While the snow might be piling up across the land (or not), things are heating up at the SCEA studios. Info regarding MLB: The Show 12 is steadily starting to trickle out day by day.
But if you are looking for wholesale changes, look elsewhere. SCEA follows a strict policy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is certainly not a bad thing. Instead of trying to re-invent the wheel, we consistently see building blocks, but this isn’t to say there is no innovation.
Last year we were introduced to analog hitting, pitching and fielding. This year, one of the early features we know about is Pulse Pitching, which is loosely based off of classic pitching. After selecting your pitch, and location, you then press X to start the pitch. A large X on the screen will appear and you must press X again at its smallest point. This is certainly a new and welcome take on pitching in this series.
We will also have a new way of hitting once again with Zone-Analog. This time you use both sticks to hit; the right, to mimic the swing of the bat and the left, to place the bat in its correct zone quadrant. This should appease many hardcore fans.
Another innovative feature being introduced this year is collision awareness. This will finally eliminate the clipping we see when players pass right through each other. Now you will see players getting spiked, plenty more animations for breaking up double plays, new tags and slides. Finally players can collide anywhere on the field. This has been a community request for years.
My personal favorite improvement that we know about so far is the improved ball physics. SCEA Community Manager Ramone Russell said that the engineering team re-wrote the entire code on how a spinning object interacts with such things as a bat, wall or even the field. This should be a game changer when it comes to total realism.
Speaking of total realism, MLB 12: The Show will feature over 500 new presentation animations, 300 new fielding and base running animations, 150 new batting stances, 75 new pitching motions, and one of my personal favorites, 14 new umpire personalities. I would say SCEA is doing more than their annual due diligence.
There is a reason why The Show is one of the highest rated sports games year in and year out. The folks at SCEA never seem to let us down. They never seem to break anything for the sake of that shiny new back-of-the-box marketing feature. They build off the rock solid foundation that has been in place for so many years, and I’m sure there will be many more features to be announced before the season approaches.