Attention To Details: The Little Things That Help MLB 09 The Show Shine

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Hey everyone, Greg Batalucco (Game Designer) and Clayton Read (Associate Producer) here to bring you the next installment of the MLB 09 The Show blogs. This entry will focus on all the little details added this year to The Show that give it an added touch of realism. For this year’s version we wanted to make the game as accurate as possible and included in MLB 09 The Show are actual team mascots, new and improved stadium jumbotrons with game related movies, K boards, realistic crowds, and improved lighting and skies throughout the stadiums. All these enhancements add to the overall gaming experience to make MLB 09 The Show as real as it gets.

One of the main things we wanted to accomplish this year is to add as much realism to the stadiums and the crowd as possible. We’ve listened to what the community has been telling us: “We want that same experience that we get at a real ballgame, the look and sounds of the crowd, accurate and detailed stadiums, the smell of popcorn and hotdogs, etc.” Well we can’t add in smells (or can we?) but you can imagine. We devoted many, many hours of research to get everything as realistic and accurate in detail as possible in hopes of making it seem like you are actually at the game. We want your friend, spouse or whomever, to walk in the room while you are playing the game and say ,“Hey what game are you watching on TV.” That’s how real it is! In this blog we will go over a few of the things that help to make MLB 09 The Show the most realistic baseball game ever.

As both kids and adults we’ve laughed at, and had fun with, team mascots. They always make us feel young and truly enhance the ambiance of a live baseball game. This year in The Show you get to watch as your favorite mascots come to life. Thanks to the brilliant work by The Show’s character artists (and some interesting MOCAP sessions) you can see the Phillie Phanatic get the crowd fired up, Mr. Met dance on top of the dugouts and Bernie Brewer slide down his slide to the amusement of everyone at the game. You can also spot the Swinging Friar cheering by the rally bell, The Bird getting Orioles’ fans out of their seats and Wally the Green Monster leading a “Let’s go, Red Sox” chant. In over 20 stadiums, these mascots will help entertain and make each game more real and enjoyable. So whether it’s razzing the visiting players, having a dance competition with a few lucky (or not so lucky) fans or just trying to score a few laughs, the mascots will undoubtedly be something fun to watch out for in MLB 09 The Show.

MLB 09 The Show Screenshot  PIT MASCOT

Jumbotrons and Videos
For years we have talked about sprucing up our in-game jumbotrons. Yes, we did say sprucing. This year we took it upon ourselves to view every MLB stadium and get a good idea of what each stadium showed. Combing through countless hours of MLB video and artist photos we got a good feel of how we wanted to layout realistic jumbotrons. As you will see, the new jumbotrons throughout the MLB stadiums in The Show will show full statistics, lineups, pitcher matchups and anything you might see at a real MLB game. Another must-have feature that consumers asked for was added this year – game related videos. Go to any real life baseball game and watch your favorite home town pitcher strikeout a batter or favorite slugger hit a home run. Well, what do you see on the jumbotron? A really cool video that rocks out! From homerun and RBI videos, to “get loud” crowd meter and “stand up” videos which pump up the crowd, all these elements of realism go into making MLB 09 The Show true to life.

MLB 09 The Show Screenshot  STLJUMBOTRON MLB 09 The Show Screenshot HR JUMBOTRON

Every development cycle we find little things we’d like to improve on. One thing in particular this year was to get a better and more accurate crowd. What I mean by this is getting fans to actually wear the appropriate clothing, cheer at the right moments with the right level of sound and show up to the ballpark in real to life attendance figures. To do this we watched many hours of MLB games to view the crowds and get an idea of attendance levels for each team versus every other team it could possibly face. For example, a Red Sox/Yankees game should always be packed, and depending on where it is, Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium, there should be a mix of both fans. Now if you’re playing a game down in Florida with the Marlins, well you’re not going to see as many fans and you just might see more fans of the visiting team on certain days or nights. Crowd accuracy was a big thing added this year and we wanted to get as much detail into it as possible.

Another area we wanted to get more accurate was the clothing crowds wore to each game throughout an MLB season and fans leaving during a game. First, in dealing with fans’ clothing, we wanted to make sure they weren’t wearing t-shirts and shorts in April in, Detroit! Each team was charted out by looking at weather forecasts for each city and every month that a baseball teams plays. So now you will see fans in pants and warm jackets at appropriate times of an MLB season. Maybe even a few earmuffs! As well as in San Diego, most fans will be in warm weather attire, but once the sun sets, break out the jackets…burr!! What you might wear at a game for your favorite team is what our crowd will wear.

