The gang at Out of the Park Developments had the first of three Out of the Park Baseball 21 Road to Release livestreams this week, and it was packed full of surprises big and small that were met by the community with near-universal enthusiasm. With a game as big as OOTP – and with its rich history – these events serve as a reminder of how in-depth the game is and yet how much the team delivers with improvements and enhancements each year.
There were plenty of highlights of the show. Here are a few of our favorites!
Game Flow – This brand new feature is sure to help almost everyone who fires up OOTP this spring, whether they’re a newcomer or veteran. Game Flow introduces a big green ‘CONTINUE’ button at the top right of most screens in OOTP, allowing the player a simple way to know the next steps to take. Logic has been built that will automatically take you to the next place needing your attention, be it the next game on the calendar, a big trade offer, an urgent message from your owner, or many other options. Even better, it’s configurable to what you prefer – so you can define certain tasks you want the AI to handle (maybe you’re not into the Rule 5 Draft) and things you want to take care of (like signing off on a big trade).
You can still navigate around OOTP the classic way – no features have been removed at all – but we’ve all been there, right? You’ve gone down the rabbit hole looking at your scouting and player development, comparing a few farmhands, looking at your closer’s recent outings, only to look up and not really know where to go next. Game Flow solves that conundrum!
CEO and lead designer Markus Heinsohn talked about Game Flow in the most recent episode of OOTP Now, the official podcast of Out of the Park Developments.
Baseball is all about statistics – and more so than ever, the statistics that matter to you. Some people love the newer-school stats (FIP and BaBIP, anyone?), while others prefer goold old-fashioned Wins, Home Runs, and RBI. For the first time, OOTP 21 allows you to completely configure how all the stats are presented to you with new custom Player List filters and Player Profile updates. Using new UX tools, you can adjust what statistics display on each player page – batter and pitcher – as your default. That also will then automatically show up on the Player Profile. Plus, all of the columns can be moved around however you like. It’s never been done like this before in OOTP, and with the incredible amount of data in the game, it’s never been more important.
The Team Home Page also has the ability to add, remove, and modify the different ‘widgets’ that show up. For the first time, you can arrange all sorts of mini-windows on the Team Home Page in any order. Combined with the Player List filters, longtime OOTP fans are salivating at the custom display options OOTP 21 is delivering.
Did someone say Home Run Der-, er, Challenge? OOTP has forever championed itself as the refuge of the ‘stick skills’ gamer, being all about strategy and brainpower. This year, though, an all-new Home Run Challenge is being added, which will involve a timing-based skill minigame. Don’t worry, though, this doesn’t portend some radical shift in philosophy to a new direction. It’s simply a fun new way to experience the All-Star Game.
What blew us away is not the fact that you can rip dingers in 2020 with the best longball hitters in baseball – it’s the fact that you can do it in any season that has ever had an All-Star Game! Want to have Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmie Foxx in a 1930s contest? What about Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Stan Musial? The possibilities are endless. While the historical Home Run Derbies are not available as defaults – your season that plays out determines who is selected – you have the opportunity to pick your players if you prefer. So while we’re bummed it’s not called the Home Run Derby (OOTP 21 is fully licensed by MLB but evidently the names Home Run Derby and Futures Game are not part of that) we don’t really care. We’re ready to tap our way to a Home Run Challenge title!
That’s right, the Prospects Game (aka the ‘Don’t Call Me The Futures Game’ Game) is also a big part of the new All-Star Game set of events. And, amazingly, just like the Home Run Challenge it can be invoked in any season in history. Spectacular! For the first time, you can manage either side – either AL vs NL or USA vs The World (unless you’re in another region of the globe, which would then be your home nation vs The World) and get a look at how the top prospects are doing. Whether you’re interested in the current crop of top prospects or are curious to see what OOTP thinks of youngsters from any season with an All-Star Game, this is sure to be a delight for baseball fans to check out!
Camera angles are completely re-vamped for 3D in-game play this season, which is going to make managing individual games even more entertaining. Plus, you can now set pre-pitch, action, and post-action angles for a really dynamic viewing experience. Want to watch the setup from home plate, the pitch from center field, and the post-pitch action from a wide angle? Easy! Each of these are configurable – and with ‘Follow the ball’ turned on the action is even more realistic.
For those of us that love managing the intricacies of a big playoff game (or a regular season matchup for that matter) these new angles are a great way to spice up the intensity even more.
There was even more that OOTP went over in their initial Road to Release video, which can be seen in its entirety right here – Out of the Park Baseball 21 Road to Release Livestream #1.
If you want to pre-order Out of the Park Baseball 21 – the best possible way to show your support for an indie game developer – then check out the pre-order site and give the guys some love!