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Next-Gen MLB The Show 21 - What Can the Previous Next-Gen Launch Tell Us?

next-gen mlb the show 21

MLB The Show 21

Next-Gen MLB The Show 21 - What Can the Previous Next-Gen Launch Tell Us?

2021 is going to be a very big year for San Diego Studio and MLB The Show. The launch of a new console generation is always a catalyst for hype and expectations, and MLB The Show will be no different. The potential for new consumers on Xbox Series X (and hopefully PC) — perhaps as early as 2021 — only adds to the excitement surrounding the series. In fact, MLB The Show 21 might be the most intriguing next-gen sports game purely because it will be going multi-platform at some point.

But what should we fans expect as baseball takes the next step into a new inning? Better graphics? New player models? Create-a-stadium? What’s reasonable? What can the past tell us?

To get a decent idea of how San Diego Studio will take advantage of MLB The Show 21, it’s important we step back seven years and examine the jump from MLB The Show 13 to MLB The Show 14. In other words, the jump from PS3 to PS4.

MLB The Show 14 On PS4

The jump from the PS3 to PS4 was a big one for sports gaming. While this article obviously isn’t centered around NBA 2K, it’s important in the context of what’s possible. The graphical fidelity from NBA 2K13 to NBA 2K14 was substantial. Player models and lighting took an enormous jump forward. While that was an “emphasis” moving from MLB The Show 13 to MLB The Show 14, it paled in comparison to its basketball counterpart.

San Diego Studio clearly put some resources into graphics in MLB The Show 14. Graphics improved a bit. Crowd models were enhanced and variability of the fans themselves certainly stood out. Improvements in the stands led to a more immersive experience on the field. That said, the product on the field lagged behind.

Lighting on players’ helmets and jerseys definitely took a step forward, and player face models in some cases also took a step forward. On top of that, the facial hair certainly improved. Still, it wasn’t the jump most expected. The leap felt like a step forward, but it didn’t feel like a “generational” leap from console to console. It was progress, but it wasn’t eye-popping.

Beyond the players, the stadiums looked a bit better, and the grass looked a shade more realistic, but it felt in line with the moderate improvements to the player models. Ball physics also improved, but most critics like myself didn’t feel as though that sort of upgrade should be attributed to more horsepower under the hood. At the end of the day, MLB The Show 14 was certainly a sharper experience but nothing divine by any means.

Game and quality-of-life enhancements also took a step forward, but again, it’s hard to tell whether or not added power helped make those things possible. Quick Counts became a thing, and even more importantly, year-to-year saves also became a reality. Without a doubt, give San Diego Studio credit here as that sort of thing was unprecedented and it has changed the landscape in a lot of ways for users.

The presentation didn’t really change much. MLB The Show is now going on 15 years with Matt Vasgersian at the helm. Whether a fan of him or not, that’s an extremely long time with one guy leading the booth. For context, Al Michaels and John Madden did play-by-play for Madden NFL Football for just seven years. Kevin Harlan has been handling NBA 2K for 15 years now, but there’s so many guest commentators in that game, and the dialogue flows so effortlessly, it’s hard to compare the two. MLB The Show has been overdue for a presentation makeover for an entire console generation now, so it’ll be interesting to see if that’s made a priority in the coming years.

What To Expect From Next-Gen MLB The Show 21?

So, with all of this in the rearview mirror, what’s a realistic expectation from MLB The Show 21 on next-generation consoles? Well, first off we know baseball games never launch with new consoles so there will be some added time here.

At a minimum, improved graphical fidelity should be expected. Lighting enhancements on players’ faces and jerseys are probably a safe expectation at launch. Whether or not those live up to the bar set by NBA 2K21 remains to be seen.

Improved realism in grass and dirt textures are probably a reasonable ask year one as well.

mlb the show on next gen

Create-a-stadium has been on the wish list from fans for so long now, and with the “lite” version of it coming to MLB The Show 20, it may not be out of the realm of possibility we see it right out of the gate in MLB The Show 21.

