The game everyone, including me and every other major sports gaming editor on planet earth thought dead, was announced this morning: Major League Baseball 2K13.
It is exciting news for sure, but I'm also a tad cynical. How much was 2K planning on this game? Has it gotten a full year development cycle or is this Major League Baseball's 'oh crap we don't have a game on XBox' moment so they gave 2K a deal they couldn't refuse to develop a new game?
It definitely feels more like the latter to me, because if the game was truly planned you would have expected a lot more, you know, recognition in quarterly reports from Take Two that a game for one of the most popular sports in America was coming in Q1 of 2013.
Instead, on a cold and damp morning (at least here in Oklahoma) we get a surprise announcement that a new MLB 2K game is coming. And with that announcement, I'm wondering just how much work could have been done on this year's game if everything points to 2K not planning on it until just recently?
This whole thing just feels thrown together.
At the same time, I'm not complaining. A new baseball game, even if just with minor updates, is good news for XBox gamers who want an updated experience where the Blue Jays are pretty good and the Angels have Josh Hamilton.
But this is just me doing what any responsible sports gaming fan/community member/writer/editor should do: minimize expectations and just be happy that 2K Sports hasn't completely folded on baseball.
This also raises interesting questions for the future, I suspect that Major League Baseball did not in any way want its product not on all of the major consoles. I also suspect 2K Sports got a much better deal than it has gotten in the past to develop the game this year. I also suspect that this means that Major League Baseball won't accept a one console reality for baseball as we head into the next generation of consoles either.
This likely means that either 2K or EA Sports will almost certainly be fielding a baseball title next year and beyond. It is doubtful both do, but it is also unlikely neither do.
For now, XBox owners have a new baseball option and MLB has its product on two consoles. It was surprising, but perhaps not considering the reality of the situation.
It is most definitely nice to be surprised in sports gaming every once in awhile.