Secondly, in dealing with crowds leaving early from a game, we have gone through each team, their attendance levels, scores of games, who they are playing at the time and figured out when they would get up and say enough is enough, my team is getting blown out! As you can imagine, there are the die-hards out there and we track it, so no matter what, these fans always stay and support their team. And finally, we have added fans walking up, down and in and out of the aisles throughout each MLB stadium. Fans will also be seen milling around the concession areas and actual vendors are walking around the stadiums. So grab a hot dog and soda, because the little things matter to our team and hopefully you’ll notice these little details as well.

NEW LED and K boards
When you head out to the ballparks these days, you notice that each stadium has a unique look and feel. What we wanted to do is replicate this for our fans by having all the LED boards and K signs that real stadiums have. Fans can view every statistical category imaginable throughout our stadiums with the new LED boards that range from batter and pitcher stats to lineups and pitch count boards. Watch as the boards change and give you updated information for every batter and pitcher. Also, each stadium either has a section where the fans put up K signs or an LED K sign board. These track every K for the home team pitcher so look for this as you rack up the strikeouts. Hopefully you stat junkies out there will love the little added details and accurate statistical displays throughout each and every stadium!

MLB 09 The Show Screenshot AMBER MLB 09 The Show Screenshot LED

When you play baseball, you want to feel like you’re watching a game, not a video game. For MLB09, the lighting methods were rebuilt from ground up to make everything fit together naturally. Employing Global Lighting techniques, we light the stadium using the sky, then turn around and light the players with the sky and stadium. This makes players feel like they belong to the part of the stadium they are standing in front of. Keep an eye on color, reflections and highlights on players as they move through the environment. Also watch the dirt as every step and slide of a long game shows itself, and as chalk lines get disturbed. Day time games vary over your season, from the soft feel of a cloudy sky, to the harsh rays of a clear summer day, and even overcast days if the time and place is right. Night games are now true to life as we capture those long shadows which stretch across the field at the start, stretching farther until finally the sun goes down and the stadium is fully lit by its own lights. How dark it is at the start of the game depends on the day of the year so don’t be surprised if your spring training game is dark at 7pm. All of these little details add together to help immerse you in the game, and bring you back to the core – playing hardball.

MLB 09 The Show Screenshot NYY

Player Accessories
A key theme throughout this development cycle was realism, from stadiums to true-to-life batter stances and pitcher motions. We think we have it nailed. One area we wanted to really focus on this year was the player accessories and beefing it up. We have added eye black, glasses, wrist tape, and batting gloves in the back pockets to name a few. These are some of the player accessories that add to the realistic nature of our game. When you look at your favorite player and you see an arm band or shin guard you will know that we took the time to get that in the game. Focusing on the little things this year and listening to our fans, we have tried to get the details down pat.

MLB 09 The Show Screenshot DET ACCESSORIES

MLB 09 The Show Screenshot PEDROIA MLB 09 The Show Screenshot ELLSBURY

Final Thoughts
You may have noticed in this blog I have mentioned realism quite a bit. Well there is a reason for this. The MLB 09 team really wanted to convey the sights and sounds of baseball to you, our fans, in the best possible fashion. So when you are playing with your favorite team or player, check out all these details mentioned here. We know you’ll love it.

We appreciate your feedback and will always listen to our fans as we try to make the best game possible. Thanks for your time and we hope you enjoy MLB 09 The Show and the realism we bring to you. OK, that is the last time I will say realism…oops. Sorry, I said it again.

Comments are closed.


32 Author Replies

  • Just downloaded the demo and installed. Now I’m even more excited to try it!!!

  • Must Buy!!


  • The graphics in the demo are awesome! I can’t wait for the game.

  • I’m buying this excellent game.

    Did you do make any more updates to franchise mode? I’m sure you did add a lot of stuff but I missed it.

  • Man, I am going to miss those scoreboard graphic videos when I play half my games at Wrigley.

    Good job on the accurate pitcher stat boards though.

  • I cannot wait for this game!

  • @5
    They had an older blog post about the changes being made to Franchise Mode here in the PlayStation.Blog

    I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS GAME. It’s stuff like this that make The Show so amazing.

  • After seeing the wrigley field part it would be harder not to to get this game!!! i’m not a cubs fan but thats really impressive!!!

  • Wow, in the span of time it took me to post, someone answered the question before me AND someone posted the exact same thing I did in the post before :)

  • It’s a damn shame the NFL will only grant a license to EA Sports for football games these days. With the amount of effort you guys put into MLB The Show, I’d love to see your same team give an NFL game a shot. Oh well, I can always dream :)

    Good job on this franchise, I’m always impressed at the amount of work you put into it.

