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Can the Show even be changed by SCEA? 
Posted on March 18, 2010 at 11:20 AM.
I've been thinking about this, and want to know if you guys follow me. I am not a CD guy , and basically nobody knows who I am, and I can barely use facebook. But I have a theory, about what as MMChris says, makes the Show a victim of it's own success. I think that because they have such a deep, huge game, it's incredibly difficult for them to make changes.

I'll contrast with Madden, instead of MLB 2K because it's a more fair comparison. You'll see why in a minute. When the jump from ps2/Xbox was made to ps3/360, Madden rebuilt itself. Many people were lamenting the change , saying that if the game played like Madden on PS2 , and looked like 360 it'd be so much better than it is now. For some reason or other, the Madden team decided to "start fresh" on next gen, which led to the "The Great OS Engine Debates." (Transcripts available for $350 money order only made payable to me.) The verdict on that is that there is no single engine for a game and lots of different engines go into a final product (according to Ian Cummings). This is no different than how your car or pc works , as well.

The Show took a different route. They seemed to (according to an average gamer like me) stick with their "legacy gen gameplay," and have tweaked it, and added features, and more realistic outcomes every year. The criticism is now that the game is stale, and you can get a remarkably similar gameplay experience. Having bought a ps3 only 1.5 months ago, I will say this, and I'm not afraid to admit it...GRAPHICS MATTER. All of us who want sim style here on OS (I include myself), I think minimize what sheer beauty adds to a game. You will never hear me say the game plays the same on ps2 as ps3. It's immensely more fun and less boring on ps3. That's why this is a system seller.

There're many threads about stealing 2k's pitching mechanic because it's so darn fun. But, I ask, can they? Not that they aren't smart, the best at interacting with community and they make a SGOTY worthy game every year, it seems. It's not an insult. But I feel the game has such a delicate balance that even changing any part of the user interface may screw things up all wonky-like (technical term).

I'd like to start with the throwing meter; while improved, there is still a criticism that arms are not differentiated enough. For whatever reason, SCEA chose not to totally revamp throw speeds. Maybe it threw off sim stats, or led to too many infield hits, or they would have to slow the baserunners footspeed, thus the fielders, thus ball speed to the plate to get all the ratios right, and then it's an entirely different less sim game. I don't know. But since we've been clamoring for a throw meter, and last year's was plain broken, and this year's still doesn't answer a lot of those complaints (it seems), I'm going with a theory that SCEA has decided that a drastic change to the throw speed would mess up their game; I say this because I'm sure they know how to lower velocity on a throw, and have a user-button that does it.

Now, when we talk about a pitching mechanic using r-stick, what happens? Well you could tie it to the current meter, a la MVP NCAA. To me that wasn't that fun, BUT it would be a little different, and (it seems to me) you could leave the current meter pitching system basically intact. It would just be a matter of mapping a control differently. But if you were to take the 2k style pitching meter, that would make pitching competely different. SCEA says the pitching meter covers both velocity, intended location, and release point, giving realistic variation. If they were to switch to a "down and around" mechanic, what happens if I screw up a gesture going from 6 o'clock to 3 o'clock on my stick? Where does that mean I release the ball? Especially if the motion's release point isn't until 12 o'clock?

I think that what we are seeing is just a different philosophy in game development. SCEA has such a complex tapestry of a game that they're either only willing or ABLE to tweak it without it completely going haywire. We've seen this in throwing, fielding (just tweaking the OF to take a route around the ball instead of slowing them down completely), the throw meter (broken, and now to some not noticeable),and things like the pickoff mechanic where ratings "take over" and user control is eliminated. If the seemingly "small fixes" (and I have no belief that anything in programming is actually small), aren't implemented the way a lot of gamers would like (more user control), then I'm skeptical of them adding a big one. Madden is adding features every year, and trying to make SIGNFICANT changes to gameplay. NFL 2k5 was interception happy, but still felt like half a game in offline franchise. MLB 2k has been scrapped, rebuilt , scrapped, rebuilt, scrapped.

But I think in the end SCEA has found a successful formula , and would be wise not to deviate from it , as the developers who have, have been significantly punished.
Comments
# 1 Eski33 @ Mar 18
I posted this same thing on MMChris's blog, SCEA does not need to reinvent the wheel. No crazy control schemes are needed to make The Show feel fresh. I would rather they keep the familiar control scheme and add what really makes sports games look and feel fresh -- up the ante with the presentation.

SCEA has done an outstanding job of adding real-time presentation and has had real-time out of town scoreboards functioning during franchise and season modes. This is not taking into account the ridiculous visuals and animations, which set it apart from its competition.

I think what The Show needs is something new. Maybe go the way of NCAA Basketball and offer multiple commentary. I think licensing "This Week in Baseball" and providing weekly standings updates, highlights, top plays of the week and TWIB notes trivia with points that can unlock classic teams (World Series champs from the past 50 years or so, stadiums, etc).

I would also like to see weather play a bigger role. Cold temps hamper hitters, warm temps drain pitchers, rain, double-headers, and realistic wind with flags and impact on fly balls would also be sweet. Also, weather changing throughout a game with drizzle to rain to no rain, etc.

Another cool thing that could be added is a revamped season schedule that looks like the wallet sized schedules with the stadium seating diagram included.

In regards to controls, I would like to see an improved throwing meter for fielders. Outside of that, trying to mess with the controls to make the game feel new would be a huge mistake. I don't want to spend time trying to adapt to a new control scheme. Typically when that happens, as it did with MLB 2K, comes a whole new level of frustration.
 
# 2 rudyjuly2 @ Jun 9
If MLB 2K10 can add stuff, so can SCEA which probably has a bigger budget. Standing still gets you eaten eventually. You HAVE to innovate. The Show needs to add analog controls no matter what. They have lost me without them.
 
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