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What can we expect from next-gen sport titles (NBA/MLB part 3 of 3) Stuck
Posted on April 30, 2013 at 04:30 PM.

If you have been following my blog over the last couple of weeks, than you have a grasp of what I think we will initially see out of a few sports titles on the upcoming next-gen consoles. I wanted to take a quick look at what Sonys MLB The Show and 2ks NBA series might offer up out of the gate as well with next-gen sports titles. It is well understood there will be a graphical improvement, but I'm more interested in the depth of each title, and what might now be available with additional power on the new consoles.

Sony has done about as much as possible to harness the complete power of this current gen on the PS3, and now the wait to see what will be possible on the PS4 has truly begun. Along with improved graphics, I think standard improvements will be the visible within the stadium. I expect we will see a much more organic and active stadium with a deeper and more diverse crowd, many different animations that are situation specific such as home-run/foul-ball chasing, etc.

There should also be much more attention paid the surrounding neighborhoods, I would expect that will be incorporated into the intro of each game. Picture a wide-pan shot of outside Wrigley, with fans standing on the streets waiting for a batting practice home-run. A much more detailed neighborhood as we watch the ball travel above the stadium and/or outside of the stadium itself should be a given, and re-tooled commentary that is much more situation player specific, and how their current season is panning out.

I would also like to see a true owner mode included which will allow the user to take ownership of a new franchise, build their own stadium, and run the internal daily activities also. It goes without saying that presentation should see a huge upgrade with weather delays and cancelations. I also hope that multiple broadcast teams will be available as a user choice. These are just a few of the things I think we will see early, and there should be much more as the developers settle in with the developmental architecture on the new console.

As for 2Ks NBA series, it has also done an outstanding job of harnessing the power of the current systems, but there is always room for improvement. I think we will see an animation system that will be much more free-flowing, and really allow the user to finish the play, with a large percentage of user input, and less reliant of the stringing together of animations. While the commentary in the 2K series is one of the best out there, I think once again you will see a much more specific system used on next-gen consoles. Commentary on next-gen systems will be focused on what is going on in the league currently being run by the user, and should be much more refined and damn near non-repetitive.

I also think we will see a deeper crowd immersion, one that feels much more dynamic, and situation-specific emotion will be a lot more noticeable.

As deep as the Association is right now, 2K can obviously bring the D-League back and allow full control and season play for the user. I would also love to see 2K offer a co-op season mode, in which two users can play a whole season online on the same team. There are many other items I would love to mention, but just wanted to hit on just a few things which I hope to see in the infancy stage of this generation of consoles.

As I mentioned early, while the graphical improvement on the systems coming up will be noticeable, its not the only area that sports gamers should be excited about. The depth of all of our sports games should be a deeper experience, and allow multiple modes for a user to take advantage of.

Want to be a player? A coach? Or what about just running the whole thing? Want to watch a user-vs-user game from any digital seat in the house? What about having a true coaches mode where you have to run practices, deal with player issues, and an owner that is never happy?

We should see these thing we mentioned, and a lot more coming soon to a system near you.
# 1 mike24forever @ Apr 30
Excellent blog. I completely agree with the animation system in NBA.
# 2 balljonesjr @ Apr 30
I like your ideas for 2k. I'm wondering if one of the things that you'd like to see are the guys that grab players coming into the games sweats, injured players in suits on the bench, and one of my biggest issues (that in other people's minds isn't that important) the lack of camera men on the baseline that literally gets fallen on every game! Just wondering
# 3 Jimbo614 @ Apr 30
I actually think you're aiming low. If I had MY way, there would be massive improvements such as Build-your -own-stadiums, uniform editing, retro seasons (What if you was offered full versions of past seasons? Including uniforms, rosters, and stadiums?)
I'd love to see much more in player and team personalities.
For instance, in CPU vs CPU, The Spurs, Patriots, and Alabama never play up to the level we see IRL. Why? Because those teams in particular are greater than the sum of their parts due to experience, pride, and a coaching system. In the next gen, maybe those things can be addressed.
But beware!! A lot of things sound great in theory but fail miserably in practice. At the end of the day, it comes down to the imagination and dedication of the developers. You can have all the technology possible, but if your devs get stuck in a mindset, or fail to comprehend the subleties of a new feature, everything can blow up in our faces.
Just be careful what we wish for.
# 4 giantsharks @ May 1
i would love, in any sports game to have more individualistic animations. the show and nba 2k do a pretty good job with this, with shooting animations and pitching animations and homerun swings but i would like that to be improved on. madden and nhl you basically feel like you're playing with the same team no matter what team it is, especially nhl even the stadiums all feel the same in nhl besides the center logo
# 5 HustlinOwl @ May 1
MLB needs a true online franchise already
# 6 tjb_32 @ May 1
With the new shift towards the sharing and social features, I really hope that next-gen games will provide a way to save, edit, and share highlights. This needs to be fully customizable from the music to the camera angles.
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