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R.B.I. Baseball 18 Looks to Take It A Bit More Serious

R.B.I. Baseball 18

R.B.I. Baseball 18 Looks to Take It A Bit More Serious

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:

As the only instance of a professional sports league producing its own console video game, R.B.I. Baseball was already a unique product. Now MLBAM is going further, hoping to cement the game’s place in the market by responding to feedback from critics and consumers with a major expansion in its scope.

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.

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Executive Editor. Based in Oklahoma.

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  1. Hey folks, author of the linked article here -- thanks for reading! If you have any questions, drop 'em in this thread and I'll do my best to answer them. You can also tweet them at me (linked in sig).
    Even as a PS4 (and MLB The Show fan) I've purchased this title every year for my iPhone, and last year for my Switch. It's been fun for what it is... a pick up and play arcade baseball title. With these changes? This is another guaranteed buy for me on Switch this year. Also, LOVE the roster update ability even once a Franchise has started. That's something I've always wanted and never understood why it didn't exist. I'm in.
    SamitSarkar
    Hey folks, author of the linked article here -- thanks for reading! If you have any questions, drop 'em in this thread and I'll do my best to answer them. You can also tweet them at me (linked in sig).
    Do you know if we will have the ability to trade players to different teams without using franchise mode?
    If  somehow they are able to add A.I. trades in the game and in franchise mode i'll consider a purchase when it comes out. I'm not going to go season to season trading players for different teams. It defeats the purpose imo.
    Glad to know there is another baseball game coming out. Now all we need is another High Heat Baseball from Microsoft, or Triple Play from EA and i'll be one happy gamer! 
    jmc
    Do you know if we will have the ability to trade players to different teams without using franchise mode?

    Roster management (trades, free agency) is limited to franchise mode. Exhibition games are played with 2018 rosters (the latest ones you've downloaded).
    Peter_OS
    If* somehow they are able to add A.I. trades in the game and in franchise mode i'll consider a purchase when it comes out. I'm not going to go season to season trading players for different teams. It defeats the purpose imo.

    My understanding is that the only trades that are possible are trades that you initiate between the one team you're controlling and one of the 29 other teams. I don't think you can make the CPU-controlled clubs trade with each other.
    Looks good and I might pick this up for some casual fun as long as it looks good at release. Need to see gameplay video first.
    And honestly, the large majority of people who are going to buy this game aren't going to care about AI trades being in, so that shouldn't be much of an issue for this game.
    Peter_OS
    If* somehow they are able to add A.I. trades in the game and in franchise mode i'll consider a purchase when it comes out. I'm not going to go season to season trading players for different teams. It defeats the purpose imo.
    Glad to know there is another baseball game coming out. Now all we need is another High Heat Baseball from Microsoft, or Triple Play from EA and i'll be one happy gamer!*

    I had this game a few years ago and liked it but the gameplay got old fast. I liked how the games lasted only 15 min like HH. This new version looks promising. Can't wait to see it in motion.
    I wish they made a game as fast as HH played. The secret to HH's speed was lack of animations. I don't need to see the exact arm motion of Kris Bryant. Too bad they can't put an option with no animations so the game moves faster.
    Do you know if they've added bullpen roles or at least improved the bullpen logic this year? One of the things that has frustrated me with this series is the way the CPU used its bullpen - often bringing closers in way too early or leaving relievers in way too long.
    I root for this game to have everything, as advertised. I downloaded this twice on Xbox and was disappointed to the point where I deleted the games to my hard drive. Loved RBI baseball back in the day, but the last two versions were difficult to play and had no lasting appeal. Up to $30, so if the game play is cleaned up I can live with other issues.
    It would be cool to be able to play season or franchise with 2 or more friends online. Offer something the show isnt doing. Used to love playing co op seasons on nhl series on Genesis.
    skives
    So CPU to CPU trades will definitely not be in franchise mode?