  • i hav never owned or played any MLB game but i honestly am real impressed with this game. no fan of baseball but the demo was absolutely wonderful. real nice game guys congratulations!

  • Please tell me trophies will be added to this game. I’m addicted to this game, and so am i to trophies.

  • Now only if they payed a LOT more attention to the Nascar games I’d be in heavin!

  • I completely agree with xKOROSHIYAx

  • I know, I’m a royal pain in the butt…but fix the scoreboard at US Cellular field guys!!!

    Where’s the fireworks?
    Lose the spinning pinwheels!
    Where’s the flashing lights?

    Outside of this…this game is INCREDIBLE!

  • This game is hard to pick real life away from a Video game its that awsome though I give you guys that.

  • Im downloading the demo as I type &-&

  • Is the Sausage Race or the President’s Race in the game? If so, does Teddy ever win?

    • We actually mocapped all of the race stuff (which is hilarious to watch the video of), but we could not get the rights to use the characters in the game. But we were prepared to make sure that Teddy never wins.

  • I love NHL09 but if there were a game to knock it into 2nd place this would be the one. When they talk about attention to detail they aren’t kidding. This is by far the most realistic game out there….and it’s SCEA :-)

  • I can’t wait for this game! Hey Greg, say to my Eddie and Kolby for me…..:See what I did there guys? :D.

  • Okay, I must ask. Are we going to be allowed to upload pictures for the created players such as a prospect being called up to the majors??

  • Why are people still asking for trophies? Sony said it was mandatory in 09.

  • WOW LOOKS AMAZING, this might just be my first sports games in like 5 years lol

  • Villa as in Villanueva?

  • so are all the mscots in the game? of just like 20? I live in TOronto so is the jays mascot in the game?

  • this is getting insane, you guys have sooo much to report on this game and i keep getting more and more pumped for it! hats off to you guys. i wish KZ2 had as many posts as you guys do on here. btw loved the demo.


  • You have no idea of how much I’m looking forward to this game. Your additions are almost everything I’ve wanted and this is to a game that made me use my college loan money to buy a PS3 for 07: The Show.

    Keep up the good work guys!

    Need a graphic designer to do some early testing for you? :P

  • Woohooo!!!!!!!! I can’t wait for this game this year. Its been a long cold winter in the northeast. GO REDSOX!!!!!!!

  • Can you guys fix Mr. Mets eyes. Those are not his eyes. And add some weight to his build. I sized him up at my wedding and this one in the game is malnourished. Overall, got this puppy on pre-order! well done!

  • fan-tastic!! hope the orioles new uniforms, and stadium upgrades are included!! a few pics would be nice as well!! GO O’s!!

  • well i’m going to miss out on a few of the additions of half my geams a year :p

    gotta love Wrigley :D

    So uhhh…how about releasing the game early ;) i don’t mind patches ya know

  • The one question I’d like to address (not sure if this has been answered), is in regards to the DEMO…

    When I play the ’09 DEMO, and I guess the right pitch/location why does it seem to slow down or almost lag for that matter? The ’08 version was very smooth while guessing the right pitch/location.

    Any help on this?

  • two things im planning to get the psp and ps3 Version my first question will the custom music be in the psp Version and do you plan to do any stuff with Home as in special rewards or anything like that?

    • Yes, the Sounds of the Show feature (aka custom music) will be on the PSP version for MLB 09 The Show.

      Home integration will be down the road.

  • Did Tommy Lasorda make the cut it as the Dodgers mascot?

  • I am curious if when we create our player in RTTS will we already have some attributes points spent like in ‘08 or will we be able to start at zero and spend the allotted points as we please? And will there be a cap again on the attributes points that we assign in the beginning?

    • We do start you with points already distributed and you have more to distribute yourself. They way the system is set up, your attributes trigger certain goals so that you don\’t see goofy stuff like a catcher with a 20 speed rating being asked to steal a base. So to keep the system intelligent and make sure that the user at home sees a balance of goals, we start the player with some attributes. Hope that makes sense.

  • Speaking of attention to details…

    I’ve noticed in previous versions of The Show that the main scoreboard had fake game scores, meaning the out-of-town games would be match-ups that didn’t exist (eg. TEX v. CWS during interleague or LAD @ SD posted on the ‘board when the Cards are visiting LAD).

    Can i look forward to scoreboard-watching during a pennant run?

    • When you play in a season, you will see actual scores from other games in your season. They are also time based so that if the game is an early start, you will see the update consistent to the time of your game. So if you play an east coast game (7pm EST) you will maybe see the first inning or so of the west coast games, before your game is over.

