Let’s just have a brutally honest moment here: R.B.I. Baseball, Major League Baseball’s in-house attempt at game development, has been on the bad end of bad each year since launching.
While the game has come a long way since its initial launch, the series hasn’t yet released a title that creeps into the ‘this game is actually pretty good’ camp just yet.
In a crowded gaming marketplace, being anything less than pretty good is a really fine way to lose a lot of potential customers.
So this year, R.B.I. Baseball 18 looks to change the perception of the series in a big way per Polygon:
Room for Improvement
Despite people like us (Critics) thinking the game wasn’t all that great, sales have continued to rise with each successive edition — sparking Major League Baseball dedicating more resources to this year’s game.
This year, MLBAM is no longer outsourcing the development of R.B.I. Baseball and instead developing the entire game in house.
More than 30 people are now working on R.B.I. Baseball 18, and the improvements promise to be substantial.
What’s New (The Bullet List)
- Visuals have improved significantly over previous years.
- New character models (you can see them in the screenshots) along with new animations are present.
- Hundreds of face scans along with player specific animations.
- New presentation elements, including a more dynamic camera system.
- Better sound effects and music snippets.
- New menus.
- New modes, including Home Run Derby and Franchise.
- Franchise mode will run up to 10 seasons, will rate the player’s performance with a letter grade.
- A weighted randomness in player progression will be the norm.
- Trades and injuries will be in the game, though the A.I. isn’t yet capable of initiating trades.
- 100 MLB “Legends” will be available in the Free Agent Pool.
- Users can import roster updates after they’ve started playing franchise modes (a potential sports gaming first as we don’t recall this being anywhere else).
- No minor league players or financial model (…yet according to developers, they’re looking at player feedback this year to see how deep the mode will go)
- New Price of $29.99
So…Is It Time?
R.B.I. Baseball 18 looks to be a game with a much improved core mission. With an expanded list of modes, better audio-visuals, and likely continued gameplay improvements — we could be seeing a sort of arcade baseball renaissance coming from Major League Baseball themselves.
R.B.I. 18 releases in March at the previously discussed $29.99 price point.