    From my understanding you are only able to initiate a trade with your controlled team with another CPU controlled team, but you won't see any CPU with CPU trades during the season.
    I am either picking up RBI or SMB 2. It truly comes down to the rosters and if we are able to import/export rosters for SMB2. I have bought RBI every year since it’s initial release and I usually stop playing after a month. I am a diehard baseball guy on the Xbox so I am hoping RBI this year will keep my attention if SMB cannot import rosters
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    boomhauertjs
    Looks like release date of March 20:

    While I am excited to see what R.B.I has in store I will not blindly preorder the game. We do not have a enough information and at the $29.99 price tag I will need to see some actual gameplay and user feedback prior to purchase. The last few iterations have been nothing more than a fresh coat of paint. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

    What's the point of releasing this video with no actual game play footage?
    Its a damn shame the baseball sim market has been monopolized by The Show. There use to be a number of great options.
    Peter_OS

    What's the point of releasing this video with no actual game play footage?
    Its a damn shame the baseball sim market has been monopolized by The Show. There use to be a number of great options.

    The Show doesn't have a licensing monopoly like Madden. EA or 2k could jump back into the baseball market, but they don't see it as being profitable enough to be worth the investment. What really should have happened is Microsoft reviving the High Heat property they purchased after 3DO went under once there were no more MLB games for Xbox. I think most of us would have been very happy with a version of High Heat with updated rosters and graphics.
    boomhauertjs
    The Show doesn't have a licensing monopoly like Madden. EA or 2k could jump back into the baseball market, but they don't see it as being profitable enough to be worth the investment. What really should have happened is Microsoft reviving the High Heat property they purchased after 3DO went under once there were no more MLB games for Xbox. I think most of us would have been very happy with a version of High Heat with updated rosters and graphics.

    Agreed. First party licensing sounds to be a lot cheaper, but for the amount of profit the show makes, maybe Microsoft doesn’t see it as being that profitable. I thought I heard the Show only sells like 500K copies? Maybe I misread but that isn’t a lot. I wish Sony would sell the show on Xbox. Make some extra cash.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    boomhauertjs
    SMB2 (if it ever comes out) will have full customization, but I’d be surprised if it has roster sharing.

    I don’t think i will be able to complete a franchise mode with Joe Bacon and Michael Macaroni taking the field. Ha. If I can edit all the players individually then I’m cool with that.
    For RBI the 10 dollar increase in price gives me hope that there is more juice this year. The bigger team and it is in house.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    rhouserjr0614
    I don’t think i will be able to complete a franchise mode with Joe Bacon and Michael Macaroni taking the field. Ha. If I can edit all the players individually then I’m cool with that.
    For RBI the 10 dollar increase in price gives me hope that there is more juice this year. The bigger team and it is in house.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports

    Yep, you'll be able to edit all the players.
    https://youtu.be/QI8jLZfmB-U
    PaleVermilion
    Yep, you'll be able to edit all the players.
    https://youtu.be/QI8jLZfmB-U

    The link is for SMB 2, but the thread is for RBI Baseball. Was it just the wrong link posted, but you will be able to edit as in SMB 2, or was there just confusion on which game was being discussed?
    GlennN
    The link is for SMB 2, but the thread is for RBI Baseball. Was it just the wrong link posted, but you will be able to edit as in SMB 2, or was there just confusion on which game was being discussed?

    We were discussing which game to get. I can’t play without real players and he was just confirming that you can edit all in SMB.
    Back to RBI. Game drops in 2 weeks and not a lot of news out there. I probably will pick it up since I am a baseball junkie.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    I just do not understand why this gam still half asses it. I understand the dev team limitations, but a 10 year ranchise, yet with no a.i. Trades or minor lesgue players, how exsctly do thry plan to make this workable? Does no one retire? It says in the article there is progression, but do they age? Are there any influx of new players ever?
    Even High Heat in its last installment had a rudimentary free agent system and minor league system even you couldnt actually play minor league games.
    Keirik
    I just do not understand why this gam still half asses it. I understand the dev team limitations, but a 10 year ranchise, yet with no a.i. Trades or minor lesgue players, how exsctly do thry plan to make this workable? Does no one retire? It says in the article there is progression, but do they age? Are there any influx of new players ever?
    Even High Heat in its last installment had a rudimentary free agent system and minor league system even you couldnt actually play minor league games.