Beyond that, it’s hard to know. Overhauled player models will be necessary and fully expected in the next year or two. SDS developers have said for the last couple years that the PlayStation 4 was totally capped in terms of memory. The narrative has been that the developers have been handcuffed in the “power” department, but I suspect that issue will no longer be a thing.

Improvements on the presentation side should be on the radar as well, though those coming in year one may be too much to ask. Realistic audio cues from the crowd and situational awareness in terms of stadium atmosphere need to be an emphasis as well. MLB The Show has seemingly lacked a sense of flow and immersion during its PS4 life cycle — a big area of opportunity moving forward.

mlb the show 20

One final thing to look for is the release date itself. Back in 2014, MLB The Show launched on the PlayStation 4 a full six weeks later than it did on the PlayStation 3. It’s usually around this time the studio announces a cover athlete and begins its initial marketing push for next year’s game. Does this mean everything is being pushed back a month or two? It’s possible.

In 2014, that added time was to allow developers the opportunity to polish some of the rough edges, as well as prepare servers for the introduction of an entirely new platform for its online users. Unfortunately, online play was entirely broken that year as crippling lag and the inability to even find a game crushed the experience. Online play in general has taken immense strides forward in recent years, so I wouldn’t expect the headaches we saw seven years ago this time around.

Final Thoughts

This is a big launch for San Diego Studio and the MLB The Show franchise, and there’s no doubt MLB The Show 21 could serve as a major catalyst for the series as it spreads its wings to consoles outside the Sony ecosystem.

What do you expect from next-gen MLB The Show 21 at this point?

24 Comments

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  1. Out of all the major sports franchises, MLB The Show was the most disappointing as far as visual improvements over last gen goes. I was impressed by the graphics in every other game at some point. Not once with The Show. I think they need a new engine for the sake of looking like a fresh new game.
    Graphics are the least of my worries with The Show, like eater said it was the best sports game by a mile (imo) last gen. What I want to see is a reasonable enough graphics upgrade, but my problems with The Show have more to do with the crowd/atmosphere, and my biggest gripe is lack of fluid and realistic movement.
    They could do themselves a favor ripping a page or 2 out of Konami's book in those 2 departments as far as their Pro Yakyuu series goes.
    Any confirmation if this game will make it to XSX this year? If not I will first get the PS5. Also my biggest complaint about this game is Matt V. I just never cared to listen to him and now I have really grown tired of hearing him in this game. We need a fresh announcing team with new commentary 
    I hope for the love of God they get rid of Matty V.  Or at the very least, have multiple commentary teams.   I skipped 20 after having played every one since 2010.   It's time for a massive makeover.
    I prefer to play wait-&-see than to try gauge 2021 to 2014, the times are so different even at just 7 years difference, might as well try to figure out 1776 based on 1492. it's an exercise in futility. but I do agree the speculation may have been valid be pre-March 2020.
    which now I'm wondering, will all the old threads for ps4 be moved to the Show Last Gen forum? if so, that's probably where I'll spend the bulk of my time here until spring 2022
    Surely they won't leave out the PS4 folks. PS4 graphics still look fine. I'm just praying, hoping PS4 next year gets more throwback uniforms so I can ride the storm out another year or two until I can afford the PS5 when it comes down in price.
    mlbtheshowgamer
    If this game is for pc you better believe we will get a huge over haul in mods

    I remember the mods for High Heat Baseball back in the day. Great memories and MLB the Show mods would be amazing!
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    I would say the game being delayed a month is certainly a possibility. Rather that’s just next gen version or everyone.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    (about Create-a-stadium)
    “lite” version of it coming to MLB The Show 20

    Did I miss something ?
    Are we getting an MLB The Show 20 update soon that will add a basic stadium creator ?
    sfpxgalaxy
    (about Create-a-stadium)
    Did I miss something ?
    Are we getting an MLB The Show 20 update soon that will add a basic stadium creator ?

