We recently had a chance to speak with the developers of Major League Baseball 2K10. Even though many sports games have a new version every year, the developers were very enthusiastic about the improvements to this year’s iteration. The game mechanics have changed to be more fun, but remain familiar so that veteran players will find it satisfying. The game has had a lot of spit and polish to make it look as realistic as posible, and less like a game. There’s also inclusion of “MLB Today” and “My Player” modes… and if that doesn’t get you excited perhaps the chance to win $1 MILLION DOLLARS will.
With me on the call were:
- Ben Bishop, Producer, 2K Sports
- Jonathan Rivera, Gameplay designer, 2K Sports
- Sean Baily, Gameplay designer, 2K Sports
- Chase, Moderator, Access Communications
Can you give us a quick overview about what’s new with MLB 2k10?
It’s coming out next week on March 2nd for Xbox 360, PC, Wii, PS3, PSP, and DS. I know that most people are concerned with the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions, so we’ll mostly refer to that. To give you a quick background, this is the second year that this game was developed here at Visual Concepts. 2k9 was certainly a challenging year for us. We were all learning a new codebase and there were a lot of things we wanted to do that we just didn’t have time for. We were excited to work on 2k10 so we could add some of the things people have been asking about. We’ve made some huge gameplay changes that have a really big difference. For example, we now have the “My Player” mode which allows you to play through the career of an individual player. We have an “MLB Today” feature that is a new way to play the game, but we’ll get into that later.
How do you make the game feel different year after year (aside from roster changes)?
That’s certainly a big thing for us. We really try to sit down after each game is complete andfigure out what were some areas we weren’t able to tackle. It’s very important to listen to what the consumers have to say… we read the messageboards and all the reviews to figure out what people liked and didn’t like. We take all of these things and bring them to the table for the next year’s game.
How much of 2k9 is in 2k10? Was the game rebuilt from the ground up?
We completely rewrote everything from fielding, hitting, pitching, physics, ai, camera views, and tons of new animations. We had a lot of work ahead of us because I don’t think anyone was happy with last year’s game.
How did Evan Longoria get on the cover?
That’s a fun question. We try to get someone on the cover who not only is a great player but an enthusiastic gamer. The great thing about having a guy like Longoria is that not only is he an MLB star but he’s a big-time gamer and he was very interested in providing input to improve the game. The biggest thing for us is talking amongst the developers and marketing team to figure out who best fits that bill.
What seperates 2k10 from other baseball games on the market?
There’s actually a lot of things that make it unique. The battle and realism of hitting and pitching is an obvious one. There are some smaller details, like in the career mode you know how far off you are from getting called off. The pitch and swing analyzer really show you what you did right or wrong in subtle ways (if you want to see that). Pitchers vs. hitters, ai, physics and new animations all add up to make it different.
Jonathon, who is this year’s highest-rated player?
The highest rated player is Oliver Krumholtz. I’ts already stat-based. We take the stats of the last three years and we have a weight system and figure out the ratings based on that. If we don’t have enough data (like in a rookie player), then we have to do some research to figure out what kind of player he is.
What about the online features this year? Any DLC planned?
We don’t have any DLC outside of roster updates. In regards to the features in general… you can now play your franchise games against your friends. There are trading card teams you can play online. There’s also MLB Today.. keeping the rosters as up to date as we can.
Are there any drop-in/drop-out modes?
It’s not actually drop-in/drop out to where you can start playing someone else’s game in the middle of the fourth inning, so you have to start from the beginning. The biggest thing for us in tearing down the walls was to make online play easily accessible. Anywhere you are on a team-select screen you can jump to your friends’ list and invite them in to that game.
Right nowthere’s only one-on-one online modes. You can go into any game and simulate a half or full inning. You can also jump right in and take over from there.