    I think this is the first year they aren’t half assing it. Yes it is light years behind what we would like and the show. They went from being a app arcade game to an actual MLB game. There is progression, albeit not as much as we would want, but they are making the effort and the game appears to be trending in the right direction. Supposedly the roster updates through out the year so any new player that comes up can be added to your current franchise.
    You have to look at the big pictures I guess and baseball games just aren’t widely popular. The show sold I believe about 1 million copies. I mean is that good, heck yes, but it isn’t a boat load. I assume madden sales a couple times more than that. I wish Sony would just release the game on Xbox and that will be it.
    But we have this game and SMB, I will probably get both since they are affordable and both have great things to offer.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    rhouserjr0614
    I think this is the first year they aren’t half assing it. Yes it is light years behind what we would like and the show. They went from being a app arcade game to an actual MLB game. There is progression, albeit not as much as we would want, but they are making the effort and the game appears to be trending in the right direction. Supposedly the roster updates through out the year so any new player that comes up can be added to your current franchise.
    You have to look at the big pictures I guess and baseball games just aren’t widely popular. The show sold I believe about 1 million copies. I mean is that good, heck yes, but it isn’t a boat load. I assume madden sales a couple times more than that. I wish Sony would just release the game on Xbox and that will be it.
    But we have this game and SMB, I will probably get both since they are affordable and both have great things to offer.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports

    Well im not trying to compare this to the show. I dont want it to be the show. I have a ps4 for that. Its just my opinion that they still are half assing it by adding in very shallow versions of a baseball experience. If they are going to try and make it an actual baseball game then by god, at least add in the reasons people may want to consider this more than just play once in a blue moon. They are setting themselves up for failure in my opinion especially since they arent even the only option for xbox owners.
    Keirik
    Well im not trying to compare this to the show. I dont want it to be the show. I have a ps4 for that. Its just my opinion that they still are half assing it by adding in very shallow versions of a baseball experience. If they are going to try and make it an actual baseball game then by god, at least add in the reasons people may want to consider this more than just play once in a blue moon. They are setting themselves up for failure in my opinion especially since they arent even the only option for xbox owners.

    If it was a failure they wouldn’t have brought the product in house and then added a team of 30 people to work on the game, that sounds like effort to me. Neither of us have played the game, and we really don’t know much but it sounds like they are investing in the product and trying to make it a baseball game people can enjoy. It won’t be a sim game, it was be arcade with a dash of sim, which I personally prefer sim, but they have the market cornered. Supposedly the sales have gone up every year since it’s first release. They aren’t the only game in town for the Xbox but they are the only game with real players and casual fan will buy this game because it has real players.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    rhouserjr0614
    If it was a failure they wouldn’t have brought the product in house and then added a team of 30 people to work on the game, that sounds like effort to me. Neither of us have played the game, and we really don’t know much but it sounds like they are investing in the product and trying to make it a baseball game people can enjoy. It won’t be a sim game, it was be arcade with a dash of sim, which I personally prefer sim, but they have the market cornered. Supposedly the sales have gone up every year since it’s first release. They aren’t the only game in town for the Xbox but they are the only game with real players and casual fan will buy this game because it has real players.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports

    Well i guess your opionion varies from my opinion. Its just as easy to say, comsidering the laughable reviews this series has gotten, that the reason they are bringing this in house and putting a team together is to reverse a failure, not strengthen an already succesful series. Sales for this are solely because of it being the only game in town, not it being a hidden gem of any kind. The effort they are putting in is half ased to me to not quite make it what xbox owners would want, but to tease with the idea of it being just a little closer to playable for more than a day or two.
    To me, there is something very concerning considering this game is like 2 weeks away and very limited info on it.
    Keirik
    Well i guess your opionion varies from my opinion. Its just as easy to say, comsidering the laughable reviews this series has gotten, that the reason they are bringing this in house and putting a team together is to reverse a failure, not strengthen an already succesful series. Sales for this are solely because of it being the only game in town, not it being a hidden gem of any kind. The effort they are putting in is half ased to me to not quite make it what xbox owners would want, but to tease with the idea of it being just a little closer to playable for more than a day or two.
    To me, there is something very concerning considering this game is like 2 weeks away and very limited info on it.

    Oh I agree it was a joke of a game for sure but the game is selling well enough to actually make it a legit game. When I think of a failure I think of a game that doesn’t sell well and gets cancelled. Per that definition it isn’t a failure.
    I agree the lack of information is alarming, same with SMB 2. But at the end of the day these are the only games we have.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    lyleman222
    100% agree no info is worrying, either there super confident or the opposite and the game will stink

    I think it has to be better. In house and 30 guys working on it. You just have to be overly optimistic. Ha, I am
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    For the record, I actually am buying the game for the ps4. SMB too. I like options and I miss the days of multiple sports games coming out each year.
    Let's hope for the best lol
    Keirik
    For the record, I actually am buying the game for the ps4. SMB too. I like options and I miss the days of multiple sports games coming out each year.
    Let's hope for the best lol

    Bring back HH baseball. lol
    How are you, Keith?
    lyleman222
    As an Xbox owner you have to optimistic!

