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MLB 2K12 News Post


Kotaku's Owen Good has posted his MLB 2K12 impressions. He also talks to Mark Little, the game's senior producer, about the expiring contract.

Quote:
New presentational details are still being added into MLB 2K12, ones that will advise you in how to pitch to certain batters (if you're paying attention to Gary Thorne and analysts Steve Phillips and John Kruk) and, as booth audio only aren't features that you can miss if you have a twitchy finger and button-through things out of get-on-with-it habit. The game's multi-stage commentary means the announcers interrupt themselves so they're not behind on the action, something every sports game needs to implement.

The problem is I still saw too many interstitial camera shots, particularly between innings, that seemed to linger on voids in the field or blurred-out parts of the crowd. While the catcher has a new set of behaviors, the same old batter-up animation begins each hitter's introduction. These are the kinds of things that get in the way of playing the game for long stretches.

I fear that people are going to kill the game for its looks and some of its repetitive visuals, and allege that it's a warmed over version of last year's game. It isn't though. 2K Sports has meaningfully innovated on the gameplay, and if it holds up in the long run, I think it should push other developers to try something similar, as analog controls in MLB 2K10 certainly pushed MLB 11 The Show to include them there.

Game: Major League Baseball 2K12 Reader Score: 6.5/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS3 / Xbox 360Votes for game: 12 - View All
Major League Baseball 2K12 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 MLamm16 @ 01/21/12 12:22 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaxseed Oil
http://kotaku.com/5878072/mlb-2k12-r...s-final-pitch/


Summary: graphics look the same, pitching and hitting are improved. Probably the last 2k baseball game
The graphics look nicer judging from whats been released already, but it could be the new lighting or something. They also said they revamped some of the fielding and it's supposively had a more realistic touch put into it. I'm sort of hoping if they go out, they go out with a bang, not a product that they put little effort into.
 
# 2 The Bimmer @ 01/21/12 12:39 PM
Agreed, very honest article. To me graphics are not my top priority when making a decision. The description of the pitching strategy alone sounds like it is worth the price of admission.
 
# 3 dodgerblue @ 01/21/12 12:43 PM
Very honest sounding review. The reviewer sounds very cautious and makes some statements that don't give me a lot of optimism about any graphical improvements.

I really was hoping that 2K would put it together, but it sounds like they didn't have the desire or resources to make it happen.
 
# 4 Blzer @ 01/21/12 12:48 PM
I'm not so sure that I agree with this system:

Quote:
Also, the game's going to vary your pitch effectiveness depending on what happened with it in the game. It's results-driven, and it implies a pitcher's confidence or lack thereof in his stuff. If a fastball gets belted for a hard out, there'll be no penalty even if it was a close escape or a spectacular play. But if it's blooped cheaply for a single and a run scores, it will be dinged, with a red number showing its new rating and representing a decrease.
You can ask any pitcher in the majors which kind of pitch they get frustrated over. They will tell you that if they give up a home run on a flat curveball hanging over the belt, yeah they'll beat themselves up over it because they know they shouldn't have thrown it there; but I guarantee you that every pitcher in the world absolutely despises when their best stuff results in a broken bat duck-snort single the other way that "drives" the men in scoring position, because they knew that the batter had no right to earn a hit in that scenario.

That said, while a pitcher may be angry with lowered confidence in a situation like that, it should have no effect on that fastball or cutter that he threw to that hitter in that situation. Meanwhile, if a hitter gets, say, robbed of a home run or extra bases, a pitcher will credit his outfielder and be very thankful that his pitch didn't result in what it probably deserved to result in. As a result, that pitch should now be inferior. Someone just shelled him, so they're seeing it well. Any hitter in baseball will tell you that they'll take those Texas-leaguer singles for the average boost, but it's not wise to look for results when at-bat, but to look for good contact.

Anyway, I just disagree with the way they are going about that system.
 
# 5 Blzer @ 01/21/12 01:10 PM
By the way, want to improve pitching difficulty? Take a page out of World Series Baseball 2K3, and give an option to hide the pitching cursor. I know they say they listen to their fans, but this small, small thing gets overlooked year in and year out. It's the one thing that can make that pinpoint pitching not so pinpoint, and they fail to give us this option every single year.
 
# 6 The Bimmer @ 01/21/12 02:36 PM
Well regardless of whether or not the new pitching mechanic is accurate or not, the fact that the game is trying to represent a stochastic process (analysis of information) before you make a decision to select a pitch is the appealing part of this to me. I have always felt baseball video games were more of a deterministic process like rolling dice, i.e. Strat-o-matic baseball. The more ways a baseball game can provide decisions to be made based on data, then let the probabilities and variables play out, the more of my interest you will get. I believe moving forward this kind of approach will be copied and perfected regardless of whether 2k13 ever comes out.
 
# 7 pietasterp @ 01/21/12 03:04 PM
I think the game sounds good thus far. I know they've had missteps along the way, but in general, I have a good time playing the 2k baseball games. I feel like the graphics are a big reason why the series gets trashed (especially in comparison to the other game), but to my eye, I don't think the graphics are all that bad. Not flashy, a bit flat, but I wouldn't say they're "ugly". Everyone has their own opinion, I guess.

