Every year it’s the same story. 2K always seems late to the party.
While there has been some info released, one can’t help but wonder if 2K is holding something back.
Very little information has been released so far, but what we do know is this year's focus is on pitching. It makes sense because this is far and away MLB 2K's strong suit. This year, hitters will adapt to your pitching tendencies, which will force you to make the necessary adjustments to get hitters out. Any improvement to the already refined pitching engine is a welcome one.
2K is also touting improvements to their popular MLB Today mode. You can play along with the season as it unfolds as they say in their short feature list. If this is like last year’s feature it would mean that players hot and cold streaks would carry over from real life into your game. Another great tidbit to this mode, which I assume will be returning, is having lineups and injuries updated every day. I personally love playing through my seasons as close as I can get to reality. I’m not sure what will be different from last year, but I will definitely be interested to see the improvements first hand.
Another feature which looks to bring improvement to fielding, is a new throwing mechanic. You will have to set your feet before making a throw if you expect it to be on target. This is a classic risk-reward feature. Throw on the run, or while moving and your throw will be less accurate. Set your feet and your chances of that perfect throw increase exponentially.
One of the most popular modes, My Player, looks to be getting some upgrades as well. A recent trailer showed cover boy Justin Verlander sending a player making his major league debut back to the pine. While it looked, and sounded cool (best commentators in the business), it remains to be seen the actual new features that this mode will bring. 2K says there will be new player types that will let you decide your path to the majors. What this means is anyone’s guess at this point.
Another theory on the lack of information and features listed so far is that 2K is pouring all their efforts into gameplay this year. If this is the case, that’s great. I just hope they listen to what the fans have been wanting gameplay wise. They need to implement some sort of zone-hitting mechanic. This has been wanted by fans for years. Timing alone just isn’t the challenge many players are looking for. Options are always a good thing for gamers. It would also appease a lot of fans to finally have check swings back in the game. We could go on all day when it comes to gameplay improvements. That’s not a knock on 2K, either. It's just the nature of the business of sports games for the most part. This is why a total focus on gameplay would be a much welcome breath of fresh air, and something we don’t see in the age of back of the box fluff in today’s gaming industry.
With such a small feature list you have to scratch your head a little. I hate to speculate, but could this be 2K baseball’s swan song? It was already stated by a 2K executive that the MLB third party license they own was a losing proposition.
No matter what the verdict will be with this year's game, I personally don’t believe the license will be renewed, but I don’t necessarily think it will be the last game in the series. Either way of thinking is just pure speculation at this point. I would really hate to see the game suffer the same fate as NFL 2K and NHL 2K. Competition is always a good thing. I think we all know that by now.