    Yes very much so. Heck if Microsoft buys EA maybe we will see something. But yeah love baseball and Xbox and I can’t reasonably convince myself to dole out 300 bucks for one game and a system.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    roadman
    Bring back HH baseball. lol
    How are you, Keith?

    Yo!
    Would love HH back. How you doing Terry ? Wouldn't it be awesome if we could just get a game, even with RBIs graphics and just the meat and potatoes of the HH franchise? What was that like 15 years ago we used to help out with that game? Long time!
    lyleman222
    I don't get the lack of updates very frustrating not great when you come onto op sports website and usual MLB the show everywhere

    Yeah there seems to be an internal embargo on the game which is really raising some red flags. Would it be so hard to release some gameplay footage? I am not shelling out $30 just because I am desperate for a baseball game. I am really crossing my fingers on this one.
    lyleman222
    I don't get the lack of updates very frustrating not great when you come onto op sports website and usual MLB the show everywhere

    Show is a different level of game. Can’t compare the 2 games IMO. But yes give us something.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Kayotick
    Yeah there seems to be an internal embargo on the game which is really raising some red flags. Would it be so hard to release some gameplay footage? I am not shelling out $30 just because I am desperate for a baseball game. I am really crossing my fingers on this one.

    I’m going to buy it regardless since I don’t think we SMB until May or June.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Keirik
    Yo!
    Would love HH back. How you doing Terry ? Wouldn't it be awesome if we could just get a game, even with RBIs graphics and just the meat and potatoes of the HH franchise? What was that like 15 years ago we used to help out with that game? Long time!

    Yes, indeed, I agree, RBI's graphics could replace HH's graphics.lol
    What a pitchers dual that game was with all the right tendencies, right down to the Naked Gun dance.
    rhouserjr0614
    Yeah franchise mode and all. It will hold me over until at least SMB or even further along than that
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports

    I am hoping it holds me over as well through SMB2 or maybe even longer. I am actually pretty excited about RBI this year.
    PVarck31
    Two days before launch and not a single raw gameplay video.
    Not expecting much.

    Does it really matter? Any marketing would only show you the cool stuff anyway. Well, marketing outside of MLB 2k.....
    pistolpete1980
    I am hoping it holds me over as well through SMB2 or maybe even longer. I am actually pretty excited about RBI this year.

    I’m excited too it sounds like they are really trying this year. In house team and they listen to the fans.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    lyleman222
    Just a sign of life from the Devs would be nice!

    They have had success without really ever advertising previously. Yes I wish we had some gameplay but it’s 2 days out. If you are a baseball guy you’re getting this day one
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Once it is out you will see advertising everywhere, specifically on MLB.com. That is probably where they spend most of their promotional dollars.
    That being said, it shouldn't cost a dime to upload things to YouTube...
    EDIT: Nevermind, in-house meant actually with MLB themselves. Yeah, shouldn't really cost a thing.
    rhouserjr0614
    They have had success without really ever advertising previously. Yes I wish we had some gameplay but it’s 2 days out. If you are a baseball guy you’re getting this day one
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports

    Well, I'm a baseball guy and I am not getting this until I see some gameplay footage. I would rather do without than purchase any game sight unseen. Not in this day and age and certainly not with this game's track record.
    opd897
    Well, I'm a baseball guy and I am not getting this until I see some gameplay footage. I would rather do without than purchase any game sight unseen. Not in this day and age and certainly not with this game's track record.
    My thoughts exactly.
    Sent from my SM-T813 using Tapatalk
    I wanna buy it. I'm itching for another good baseball game. I like The Show. But I want something different.
    That said, this game has been terrible since it started. All the paragraphs touting how it's a whole new ballgame sound nice, but I'm probably gonna wait for impressions and gameplay.
    opd897
    Well, I'm a baseball guy and I am not getting this until I see some gameplay footage. I would rather do without than purchase any game sight unseen. Not in this day and age and certainly not with this game's track record.