The bottom line is that baseball essentially boils down to a series of 1-on-1 duels between pitcher and hitter, and in my opinion, MLB2k has done that very well the past 2 years. There are some bugs and some quirks which certainly are ripe for criticism, but in general, I think the game is a pretty fun and realistic representation of the game. At any rate, I guess we'll get to see if they've finally been able to put it together (sans top-flight graphics) this year. I am certainly more excited about this game than I realized after reading the initial previews...
 
# 8 bigfnjoe96 @ 01/21/12 03:55 PM
Though Owen talk some about game play, I really wanted to hear more on the ball physics & how this new addition affects the game.

Not sure if that scenario with Michael Bourne is an example of the new ball physics. J-Rob talk a little about what he saw. Hopefully more previews talk about this.

I like the fact that the Pitcher/Batter duel has been tweaked even more. Here's hoping other AI areas of the game also got worked on

Sent from Awesome Phone
 
# 9 NINJAK2 @ 01/21/12 04:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by peigone
Not sure why you would say it's probably their last game, unless one considers 100% supposition to be factual on some level. What I don't get is the statement that "these games are built on the batter-picther matchups." Pitching yes, hitting, no. Not until they offer a hitting system with actual depth and realism.

I'm also completely uninterested in any game that forces me to play it a certain way. If I want to throw 100% fastballs, I don't want the ball turning red and my fastball losing it's effectiveness because of it. Have to be able to turn that nonsense off as no dev ever gets that momentum/confidence/effectiveness stuff right in their games.
You can throw 100% fastballs if you want, just don't expect to be successful with that strategy as in real life.
 
# 10 Blitzburgh @ 01/21/12 09:37 PM
I am looking forward to this game. To me it was just a more fun game than my other option. It definitely wasn't the prettiest and appears from what I am reading it still wont be very pretty but even the not so pretty girls can be just as fun to be with! lol

I will be bumming if this is their last effort in baseball though. I am kind of leaning towards it is since they haven't released anything stating there will be a mlb 2k13. They always start on the next game from what I understand before this one even ships. So you would think they would know whats up by now. I think no news is bad news in this case.
 
# 11 Qbrick808 @ 01/21/12 09:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blzer
I'm not so sure that I agree with this system:


You can ask any pitcher in the majors which kind of pitch they get frustrated over. They will tell you that if they give up a home run on a flat curveball hanging over the belt, yeah they'll beat themselves up over it because they know they shouldn't have thrown it there; but I guarantee you that every pitcher in the world absolutely despises when their best stuff results in a broken bat duck-snort single the other way that "drives" the men in scoring position, because they knew that the batter had no right to earn a hit in that scenario.

That said, while a pitcher may be angry with lowered confidence in a situation like that, it should have no effect on that fastball or cutter that he threw to that hitter in that situation. Meanwhile, if a hitter gets, say, robbed of a home run or extra bases, a pitcher will credit his outfielder and be very thankful that his pitch didn't result in what it probably deserved to result in. As a result, that pitch should now be inferior. Someone just shelled him, so they're seeing it well. Any hitter in baseball will tell you that they'll take those Texas-leaguer singles for the average boost, but it's not wise to look for results when at-bat, but to look for good contact.

Anyway, I just disagree with the way they are going about that system.

I would suggest that the way the author of the article described this element may be coming across as somewhat misleading. It's hard to imagine that the development team intentionally planned to make the game react the wrong way to hard outs and lame hits. Much more likely is that the new pitch effectiveness factor will be based purely on prior results (success or failure... allowing a hit - any kind of hit - was bad... getting the out - however you got it - was good).

This is certainly not a perfect way to evaluate the effectiveness of a guy's stuff with regards to specific pitches on a given day, but I can understand why the game would need to be designed in such a manner if the pitch effectiveness element is to be added. Maybe in the future they will be able to expand the concept to include the kind of more accurate logic which in some way evaluates the quality of the hits and outs, but the first time around with this new aspect introduced into the code, developing the game to be able to determine which outs should be deemed as poor pitching (like a hard liner) and which hits recognized as good pitching (like a swinging bunt for a single) could just be too complicated of a process to adequately integrate with the hits that are considered legit hits and the outs considered to be solid outs.
 
# 12 Blzer @ 01/21/12 09:50 PM
I suppose what you are saying makes sense, but I do think that with the behind the scene calculations, they are able to determine what kinds of numbers spit out the "hard hits" versus the "soft hits." After all, if the game is able to say "Weak liner," then that means something registered for it to say that. If the bat breaks in the game, that's because that certain kind of contact was made. The game knew about it, and that's how it was done.

I'm just saying that degree of difficulty (by ball placement) also shouldn't factor in. As a baseball player, aside from certain situations (where, undoubtedly, "situational hitting" would apply), you will look to try and either coax out a walk to get on base, or hit the ball as solidly as you possibly can, with hopes for a line drive trajectory. This already increases your chances of reaching base safely, even if you actually don't.
 
