Baseball fans, rejoice! February is now upon us and aside from being one month closer to Opening Day, that means we just received news from SDS on MLB The Show 21. Nobody knew exactly what sorts of features and updates to expect from the this year’s edition up until the announcement was made, but that didn’t stop us from speculating on what kinds of ideas we might hear from the developers. But were we right? Let’s have a look at seven MLB The Show 21 predictions we made in our editorial Slack prior to the news, and whether we we were proven to be correct, incorrect, or if maybe it’s still too soon to tell.
MLB The Show 21 Will Get Delayed
Okay, so this first prediction might not be news that fans of MLB The Show are all that excited to hear, but MLB The Show 21 getting delayed because of the pandemic almost seems like all but an inevitability at this point. Last year’s game was released on March 13, a couple of weeks before the real regular season was slated to start, before being forced to delay the first pitch until July 23. With the 2021 baseball season scheduled to begin on April 1, it would almost be surprising if the game were released all that earlier than that date.
That said, it’s also unlikely the game is available much later than Opening Day because that might cause some people to lose interest before they can even get the game. I’ll predict the game’s release date to be March 31, mostly because I think that would be a pretty good birthday present for myself.
Verdict: April 20 has been set as the release date, and all 4/20 jokes aside, I think I deserve at least partial credit for this prediction. It was delayed just as expected, but just a little later than I guessed, pushing its release back a few weeks after Opening Day.
MLB The Show 21 Will Be Available On Other Platforms
This isn’t exactly a shocking revelation considering it was already announced that MLB The Show would be available on other platforms at some vague point in the future, but I think that even in the midst of a pandemic, they will manage to make that happen for MLB The Show 21. It’s hard to believe that this wouldn’t be a priority for developers when you think about all of the potential revenue the game could generate by being available to people other than those with a PlayStation.
This means that when all is said and done, baseball fans will likely be able to play the game on Xbox platforms and hopefully even on the Nintendo Switch (bet on the Switch version being released later than the others though).
Verdict: Nailed it! It was announced that MLB The Show 21 will also be available on April 20 for Xbox consoles. No word yet on that Nintendo Switch version though.
Mookie Betts Will Be On The Cover Of MLB The Show 21
There are some good candidates for the cover athlete of MLB The Show 21, but I think the most likely candidate has to be Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts. Obviously, it’s appealing to go with a player from a team that just won the World Series, and the Betts trade from Boston to Los Angeles was a high-profile move that only made him a bigger star in the minds of everyone.
There’s always the chance though that in these strange times MLB The Show 21 decides to go in a different direction altogether and maybe SDS ends up putting a legend on the cover instead of a current player. If this is the case, I wouldn’t be surprised if they pay tribute to Hank Aaron by giving him the spot.
Verdict: Okay, so this was a bit of a fail here. They went with Fernando Tatis Jr. for the cover of MLB The Show 21 instead of Mookie Betts or Hank Aaron. And while it might be easy for me now to say that Tatis Jr. was the next guy on my list, he really was — I swear!
MLB The Show 21 Will Have Online Co-Op Play
It’s clearly not as simple for a game like MLB The Show to transition to online co-op play as some of the other sports games (like hockey and basketball), but with the move to next gen, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is the year they finally manage to implement it in some form. The logistics of this probably won’t involve a full 9 vs. 9 mode for obvious reasons (it would be too boring for many for starters), but I’ve already outlined a way to introduce 4 vs. 4 online play that would keep everyone active and engaged throughout a game.
Not only is baseball a team sport, and this would bring the game closer to that reality, but some sort of co-op mode is nearly a necessity for all games these days. After all, even Madden has figured out a way to do it with Squads.
Verdict: No word on this, so I’m just going to keep hope alive.
Road To The Show Will Have A Real Story
Up until this point, Road to the Show has allowed you to create an aspiring ballplayer and guide him through the journey from the minors to becoming an MLB superstar. But there hasn’t been any actual narrative like you find regularly in NBA 2K and more recently in Madden’s Face of the Franchise.
I think that will change in MLB The Show 21 as the developers decide to upgrade some of the more vague and inconsequential parts of the mode (like those brutal clubhouse and rivalry interactions) with some genuine story beats and twists. This could include such arcs as a friendship that has the two of you end up on rival teams or some specific scenes for when you’re going through a slump.
Verdict: The only real announcement regarding Road to the Show was that you would be able to use your RttS player in other modes like Diamond Dynasty. So, we’ll have to wait and see whether the mode will have any more updates to offer, like a story for instance.
MLB The Show 21 Will Have Online Franchise
To the consternation of many, MLB The Show scrapped its existing online franchise years ago after claiming that it wasn’t a popular enough mode to update further. Last year, the developers decided to throw fans of the mode a bit of a bone by having an online season mode where you could play through a streamlined season with others online. Unfortunately, it was the most basic framework imaginable and there was no player progression at all, so the only thing you could do at the end of a season was start it all over again from scratch and pretend that the 2020 season was a baseball riff on Groundhog Day.
So it may be more of a hope than a prediction that MLB The Show 21 decides to expand on this to revive the proper online franchise mode, but that’s where I’m at right now with this prediction.
Verdict: Hmm, well we got news of a revamped franchise mode, but details on exactly what that means remain scant for the time being. For now, I’m going to operate under the impression that this is merely a tease, and they are waiting to unveil all of the wonderful features of the new and improved online franchise mode. I know this is probably going to have to remain a dream for another year, and I will inevitably end up disappointed, but I refuse to let it die. My head is telling me no but my heart is telling me let’s go!
MLB The Show 21 Will Allow You To Create A Stadium In Diamond Dynasty
Since just about the start of the card-collecting Diamond Dynasty mode, people have clamored for the opportunity to be able to build their own ballpark for the team that they assemble to play their home games. It’s something that similar modes in other sports games like NBA 2K have allowed you to do, and the fact that the dimensions and features of ballparks have their own personalities in real life, make this idea especially intriguing (but a bit more complicated) in a baseball video game.
I believe that with next-gen capabilities this will be the year that aspiring designers finally get their chance to show what they’ve been envisioning for a while now. On top of that, we will see a lot of unique (and let’s be fair, some really dumb) stadiums when you play online games in Diamond Dynasty.
Verdict: There weren’t really a lot of details at all regarding Diamond Dynasty, so we’ll have to table this prediction for now. That said, I do have to believe they wanted to save some big news for down the road, and this is something that has been high on people’s wish lists for a while now, so I still believe this could be included in MLB The Show 21 when the game is released. Stay tuned!
So there we have our seven MLB The Show 21 predictions. A couple of them are still up in the air, so which do you think could still happen this year?