  • Hey guys, since we are focusing on realism, why not add rain in some games? I remember playing a season in World Series Baseball (Saturn, I believe) and sometimes games were delayed because rain. I think this will be a great addition to the MLB series. How cool would it be if I am pitching a game and all of the sudden it starts drizzling? Because of the said rain my pitcher’s control will lose his accuracy and walk more batters than usual. Also, more errors will occur. After a few innings the rain gets worse and the game gets postponed or delayed. Of course, the rain can stop after a few innings. I wouldn’t mind having rain for 5-10 games during a full season. Hey, even a light snow once in a while for northern stadiums in April. Just my two cents.

    • Hey Keysersoze.. it has been discussed. Personally I like the idea of in a season, forcing a double-header because of rain the previous day and what affects it has on your team\’s fatigue. It would make your job of managing your bullpen a little different for sure. I guarantee it will be discussed again this year.

  • WOW! This was a great blog guys…

    I was wondering if anyone could answer a few questions I have though…..

    There hasnt been alot of new information on online league play or online in general and I am hoping for a Ps Blog update on this.

    I know that there will be draft leagues and Flex schedling!!! which is awesome but I have a few questions

    Question 1: In the online leagues, will there be a waiting period like last year before we can start making leagues?

    Question 2: If I start a league and I have to drop someone, can I drop him and add a new player to fill his spot?

    Question 3: If I drop someone, will it take the league wins away from the standings so that we can add new members? They do this in some video games like NHL09. When you drop a guy, it takes away the wins and losses vs the dropped guy in the standings so that you can add another player.

    Question 4: Can I make more than one League?

    Question 5: Can I delete my league if it fails?

    Question 6: If there are going to be draft leagues, will there also be trades? If there is a draft, how will that work? Will it be like Madden?

    If anyone knows any of these answers feel free to tell me!

  • Nice. Cant wait to play MLB09 The Show. Going to preorder this week. And the game comes out a week be4 my bday. Cant wait to make my person in Road to the Show and make him the best Yankee player lol.

    ~ Shady ~ $*A ~

  • i have the demo… i was wondering if you were gonna make check swinging easier with the final game, because it is almost impossible to do especially in comparison to last year

  • This is incredible!!!! This week, I got tickets to a Yankees/Rangers game on June 4th, and the ultimate experience: A Yankees/ Red Sox game on August 6th. (My birthday). Both games have great seats just over the outfield walls. This game will give me a GREAT chance to see the game before I’m even there. This is incredible. THANK YOU SCEA!!!!!!!!!! I have always wondered “What would it be like to see this in a videogame?” and you’ve done it. Sony owes you ALL a TON of credit and recognition!!!!!!!

  • Do u guys have any plans to add actual wheather effects to the game, you know like rained out games in real life?

  • I think that you guys should be able to make games for any sport like an NFL game or NHL. Whatever sport because im sure you guys would make it look stunning.

    Damn you EA and your football games!

  • WoW this game looks great!

    But I see 2 things wrong with the Philly Phanatic.

    1. He is missing his Blue tail.
    2. He is missing the Phanatic name and the red star on the back of his jersey.

    3. The P is missing from is sneakers.

    If you can please try and add this to MLB 2010 The Show :)

    Also I hope to see Pitchers,Catchers and a bull pen coach in “realtime” in the bull pens in 2010.

    And also Ball Boys and Ball Girls sitting on chairs and chasing afer foul balls in 2010.

    And of course the catcher tossing his mask on pop ups and other plays that call for it.


    I am blown away by what is becoming of MLB THe Show on PS3!!!

  • Do you guys have any plans to add actual wheather effects to the game, you know like games getting rained out in real life?

  • Will any of these enhancements be appearing in the PSP version of the game? Or are PSP owners destined to be poor deprived stepchildren once again?

  • one more thing… you talked about the mascots in 20+ stadiums…. i was wondering if that included Junction Jack of the Houstons Astros at minute maid? thanks and please reply

  • LOL at the jumbotron dude/dudette. The graphics look photo realistic :O Nice job

  • Jdurg | February 10th, 2009 at 8:49 pm said:

    This is incredible!!!! This week, I got tickets to a Yankees/Rangers game on June 4th, and the ultimate experience: A Yankees/ Red Sox game on August 6th. (My birthday). Both games have great seats just over the outfield walls. This game will give me a GREAT chance to see the game before I’m even there. This is incredible. THANK YOU SCEA!!!!!!!!!! I have always wondered “What would it be like to see this in a videogame?” and you’ve done it. Sony owes you ALL a TON of credit and recognition!!!!!!!


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