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

  • Err… I meant to say mascot ;)

  • if this game was a hot girl i would date it.

  • Wow This Game Is Gonna Be Game Of The Year 4 Me Ciz U Only Play Baseball Game N This Game Has Everything Now Accurate Batting N Pitching Stances N The New Field Improvements N Add Your Own Music N The New Road To The Show Modes N Franchise How Can You Possibly Make The Show 2010 Better Cant Wait For The Release Very Excited !!!!!!!

  • I have a question about lighting. Will the shadows move across the field during day games? All I have ever heard is about the sun setting during night games.

    • Yes! The sun will move causing the shadows to move throughout the game. So you will see those instances where you may have an inning or two where the pitcher it throwing out of the shade into the light, and later, everything will be in the shade. A very realistic element that you see in real games. One of \”the little things\”.

    • Monkeymark.. I just realized I glossed over a very important part of your question. What you asked was about DAY games. The things I am talking about were night games. The day games do not have the same effects working but it is a high priority for next year.

      So basically, what I am saying about the first post is that I totally lied.

  • Another great post that’s getting me excited for baseball season.

    I have a stadium question – will we see working retractable roof stadiums? In Seattle in April, quite often you’ll see the roof extended over Safeco Field due to the rain or cold weather outside.


  • Junction Jack AND the train moves at Minute Maid Park — awesome!

    You guys keep raising the bar for sports simulations! It is refreshing to see a development team that does not rest on their laurels. Thank you!

    One question: will the ballpark signage be authentic (e.g. Dr. Pepper on Minute Maid left field wall) or some ficticious brand? How is it determined whether or not you use actual brand names, is there compensation involved?

    It always bothers me that in NBA ’09 the Houston Rockets play at “The Arena” instead of Toyota Center.

  • But is it REALLY true to life? I think not! Where’s that jerk that always seems to choose the seat right next to you and yell profanity throughout the entire game seemingly just to annoy YOU? How about that really fat guy that really shouldn’t have his shirt off but does anyway because he too seems to have only one purpose in life: aggravate the living bejesus out of you? I say nay! XD XD XD

    Anyway, I think I’ve figured out what bothers me so much about the crowd. It’s not so much that they look bad so much as that they seem to be homogenous in color palate. There always seems to be three or so dominant colors and very little beyond that.

    Looking very good guys. Here’s to another Sports Game of the Year award. :)

  • You all never cease to amaze me with these games. Every year you make this game even better and better, never once making me doubt about putting down another $60 for this game. I wish other companies of other sports titles would have half the dedication that you all have. When you say you are listening to your fans, you REALLY mean you are listening to your fans. Truly astounding.

    I can’t wait to see the D’back wildcat’s (or Bobcat, not sure. Then again, I never understand what a cat had to do with a Diamondback in the first place) crazy antics in a couple of weeks. I hope that when/if we are going to sweep a series, he is up on the dugout with a broom, sweeping away.

    If any of you are down in Phoenix for a game, let me know, I’ll buy you a beer. Great job.

  • hey,, i posted a comment last week on another blog post about a control scheme using the right analog stick (like NHL 09) motions and i was given a ‘patience patience’ response.

    Whats the word on this?

    This game looks incredible, day one buy!

  • the demo was GREAT! best baseball game in a long time from what I could play.
    Too bad a few days later my PS3 gave me the yellow light of death and now I can’t play anything.
    and since SONY wants to make more money rather than fix their faulty PoS3’s it’ll be a while since I play anything let alone be able to buy any more games.

  • Looking great. Can’t wait to play a game at Citi Field.

    Mr. Met looks a little thin..

  • I have been SO horrible in the demo but man I cant wait to play this game. I’m excited for fredbird and all of the other amazing Cardinals details you guys put in here. Real treat for any baseball fan.

  • I guess this is the only place in MLB where “Performance Enhancements” are welcome..glad to see these Performance Enhancements in this game! Can’t Wait!

