San Diego Studio had its MLB The Show 21 stadium creator and next-gen feature premiere earlier today, but the showcase was almost entirely dedicated to the stadium creator tool itself. The team really focused on how innovative the creator will be, driving home the point it should be easy and fun to use for just about anybody.
MLB The Show 21 Stadium Creator
Jon Ramsey, the lead engineer for the tool, joined the premiere to talk about what was essentially framed as his baby. Ramsey and his team began kicking around the idea of a stadium creator back in 2016, but due to challenges in functionality and how the tool would perform when moving to new platforms, was shelved in official development until 2019. At that point, the team started officially working on the feature to gear up for a next-generation release.
The stadium creator appears really, really well thought out. It doesn’t seem as though any shortcuts were taken in development. It’s an intuitive, snappy tool that should truly allow you to imagine and create a large swathe of unique stadiums.
Let’s start with some of the basics. Users will have the ability to create 30 different stadiums and save them into 30 different slots. There will be 30 pre-created stadiums to start from if you’re looking for a creative spark. It does not appear you will be able to save more than 30 stadiums at once, so running multiple unique franchises will probably not be possible this year.
Speaking of creativity, there are roughly 1,200 props that can be used in the stadium creator tool. If that number isn’t significant enough, Ramsey also announced that number will include animated props, including animals and dinosaurs. If you want an entire pasture of cows in right field, park them out there.
The tool should be easy to use for just about anyone. Everything is a puzzle piece that can be locked in with other pieces. It was stressed this is a complex tool, but the “easy mode” should make it plenty useable to those overwhelmed by all the functions. Speaking to the ease of use, there’s a “snap” feature with the stands that should allow your stadium to avoid looking wonky in terms of fan seating. This should make it easy to line up your stands and bleacher segments so everything meshes well. If all this is still too much to digest, there will be stadium creator tutorial videos baked into the game this year, narrated by Coach, to help guide you through the process.
Diamond Dynasty Specifics
In terms of Diamond Dynasty, there will be plenty of restrictions on stadium creator wall depths and the batter’s eye. There are 150 wall presets that work for Diamond Dynasty. If you change anything on those walls, besides wall color, it will be invalid for online play. You can’t put anything in or around the batter’s eye to gain an advantage either. There will be a ton of different batter’s eye options for your stadium, including those from big league stadiums, but your creativity there will be limited.
The modes where you can use stadium creator are as follows:
The big gets are Road to the Show finally having a stadium select option, and you can use this all around Play Now. We already knew franchise mode would be in there due to prior streams, otherwise that would be another important one to note.
What’s Not Here?
Here are the places you can’t use stadium creator:
The big misses are custom leagues, MTO and offline Diamond Dynasty players. That said, until custom leagues get more depth, it’s not a huge miss to us because they don’t have enough life on their own either way. With MTO, you do those a lot of the time to get Team Affinity or play out single years with a specific MLB team, so that one doesn’t seem too bad either. Lastly, offline Diamond Dynasty players obviously lose a little juice here for an already alternate universe, but online DD players are in business. I would imagine it was left out of certain offline DD modes because it could make it easier to grind for certain things by messing with dimensions — plus Showdown/Moments/Conquest never even had a stadium select feature because you’re always playing specific MLB teams.
The other things not mentioned mostly revolve around domes not being in the creator tool this year — hurts some of the vibes for creating prior MLB eras — and nothing much on ad boards. We think those are the two biggest areas to focus in on next year, along with getting more stadium creator slots and getting create-a-stadium into every mode possible. Beyond that, smaller things like more bullpen placement areas and some other small details we’ll probably figure out once we’re using the tool will probably make it on to a future wishlist.
MLB The Show 21 Next Gen
SDS talked a little bit about next-generation features outside of the stadium creator, but the features and new inclusions seemed pretty limited outside of the usual launch items that we witnessed other sports game developers mentioning months ago, specifically haptic feedback and the DualSense controller.
On the PlayStation 5, haptic feedback is in for the DualSense controller. If you get beat inside on a fastball, you’re going to feel it in your hands. If you cue a ball off the end of the bat, you’ll feel a sense of ringing. This even works for handedness. If you’re a lefty catching the ball, you’ll feel it rumble in your right hand, and so on. Sliding on dirt will feel different than diving in the grass or climbing a wall. Adaptive triggers will also be included in this game and will help control player lock situations involving throw power functionality.
Obviously, this is a PR miss in some respects because it was called the “next-gen” stream. While the stadium creator is a next-gen feature, people wanted to see more on animations, graphics, crowd sizes, etc. We went into this mostly assuming the focus this year was 60 fps and 4K, and I think that’s the place we’ve landed. However, we understand why others want more from the graphics going into a new console. SDS generally has not gone crazy with next-gen graphical upgrades until a year or two into a new console, so this is normal for the studio. We’re not here to make excuses for SDS or anything, but we’re simply pointing out this is nothing new for SDS when it comes to the approach to next-gen consoles.
Diamond Dynasty Next Week
Developers ended the stream teasing what they promise to be an epic Diamond Dynasty stream chockfull of tons of reveals, including mode functionality, ranked seasons changes, BR changes, and a heaping helping of new legend reveals.
The team closed the stream revealing the final five Series 42 cards coming in the MLB The Show 21 pre-order choice pack. Those legends to choose from include Babe Ruth for the Yankees, Cal Ripken Jr. for the Orioles, Frank Thomas for the White Sox, Pedro Martinez for the Red Sox, and Hank Aaron for the Braves. If you pre-order the Digital Deluxe edition, you will be able to choose two of these players when you download MLB The Show 21.
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