MLB 09 The Show – New and Improved A.I.

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Today we’re going to show you some of our new and improved A.I. for MLB 09 The Show. Realism is THE most important thing to use here on the MLB 09 The Show team. Year in and year out, with a development team that has a wealth of baseball knowledge, not only as fans of the game but development members that have actually played the game at very high levels, we dedicate ourselves to making the most realistic baseball experience possible. That being said, there were a few things about last year’s game that were a bit frustrating and not as realistic as we would have liked. As much as we would like to tackle every idea out there, we strategically have to pick and choose our battles. This year we decided to work on a little bit of everything, so today I’m going to highlight four of them.

1. CPU Fielder routes to the ball
In our quest to make the perfect baseball simulation, balancing the game can be a long difficult task. In order for our batters to reach the correct amount of doubles and triples in our game, we needed a couple things to happen.

  • The batter needs to get out of the box appropriately, round the bases correctly, and have his true-to-life times from home to first, first to third, etc…
  • The fielders need to react naturally, the same way they do in real life. Basically, if the runners are going to behave realistically, then the fielders need to as well, otherwise you would not have balance. So this year, our infielders and outfielders will react and behave appropriately on balls hit down the lines or in the gaps. No more direct routes to the ball keeping you at first if you should have had a double. Now, in MLB 09 The Show, you will see outfielders rounding the ball, cutting it off at a BACK angle or just playing it off the wall. This truly looks and feels like you’re playing in The Show.

2. Infielder Hot Shots
Another part of last year’s game that I felt needed improvement to bring it that much closer to real life was the fact that fielders would catch just about everything hit their way. For the most part, if they could reach it, they would catch it, with a few deflections here and there. This year, in MLB 09 The Show, our infielders become human again and are now vulnerable to Hot Shots coming off the bat of Albert Pujols. We’ve developed a system that will allow for the player to miss balls based on how hard they’re hit, the fielding ability of the player, and the player’s reaction time. Some balls are just too hot to handle for anyone, but if you are playing with the Gold Glovers, they’ll have a better chance of making some unbelievable plays. Balls will also take bad hops and hit off the player, and yes, your infielders will even make errors. Even though we’ve had errors in games past, we focused a bit more on it to, once again, bring this game closer to real MLB. The cool thing about this is, with the addition of the new routes to the ball, a shot down the line can get by that third baseman and give you a realistic chance to stretch it in to a double. These are my favorite plays.

3. Tags
We used to have a very generic set of tags that basically set the facing direction toward the incoming runner and then we would apply the tag. That OLD system would not account for the infielders set up at or around the base and the attacking angle of the runners slide. Now, in MLB 09 The Show, we consider all of that. We have all new setups that are tailored for every base and every direction the throw is coming from. The catcher also has his own setup and tag system. We even have an all-new system for pickoffs and back picks. This makes for some really exciting plays at the base that make you feel like you’re part of a real Major League Baseball experience

And I just wanted to mention this even though it really doesn’t have to do with the tag section. For those of you that play our game regularly, you will know that we have always had a problem with “going the short way” with two outs. Well, you’ll no longer be frustrated trying to go the “short way” with two outs. With the incorporation of our “on the run catch system,” on a ground ball to the third baseman with two outs, you can branch your throw to second and get a really cool catch on the run by the second baseman for the out, without having to throw across the diamond. The CPU will do this as well. Another side note, the CPU will tag your runner in the baseline if he can, instead of ignoring the runner and throwing to the base. You guys that play our game know what I mean.

4. Pitcher / Batter duel
The Pitcher/Batter Duel has always been what makes or breaks a true to life baseball simulation. We have dedicated a whole year to improving this feature and we will continue to do this as long as we make this game. This is extremely important to us here on the MLB 09 The Show Team, and I know you’ll appreciate the advanced technology, logic and dedication that has gone in to it. Oh yeah…we also have a new level for all you guys that brag about H.O.F. Mode being too easy. It’s called Legend Mode. Good Luck!!