  • That is amazing.

    And also amazingly compelling. This is going to be my first baseball game purchase. I was able to go to the old Yankees stadium, and this is making me want to go back and check out the new one.


  • when it says you guys put in 150 new batting stances..does that include the ones that you fixed that were already in mlb 08 or is it 150 new stances for players who did not have them in 08?

  • Clearly the best baseball game around.

    Hats off the to SCEA guys.


  • Im Sold!!!

  • Is Fredbird in the game?

  • @33

    The demo is a 3 month old build. Final will not do this. The ’08 demo did the same. Devs on said the final game is as silky smooth as ever.


    They fixed current notable players that needed it, as well as add to others that were generic.

  • Will there be fireworks after homeruns at the ballparks that do that.If not,maybe next year?Thanks,can’t wait for the game.I buy it every year.

  • Game looks awesome! I am literally counting down the days until release!

    Quick question if you have the time:

    For stadium attendance- will the attendance in the crowd reflect the teams record? For example, if the Marlins and their low home attendance start the season great (lets say 55-30 or something ridiculous) will the visible attendance increase?

    Or if another team with great attendance (such as the Red Sox) have a terrible year will we see fewer people in the stands?

    • Yes, if you are in a season, then attendance is performance based. Some teams like the Red Sox sell out their home games no matter what. Look for crowds leaving early in blowouts as well.


    My cousin and I (and i’m sure everyone else) really appreciate the extra long mile you guys have gone to ensure we have the most authentic and realistic baseball game to date!

    I cannot wait ’til March 3rd… another awesome PS3 (PS family) exclusive!!

  • Thank you for all of the great and informative updates! This game is headed for Cooperstown!

    Out of curiosity, can you please provide a list of the mascots in the game? I’m sure others, along with myself would love to see which mascots are in, specifically Lou Seal from the Giants. If the Friar is in, Lou Seal has to be there!

    Thank you for getting us pumped for baseball!

    • I\’ll have to check, but I know all that were licensed by the MLB got in the game.

    • MLB 09 The Show has 24 mascots that are MLB licensed and approved. What this means is that 24 teams have mascots present for games at their home stadiums (one per home stadium). I\’m sorry to say that your beloved Giants mascot is not in the game.

  • Will you make HR Derby available as downloadable content? Maybe some old stadiums and legends of the game? Negro League teams? It would be quite awesome to play with Josh Gibson, Ty Cobb, Ricky Henderson, Satchell Paige, or Jose Canseco or many others at The Polo Grounds, or The Kingdom, or at a number of historic locales. I do appreciate your guys’ work and the present day of baseball, but I also want the history, it’s part of what makes Baseball so special. How people stack up against time. My unheard chant that I will continue to sing when I buy the new game is, “HR Derby…HR Derby…HR Derby…”

  • game looks better and better with each blog update.

  • I’ve never played a Baseball game before and I know very little about the sport in general but after playing the demo I will be buying this game and learn everything the hard way.

    Is the training mode deep enough to teach me everything?

  • As a White Sox fan I must ask if the crowd @ U.S Cellular field would also be running onto the field to beat up coaches in the game for realism? Can we at least beat up Southpaw( possibly the lamest mascot ever)?
    Also, please confirm, that Ronnie Woo-Woo ain’t in the game! I get enough of that guy on my way to campus

  • Looks like it got a lot better than last year.
    Just one question. In the stands, are the fans or fan the same. What I mean is, last year I notice the same fan in one seat and the same one in a couple of rolls down or across and their doing the same thing weather it’s jumping or clapping.

  • The shaders/lighting for ’09 are fabulous.

    But when it comes to ‘little details,’ I’m still surprised to see intersecting player models during steal attempts – sliding players routinely merge with the tagging infielder.

    As far as an earlier poster asking about rain delay and rain out … IMHO, that’s where realism is going to run into entertainment value – the last thing I want when playing a good baseball sim is to sit around waiting for the game to run through a cutscene of the tarp being rolled out and a few witty remarks from the play-by-play team.