# 13 lnin0 @ 01/21/12 09:59 PM
It is nice to see a fan and writer provide thoughtful, insightful criticism without all the shallow hate and blind love that typically bleeds into everything on these interwebs.

Quote:
I like the fact that, in what may be their last at-bat, Visual Concepts looked for the pitch it could hit hard, even if the game's enduring weaknesses still stare at you like a shellshocked reliever. I like that this is a project centered on refined gameplay, not eye candy, with components that have a chance to live on elsewhere even if the rest of the series does not.
That is probably the most promising thing to me and maybe what the series needed more than anything. Someone to just sit down with it and iron out all the details instead of trying to reinvent it. Gameplay should always outweigh graphics and gimmicks but in today's rat race it is usually just the opposite. I hope this is not 2K's last at bat.
 
# 14 Dazraz @ 01/22/12 03:49 AM
Nice thoughtful review.

It seems MLB 2K12 will once again be a game with some stand out features countered by some glaring moments of awfulness.
 
# 15 rudyjuly2 @ 01/22/12 06:31 AM
This was the best preview I've read on the game so far. 2K's strength has been the fun of its analog pitching and it got some nice upgrades here.

First, the breakpoint changes on the pitches are nice. It's very true that the amount of break on the ball should be different depending on where you throw it. This will make each pitch more interesting as well as more realistic than last year.

I love the fact that you can't spam the same pitch or the same location. I always try to mix it up even if I know the game wouldn't necessarily punish me for it. Now they do. How they penalize you for doing this is something we'll have to see for ourselves but I do like the intent.

Individual pitch confidence is something I like. It will now be in both baseball games and it helps to create a different game every time you go out there. Often times in real life a pitcher will find a pitch not working well so he has to adjust. Each outing will now be more dynamic. Again, how this is accomplished has always bothered me a little. Giving up bloop singles is something that can be argued. Same goes for intentionally throwing a ball on an 0-2 pitch. If I hit my target why am I penalized? This will always be an issue for both baseball games but I accept it because it's probably very hard to do different.

The one area I didn't understand was the author's claim that the throwing system last year resulted in all of these over throws. What game was he playing? I'd crank throwing errors to 100 and unless you hit the red you never made an error. My complaint was the exact opposite. I made one throwing error every 50 games once you got used to the system. Throws in the green resulted in 0% errors which was very wrong. There should always be a small chance for error.
 
# 16 tril @ 01/22/12 09:30 AM
I like the way the pitching mechanics sound except for the colored stripes tthat pop up in certain areas, indicating that youve pitched to a certain location too much.
hopefully you can turn the indicators off but keep the same pitching mechanic. that would present even more of a challenge.
I alos like the real world pitch ratings update.

2k has done a good job with baseball, and I look forwardto tis game, as well as the other baseball title.
thats the only sports game that Ill by both titles cause they both have very unique disinctive takes on baseball.
 
# 17 Trojan Man @ 01/22/12 10:56 AM
This sounds really exciting. Granted, when confidence and momentum are involved there are always differences between the ideal and the real product we purchase, but I love the sound of the overhauls to pitching, hitting, and fielding. I'm really excited to see the demo; I might finally have a reason to play something other than Madden.
 
# 18 Rules @ 01/22/12 11:11 AM
Those impressions sounded like a death sentence to the franchise. Competition is important just look at what happened to Madden and NCAA Football when complacency settles in.
 
# 19 BigBlue @ 01/22/12 11:13 AM
I'm probably in the minority when I say this. But all 2k has to do for me to buy the game in March is bring back check swings, add cancel throw feature, and make player movement more fluid. My buds and enjoy mlb2k11 so much we still play it online, unranked w custom sliders. Don't ruin this game, 2k!

BigBlue
 
# 20 Blzer @ 01/22/12 12:23 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBlue
I'm probably in the minority when I say this. But all 2k has to do for me to buy the game in March is bring back check swings, add cancel throw feature, and make player movement more fluid. My buds and enjoy mlb2k11 so much we still play it online, unranked w custom sliders. Don't ruin this game, 2k!

BigBlue
My list:

- Add pressure-sensitive check swings
- Add option to hide pitching cursor
- Allow more customizable batting camera control
--- Do they have an option to have the fielding camera when batting, and not the one that they give us?
- Option for one-button zone hitting

The last one is key, and I need to be a little more expansive on the concept: in this game, although the classic swinging option only has you use X, the game decides which kind of swing it wants to use for you (contact, power, defensive). It isn't just mapped as one swing type. Now, I wouldn't mind if they had power, contact, and defensive swings all mapped to separate buttons, because that way I would just use one swing type, and adjust my sliders as such (like how I do with The Show, and it works out fine). The other big thing is the zone hitting. I want to use my skills in attempting to make contact with the ball, not just direct where I want it to go.

Those 4+ things would keep me coming back year after year. Until then, every year it just becomes a "wait and see."
 

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