As we patiently wait for MLB The Show 23, I find my focus and excitement evenly divided between how the game will flesh itself out on the field and the new additions to stadium creator. The stadium creator is entering its third year within the franchise, and for many creators, it has taken precedence over the actual game itself.
Every Game Needs A Stadium Creator
For those unfamiliar with the stadium creator found in MLB The Show, it’s exactly as the name describes. A mode where you can create stadiums, either purely fictional or real ones from bygone eras. Whatever your approach is with the creator, you can’t go wrong. It’s a mode that was kicked around for over five years before being launched, and one that saw some key improvements and additions in its second release in MLB The Show 22.
While many wait to see what trendy innovations and additions the third iteration will bring with it in The Show 23, one has to wonder why other sports franchises haven’t followed suit and delivered the ability for fans to get creative and build different venues and stadiums.
What Major Franchises Offer A Creator?
Of the major sports franchises appearing on next-generation hardware, only two offer a creator.
The two are The Show and PGA 2K. PGA Tour 2K provides an extensive course creator that lets users build real-world golf courses that are not licensed in the game or purely fictional courses that can be shared with the community and integrated into online play and tournaments. You only have to look at MLB The Show and PGA Tour 2K and the popularity of those modes before wondering why an option like this isn’t available in all major sports titles.
What Franchises Could Benefit From A Creator?
Madden has felt stagnant for many years to some degree. While the game allows for roster creation and a bevy of uniform options, you can’t play with those roster sets in football stadiums that feel like they come from a specific era.
Imagine having a roster set from the 1980s and being able to play with the Lions in the Pontiac Silverdome, or the Chicago Bears in the original Soldier Field, or recreating “The Catch” as Montana lofts one into the end zone for Dwight Clark in Candlestick Park.
A stadium creator is a way to let the community decide how they want to play the game and gives the long-running franchise a breath of fresh air, which is sorely needed.
It’s a tangible addition that opens up new ways to enjoy Madden and could bring back players who may have left for many reasons.
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While 2K Sports does a fantastic job of customizing its NBA franchise, the ability to create or recreate fictional or retro-style stadiums is limited to a degree.
The lack of this option is confusing, considering the creation suite in the game allows creators to develop and release the entire world from other leagues, including the trendy NCAA college basketball and international league mods.
While the game allows the ability to create full rosters, uniforms, and court art, the ability to recreate actual stadiums or venues these teams play in cannot be done at this juncture. While I love all the options and abilities to create inside NBA 2K, one has to wonder how much deeper people would go if you could fully recreate Rupp Arena, Cameron Indoor, Allen Fieldhouse, Hinkle Fieldhouse, or the Dean Smith Center.
Whatever the reason, one can only hope that 2K borrows the idea from another series in their library and allows creators to build detailed arenas to use alongside the incredible roster and uniform sets created every year.
Super Mega Baseball
Developed by Metalhead Software, the baseball game suddenly has increased capital and support with its newly formed partnership with EA Sports. What exactly does their new partnership for the franchise mean at this point? That answer is unclear, but there is one item that many fans hope to see as a product of the new coalition.
Super Mega Baseball provided a deep level of customization regarding rosters, league structure, and uniforms.
Still, it lacks the option that would pull it all together to deliver one the most immersive and impressive customization suites found in any sports title, and that is a stadium creator.
Super Mega Baseball is no longer some quirky fringe independent title with a cult following. The title provides an authentic form of baseball, albeit with over-the-top graphical enhancements. It also provides a deep ability to customize the game, so now all that’s missing is a stadium creator — and a deeper and more flexible league structure.
EA Sports PGA Tour
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. EA should have no problem taking the idea from 2K and HB Studios and bringing it into their new licensed PGA venture.
EA Sports PGA Tour will offer a career mode, the four majors in the game, and up to 30 licensed real-world courses. Now, imagine a structure that allows the community to build the courses missing from the actual PGA schedule.
There is a theme throughout this entire breakdown of what titles could benefit from some stadium or venue creator, and the theme or answer to that question is all of them. Whether from licensing issues, time constraints, or lack of resources, no title will ever be able to deliver unique experiences that fill the needs and wants of an entire community. Giving the proper in-game tools to creators allows the community to fill in the gaps and provide experiences that developers cannot.