    17 isn’t a complete lost cause. Yeah it’s no show that’s for sure but I enjoy playing my 7 year old in it. I miss a sim baseball game but just have to adapt I guess.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    I wanna buy this tonight at midnight. But everything keeps telling me not to do it. I just want another good baseball game.
    I mean it's $30. So maybe I will just buy it and give you guys impressions, or maybe I'll stream it if anyone is interested.
    PVarck31
    I wanna buy this tonight at midnight. But everything keeps telling me not to do it. I just want another good baseball game.
    I mean it's $30. So maybe I will just buy it and give you guys impressions, or maybe I'll stream it if anyone is interested.

    I am going to be streaming tomorrow morning. I mean why the hell not - $30 isnt bad.
    PVarck31
    I wanna buy this tonight at midnight. But everything keeps telling me not to do it. I just want another good baseball game.
    I mean it's $30. So maybe I will just buy it and give you guys impressions, or maybe I'll stream it if anyone is interested.

    I’m getting it tonight at midnight. It’s 30 bucks and it will get played for sure. It’s a no brainer for me.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    I blindly preordered from Target, and probably won't get it til Thursday...Not expecting much, but it's only 30 bucks!
    Will be interested to hear what you guys, that get the game tomorrow, think!
    The game is preloading on my One X. It's 8.64 GB. I'm taking a shot in the dark, considering we have seen nothing. For some reason, I optimistic about this game. We shall see. I will give some impressions in the morning.
    jahswill
    The game is preloading on my One X. It's 8.64 GB. I'm taking a shot in the dark, considering we have seen nothing. For some reason, I optimistic about this game. We shall see. I will give some impressions in the morning.

    I’m excited. I think we maybe fairly thrilled
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    I think they should get an A for effort. We can’t compare it to the show. The show is in a league of their own. Xbox One maybe will get a decent Xbox game.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    Game is preloaded and ready to go. I have a sick child who needs medicine at 2am...so decided just to stay up and get a cpl of hours in tonight. I haven't even received my review copy for the PS4...so that scares me a bit, but hoping for the best.
    It’s def an improvement from last year - keep in mind, only 4 innings in so far. It hasn’t strayed too far from the RBI concept that has been seen before in previous games, but the controls feel better, the animations are more fluid, and the graphics and presentation are actually done really well
    It’s arcade baseball, with a bit of sim mixed in.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    On two streams I can see on twitch the game looks really dark (I mean, low brightness). Does it look like that on the actual TV or is that something lost in the streaming conversion?
    The game is definitely not dark so that must be an issue with the stream.
    I’ve noticed a couple of glaring visual glitches on load and players footprints in the dirt not being rendered correctly but I’m having fun with it from a gameplay perspective. I’m playing on a one x and the game isn’t optimized for it. That would be something good to see in the future.
    Some of the signature animations are good. They've got Kluber's delivery perfect.
    The fielding is just not good. It's hard to get where you need to go. Feels like you are running zig zag patterns. And even when you get under a fly ball, sometimes the player won't turn around and just catch it backwards.
    I really wanted this to be a good game, but I'm sorry, I just don't think it is.
    If you like it then that's great, I wouldn't knock anyone for liking it. It's not the worst baseball game ever.
    PVarck31
    Some of the signature animations are good. They've got Kluber's delivery perfect.
    The fielding is just not good. It's hard to get where you need to go. Feels like you are running zig zag patterns. And even when you get under a fly ball, sometimes the player won't turn around and just catch it backwards.
    I really wanted this to be a good game, but I'm sorry, I just don't think it is.
    If you like it then that's great, I wouldn't knock anyone for liking it. It's not the worst baseball game ever.

    Is taking forever for some things to load for you? I’m playing on the X and load times see a bit long.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    bluengold34_OS
    Is taking forever for some things to load for you? I’m playing on the X and load times see a bit long.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

    Yep. It took a solid 5 minutes to load into the game. I'm on the X as well. I'm also getting some glitchy stuff on the splash screens.
    Watched a couple of minutes on YouTube. I think the ball speeds up when it hits the ground. Those ground physics are wicked eerie man. Kind of just "rolls on the carpet." That's a dumb saying, but hopefully you know what I mean.
    Hard to give it a go with the really rough presentation feel. I do hope this game does make sales though. Only way to compete is to keep participating.
    So guys here is my question I don't have a ps4 but do have a PS3 so in theory could buy and DL MLB the show 16 for about $20 there are 2018 rosters available as well or do I take a chance with RBI 18 on my Xbox 1 which is more expensive and sounds a bit iffy? Opinions? Thanks

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