Also, be sure to catch a special interview of MLB 09 The Show cover athlete Dustin Pedroia on ESPN First Take live from Sony HQ tomorrow at 11:15am Eastern Time, as well as a live ESPN News segment that will air throughout the day.

Comments are closed.


6 Author Replies

  • Man this game is really starting to look great.

  • Really nice but I can’t afford to buy this instead of Killzone 2.

  • awesome ! the best baseball sim gets even better!

  • awesome! the best bAseball sim game gets even better!!!

  • Awesome news indeed. :D Now I just wonder if there will be a demo before release like last year?

  • Best Baseball game on the market!!!

  • best baseball games series ever

    keep it up!

  • I’m glad to read that they aren’t resting on their laurels. MLB ’08: The Show was awesome and I can’t wait to play the even better ’09 version. 5 months of baseball awaits me in early March.

    Of course, less base hits down the middle would also be nice to see.

  • @55
    If last year is any indication, we should see a demo around the third week of February with the full game the first week of March.

  • can’t wait 4 this game (GO YANKEES) but i was wondering if you guys have looked at adding a wbc feature where worlds compete like…NBA live franchise has

  • Hey guys, I have a question. Great game, I have been playing MLB yearly since the PS2 days. When I am in the middle of a season and there is a trade in real life can we download the roster online this year? Usually I would have to do it manually and it takes too long. I hope you guys add this feature this year :).

  • Great stuff for this years version! Plus, Will their be this year’s World Baseball Classic teams in here? I hope so.

  • My PSN name, sweet.

  • Looks great, I can’t wait.

  • Home Run Derby Back This Year?

  • Wow, Long Way since the old games

  • is it march yet?

    oh and are you guys looking for any junior programmers ;)

    08 the show was one of my favorite games of last year and by far the best sports game i’ve played since NFL 2k5 and 09 looks to be everything of 08 and more. Keep up the great work guys and try not to spend all of my $60 in once place ;)

    You guys should look into SE editions like a lot of games are doing. like a sweet Pedoria bobble head, a card, and maybe a voucher for a team hat/shirt or something.

  • why is MLB The Show games are not released in EU? i love baseball and i feel sad that the best sports game is not available to us Europeans.. =(

  • Already have this game pre-ordered.

    I can’t wait for it to come out.

  • i havent played this game in a few years but what about adding or if they do if ur pitcher hits a guy that the batter could charge the mound and a fight to break out, or even have the manager come out to argue a call and get ejected what u think bout that?? and did they put in instant replay in this edition??

  • Just one question will this have game by game attribute updates like nba 2k9’s living roster or nba live’s whatever it’s called?

    This will make or break this game for me…

  • This game is just awesome… I can’t believe you guys can’t do any better with the nba one.

    Anyway I miss the last the show one but not this one and more with trophies lol

  • Chris –

    Thanks for the insightful posting, it is fantastic to hear that you guys are working on stuff like this to improve the game. Even my friends with that “other” console admit MLB ’08 was the best baseball game last year!

    BTW, as an Astros fan I love those classic Houston Astros uniforms from the 1980’s!

    The MLB game is a must-buy for me every year, on PSP and PS3. Sure would like to see the Home Run Derby on PS3 this year! Also, more integration between the two versions would be awesome.

    Hey, since SCE Studios San Diego develops both the MLB and NBA games for PS3, could you guys give the NBA team some help with their AI? It really needs to improve in order to compete with the 2K NBA game.

    Keep up the good work, and Go Astros!

  • Phenomenal job of not only making it real, but also in listening to the users for improvements. The realistic fielding animations and AI was my #1 issue and you exceeded it with these new features.

    One question, has the AI for fielder throws during a run-down been fixed? I had problems with lollipop lobs during a rundown and anytime the fielder was close to the bag, resulting in the runner being safe.

    Any comments on this? Thanks.

  • MLB 08 the show had the best graphics in a baseball game period. The gameplay is unmatched as well. I can’t wait to play this one.

  • I would like to see a Soccer (FOOTBALL) game from Sony from the same engine as MLB the show….