    No
    Just a poor choice of wording in the article.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    countryboy
    No
    Just a poor choice of wording in the article.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports

    This sure is a strange wording then.
    I was excited for a minute :(
    sfpxgalaxy
    This sure is a strange wording then.
    I was excited for a minute :(

    strange indeed, I'm still trying to figure out what was meant by ''lite'' :confused:
    Caulfield
    strange indeed, I'm still trying to figure out what was meant by ''lite'' :confused:

    The only thing I could think of that’s even close would be the uniform/team creator, and that’s really a stretch
    reyes the roof
    The only thing I could think of that’s even close would be the uniform/team creator, and that’s really a stretch

    that was the only think I had too but I thought surely one wouldn't consider that as a stadium creator :shrug:
    reyes the roof
    The only thing I could think of that’s even close would be the uniform/team creator, and that’s really a stretch

    I believe he was thinking in terms of create a team when he was referencing we got the "lite" version in '20.
    countryboy
    I believe he was thinking in terms of create a team when he was referencing we got the "lite" version in '20.
    "lite" was put in quotes for a reason, folks.
    The ability to use created team logos and uniforms, relocate teams to new cities whilst using existing stadiums.
    Figured y'all could have put two and two together :)
    Sent from my SM-G975U using Operation Sports mobile app
    TheKnack
    "lite" was put in quotes for a reason, folks.
    The ability to use created team logos and uniforms, relocate teams to new cities whilst using existing stadiums.
    Figured y'all could have put two and two together :)
    Sent from my SM-G975U using Operation Sports mobile app

    Why is the terminology "create a stadium lite" even mentioned? There is zero resemblance of create a stadium in the game. You create a team, create a logo, create a brand, but none of that appears in a stadium that you choose as your home stadium. You simply choose a stadium, there is no user creativity added.
    Unless the idea is that by simply choosing a stadium then create a stadium "lite" exists, which is an extreme stretch, and if that is the idea, then create a stadium lite has been in the game for years, because we could always choose a stadium to play in, even before franchise games.
    The responsibility of the author in an article such as this is to separate fact from opinion. And the way that create a stadium is presented in this article, displays a failure of that responsibility from the author.
    Moving on, I think like others, we could see '21, especially on PS5, release later than normal due to the combination of new hardware and the pandemic.
    I wouldn't be surprised if the PS4 version released in April with the PS5 version releasing in May, much like '14 did when it launched on the PS4.
    Noted irresponsible author.
    Appreciated!
    countryboy
    Why is the terminology "create a stadium lite" even mentioned? There is zero resemblance of create a stadium in the game. You create a team, create a logo, create a brand, but none of that appears in a stadium that you choose as your home stadium. You simply choose a stadium, there is no user creativity added.
    Unless the idea is that by simply choosing a stadium then create a stadium "lite" exists, which is an extreme stretch, and if that is the idea, then create a stadium lite has been in the game for years, because we could always choose a stadium to play in, even before franchise games.
    The responsibility of the author in an article such as this is to separate fact from opinion. And the way that create a stadium is presented in this article, displays a failure of that responsibility from the author.

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Operation Sports mobile app
    “Improved realism in grass and dirt textures are probably a reasonable ask year one as well.”
    Yes please, at least this in terms of graphical upgrades. The grass is flat and the dirt textures are still pretty low res up close. Please no more “bread crums” on the dirt but realistic depth.
    I have all the trust in the world that the SD crew will wow us with their subtle improvements, as history has shown us.  That is what I patiently await.
    What I have observed over the years is the growing cohort of customizers: roster builders, uniforms, players, teams, etc.  I want to see the team continue to add and improve upon the tools for the "customizers" to do their thing (and yes the stadium building tool would be fantastic).  The Show  possesses a tremendously talented and knowledgeable community that creates so many micro-worlds within this game and it is cool that SCEA has provided the means for the creations instead of locking it down and giving what they think we need. Yeah, textures and lighting and shadows are all well and good, but it's about the tools for creation that makes this title special.  Baseball Minecraft to the extreme for the next generation! 

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