launch on is almost a given.
Annual sports games have suffered lately with NBA 2K being the superior game at this point. Madden has seemingly buffered out and 2K even has rights to release a non-simulation NFL game in the next couple of years. NHL games have become stale and there’s nothing else to look forward to since NCAA Football still has no signs of returning.
But here are my very practical expectations for MLB The Show 21.
MLB The Show 20 seemed to pump out as much as it could from the PS4 and PS4 Pro. Thankfully, the next-gen game will likely begin to push back on some key enhancements.
After 2020’s spectacular release of PlayStation 5 games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, NBA 2K, and others, the bar has definitely been raised. The expectations will be even higher this time around.
Of the things I absolutely love about MLB The Show, one of them definitely isn’t the game’s presentation. It’s nice that they add in MLB Network, I’ll give them that, but there’s gotta be something smarter and better for video games.
Sure, it might be cool that the game provides insights like how fast a runner travelled on the way to stealing second base, or how much ground they gained while chasing a fly ball in the outfield, or some of the home run replays. None of this is dynamic. It’s always the same angle, the same replay, the same Show-Trax. Everything is stale and meaningless after two days of gameplay.
I’d love to see some additional commentary on things like injuries. The game doesn’t even show the injured player, it just automatically cuts into a black screen with a prompt that says “____ has been injured, he needs to be removed from the game.” That’s lame and I need to see more.
It’s annoying that small things like this add up to cost the game a great deal of success here. In an indoor stadium, the game should not be giving me a weather update. More controversially, there’s no weather delays. Every single time Heidi Watney enters to give me an “update” on the rain forecast, I want to scream. She shouldn’t be saying “they might not let this one go any further” because the game literally does not allow for any sort of rain delay or stoppage in play.
This would be a cool addition to game modes like Road to the Show or Franchise Mode, where you can choose to allow for game cancellations due to weather. Of course, players would love an option to toggle this on and off.
Oh, and Heidi Watney? Get rid of her. Or move her to the booth.
I love women representing sports figures, but sideline reporting needs to go. Not only in video games is it annoying as hell, but it’s ruining football as we speak. NFL broadcasts are some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Sideline reporting is at the bottom of it.
Create-A-Ballpark and better Custom Team options.
This one seems like a no-brainer. I cannot imagine Sony keeping this one out for another year.
If you create a team and start a franchise, you do not get to build your own ballpark. Hell, generic ones aren’t even created for you. Instead, you get to play at another MLB team’s stadium, with their logos, their advertisements, and their backstop banner that says “twins.com” or whichever.
Creating an arena was literally in NHL games by the 2003 release, creating a stadium was in NCAA Football 2007, and for crying out loud, creating a ballpark was in EA’s MVP 06 NCAA Baseball game.
Granted, these are all comparisons to EA games, which seemed to have the edge on all other sports publishers. Even 2K’s baseball games lacked create a park features. But it’s far overdue for a park creation tool in MLB The Show.
Insane franchise mode and support for two-way players.
A big deal lately is a two-way player. The Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani comes to mind. He’s a pitcher who yields comparisons to Justin Verlander and plays outfield and DH, batting .269 career lifetime in the majors.
The ability to play as a two-way player in RTTS or potentially draft one in Franchise Mode would be a game-changer.
As for Franchise Mode, it needs support for online franchise. It would also add a lot of dynamic to the game if relocation or expansion were also available. Currently, the only way to achieve this is by creating a new team and replacing it with another team in their place. Even by doing this, realigning the divisions isn’t possible. Your team could be in Florida and play in the AL West.
Better RTTS for pitchers…and everyone else.
Road to the Show is clearly not the best game mode for career simulation, especially after NHL 21 just beefed up their Be a Pro mode.
Unfortunately, the only way to make RTTS fun is by playing as a position player. Even then, there are still major hiccups, like the lack of any storyline whatsoever. You can build relationships with your teammates, but it isn’t dynamic at all and interviews with the press are very rare, only triggering after major accomplishments like first home run or strike out, or getting brought up to the majors.
MLB The Show has one of the best franchise modes and gameplay among sports simulation releases, but it still has a ways to go in order to really be impressive.
Guess we’ll have to see in February for MLB The Show 21 news.