Major League Baseball 2K9 Developer Call

February 25, 2009 | Posted by Ramon Aranda

Late last week we had a chance to speak to Erick Boenisch (Lead Features Designer) and Jonathan Rivera (Gameplay Producer) from Visual Concepts about the upcoming release of Major League Baseball 2K9 from 2K Sports.

In speaking with the press, they touched on various aspects of the game, specifically what has been changed and what gamers can expect to see from it when it releases on March 3.

One of the focuses on this year’s edition was the pitching mechanism – in terms of making it more accessible. They realized that in last year’s game, it was sometimes tough to get proper location on your pitches; resulting in disastrous consequences. So one of the first things they did was to remove the release timing. Now, pitching will simply consist of two steps: selecting the pitch and then filling up the meter before releasing it to complete the pitching motion.

In relation to hitting, they’ve added functionality to the left analog stick by letting players decided if they want to hit the ball to a particular side of the field, including on the ground and in the air. Hitting homeruns won’t be as easy this time around and neither will robbing homeruns.

Authenticity was key to this title and the development team put in plenty of man hours looking into television broadcasts and adding life-like reactions and animations to the fans, coaches and even bat-boys. In regards to rosters updates, the team says they will occur anytime any real life trades go down – especially big ones. Fans can expect those roster updates to happen immediately so there won’t be any confusion as to when they happen. While online, you’ll also be able to share rosters with friends, including created players. The online leagues are back but this time they take on the look of to make the interface more appealing. Sadly no World Baseball Classic will be included and no interconnectivity with MLB Manager.
Animation problems see to be taken care of this time around as we were assured that the game is now running at a smooth 60 frames per second.

There will be Classic NL and AL teams and players such as George Brett, Wade Boggs and Nolan Ryan are included.

There’s a lot more customization this year too for things like wristbands, bats/colors etc.
A new feature called ‘Player Ambition’ is now in the game as it relates to trades and free agency. Players will take deals depending on playing time, money, location of team, prestige, chances of going to the World Series.

Also new this year is the broadcast team which now features Gary Thorne and Steve Phillips.
The PS3 version will support the Trophies system. In relation to Achievements, there are hidden achievements…one like strike them out, throw them out. Man-crush is another one…the goal is to his a HR w/the cover star.

Xbox Live Avatars will be also used in future editions.


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Ramon Aranda
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