There is some new information circulating regarding the follow-up to one of 2011’s highest rated games, Out of the Park 12.
While I think OOTP12 was an outstanding game (and gave it a 9.5), I don’t think it was perfect. That's especially true if you were new to the series. OOTP is sometimes betrayed a bit by its roots, often looking more like a spreadsheet program than a baseball game.
However, when we break down the new features, OOTP 13 seems to be on track to become a more user-friendly, interesting and ultimately better game.
Out of the Park Baseball 13's new interface will be familiar enough to vets of the series.
Here’s a point by point analysis of the announced new features in OOTP 13:
- 2012 Major League Rosters: This one is a given, though the game is much more than a roster update. Rules have been changed to better simulate the new collective bargaining agreement; realignment and the new playoff structure are incorporated as well. Nothing earth-shattering here, but nice to see this stuff is in the game upon release.
Real-time Simulation Mode: This seems to be the biggest addition, but one I’m not quite sure about. The gist is that you will do your GM-ing in real-time, while the rest of the baseball world unfolds around you.
I like this feature in theory, as it should add some tension and realism to the proceedings. However, I tend to simulate a week at a time -- I'm not sure I’ve got the time to sit back and watch things happen. Still, a nice addition for those who take it slow.
Interactive Storylines: This feature, on the other hand, has me salivating. I love elements of randomness in my strategy games, whether it’s a rule change in OOTP or a surprise alliance in Civilization. Here’s an example from the OOTP press:
“Your team is mired in a bad slump, and your star player takes his grievances to the media. Do you fine him to set an example, with the possibility he could become even more upset and see his morale decline? Do you ignore the incident and risk losing the respect of other team members? Do you take the drastic step of labeling the player a cancer and releasing him or arranging a hasty trade?”
It will be interesting to see exactly how these enhanced storylines play out, but OOTP claims no two are alike.
- League Associations and Expanded Playoff Modes: Not a big deal for me, but for those players who like an extended or fictionalized universe, this set of features will give you more options.
Redesigned Interface: The developers call this a “complete overhaul,” which I hope will relieve one of my bigger complaints about the series' mediocre UI.
I don’t think the interface is bad, and it is certainly more than functional. But there is room for improvement, especially considering the streamlining games like NFL Head Coach have demonstrated.
One of the featured improvements is a manager task screen, which I hope works like Civ V’s task bar, or even an RPG quest log. I like to be able to check off items as complete; while less realistic, it seems way more organized than the nebulousness of previous versions.
Out of the Park Baseball has owned our Indie Sports GOTY category. Will it be any different this year?
The other new features being touted by the developers are general improvements to online play and the simulation engine. Anything new here is a bonus, since online and the simulation engine have been strengths for this series.
We wont know whether any of these improvements work to improve the game as a whole until it’s released. However, Out of the Park has a pretty solid track record.
Until then, I look forward to more details and the game’s eventual release this summer.
Which of these features are you most excited for in OOTP 13?