  • While there isn’t any real competition for The Show, much like last year, I still think more effort should be put into the visuals. Considering what’s being done with MGS4 and Killzone 2, this really isn’t pushing the PS3’s power, and considering that the difference between any given year’s iteration of the same series isn’t all that significant, the visuals really SHOULD be the highlight. I’ll grant you that the player models look good- damn good, but the the dirt, the grass, the crowd… They’re bland. The environment in which the game takes place is just as important as the players. I expect more from the leaders of the sports genre. Nevertheless, the gaming aspects seem as tight as ever, and stronger AI is a good thing.

  • series vets really appreciate the little nooks and crannies, noticing all the things like the 50+ new tagging animations. i really appreciate that kind of stuff. thanks for makin the best baseball game on the market year in and year out, dudes.

    i love this series so much.

    day 1 purchase. keep up the GREAT work, guys.

  • also, cant say how THRILLED i am about reallistic routes in the outfield. i used to get so pissed off seeing outfielders cut off SURE doubles/triples down the line by a miraculous crouching spin-o-rama plays getting the ball into the cutoff man. i’m hoping the real routes will affect this.

  • Wow gets better and better looks like I am gonna have to play killzone 2 fast because when this is out days later it will take up most of my play time.

  • I am definitely buying MLB 09 THE SHOW even though I have all the other MLB THE SHOW games.

  • I dont even play sports games, but I am looking forward to trying the demo for this.

  • New and improved AI probably means even more BS rubber AI..

  • when i heard the music at the beginning of this video, i got a long chill down my spine. i effin love The Show!

  • I’ve asked this in a couple of threads now.

    Will the quality of voice chat be better than 08?

    And will there be a better system for push to talk, or always-on?

  • Awesome work Kolbe and company.

    The best baseball game ever. Hands down.

  • OMG! thank u for adding the “short way” feature in the game…. i can’t tell u how many times i’ve given up extra outs because of errors having to throw across the diamond. drives me crazy!!

  • Hey Chris, I was born a Philadelphia Sports Fan. And the EAGLES…lets just say they blew it. I went to the parade, i was on 17th and market.

    IT was truly amazing.

  • Sony told me i had to post a comment :(

  • Can’t wait to get this game. Best MLB game on the market…HANDS DOWN!!!!! A sports game actually worth getting every year.

  • i cant wait to buy this game, i havnt gotta a baseball game in a few years now and this game has me ready to buy!

  • I traded in my xbox just so I could play ’08,and I can’t wait for ’09 to come out.

  • Chris, I love this game and wait each year for the new installment. I have one QUESTION. Did you guys fix the COLLISION mechanism?? I would hate to see the runner go right thru the position player. I really hope so and if not, could there be a patch in the future? THANKS

  • interesting stuff

  • SONY STAFF PLEASE READ!!!!!!!! I would like to start of by saying that i used to be a 360 fan. But when I realized the potential of the I ps3 I quickly purchased one. It is an awesome machine. But I am very unpleased with the lack of bereavements, of not so much of the console, but ps3 exclusives. Even games that are not exclusives don’t get much public attention because of the big xbox screen that pops up after ever multiplatform commercial. Because of that you will have 150,000 + on COD world at war on xbox live at one time and only about half of that on PSN. And it is free. Palpitation owners want to be proud about there consoles openly and not so discreetly. Every time I ask someone about killzone 2, they have no ideal what I am talking about. The new firmware will be nice and I am greatly appreciated of all the work you guys and gals put in. But what about more gaming features like in game chat, to a party playing a totally different game or new avatars because most of them are very cheesy and childish. Media is very cool but lets not forget about gaming. Please use my comments as quality improvements and not rants or raves. Thank you Sony for your continuous efforts in perfecting the PS3 media and gaming experience.

  • just wondering, what did you guys have to give up in this game to add ALL of this new stuff?! or was there just that much extra space that they weren’t sure what to do with?


  • It about time the ChiSox get some love. Just for showing us before the Cubbies in your vid makes this game a day 1 purchase for me.

  • sounds great but not a mlb fan sorry

  • Some of the most realistic movements I’ve seen in a sports game. Very fluid, very impressive! Is this a PS3 exclusive?

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