    I’d much rather see a double-header or twilight series.

    Playability is getting good marks – I generally don’t run a pitcher in RTTS, but after a couple tries at the demo, I had Cole Hamels throwing a shut-out for eight innings, with 10 K’s. (Admittedly, it took me a whopping 140 pitches to pull it off, but still …)

  • Looks good. Will the roof at Minute Maid be able to open or close? Kind of a minor annoyance that the roof was always open in previous games.

    • That is something we would like to add for 2010, and the lighting/shadows effect as well with roof closing vs. open.

  • For anyone asking about check swinging. The “contact” slider improves this (it’s in the description). It works on the demo as well, just move the “contact” slider a click to the right and you will see more check swings.

  • I love the series, and yes it is nice to have all the small additions, butt he one that I have been waiting for is the CURTAIN CALLS, that should have been the first thing put in if you want to bring the realism home. There is just something wrong with Roy Halladay going 8 innings, striking out 7 yankees, and allowing 1 run and throwing 110 pitches, just to have him all of a sudden dissappear with no walk off the mound, ovation nothing. Or when the team is struggling and someone may have a multi hit/homer game. PLEASE PUT IN CURTAIN CALLS!! Important player contributions need to be recognized before a silly mascot gets introduced. It will never really be real until what the players accompplish on the field get recognized properly. Also, I am hoping more stat overlays pop up in game, like how your teams BA is stacked up to the rest of the division and so on.

    I am sorry to sound negative, the game is still awesome, but these are simple but valuable additions.

  • Has the Fenway Park LF manual scoreboard glitch been fixed?

    Last year the inning-by-inning scoreboard showed the tens column instead of the ones.

    So you’d get, for example.

    NY 000 000 000 – 7
    BOS 000 000 100 – 13

    When it should have been

    NY 102 300 100 – 7
    BOS 100 020 (10)00 – 13

  • I really enjoyed the demo and can’t wait to play the retail version of this game cus I need to read the instruction manual.

  • Looks awesome!

  • played the demo and enjoyed it but with so many other games in my library im afraid this one will get lost. I may just give it a rent.

    BUT this game does have amazing visuals and plays perfect, good job guys.

  • I think this is the first game I’m buying since Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League Baseball.

  • Based on what I’ve seen so far, the game looks outstanding from a graphics standpoint. How accurately have you guys been able to capture the ’09 MLB uniforms? I’m assuming you’ve included the new Orioles, Pirates, Red Sox, and Rangers jerseys, but how about the little details and things that have been recently unveiled?

    Do the Royals jerseys include their new commemorative patch? Will the Rangers have their hideous new helmets? Do the Red Sox road jerseys have the “Hanging Sox” sleeve patch, and will Varitek have the captain’s “C” patch?

  • Wow, you guys are doing so many amazing things with this game this year, makes me wonder what you could possibly do for MLB 2010!

  • I want to play this NOWWWWWWWWW

    In other news, shouldn’t, ,“Hey what game are you watching on TV.” end in a ?

  • Please please release this in the UK

  • Great job guys! This game gets so much better each year.

    I was just wondering with the detail you’ve added with regards to the weather and clothing with the crowd, will the roof at Rogers Centre in Toronto open and close with the weather?

    Keep up the amazing work. I’m so pumped for this game.

  • This game looks awesome!!! Can’t wait to play!! I wish we still had a team in Montreal, but het i still love the sport!!! Great work guys!!

  • Another amazing product keep up the good work!
    One quick question though. Are there going to be rain outs this year, or any type of variable weather besides those mentioned in the post?

  • What ever happened to Home Run Derby? I would love to see it back again. I am sure you realize it has not been on any of the PS3 MLB games. Maybe you could add it as DLC.

  • the demo is fabulous :) Can’t wait to see a trophy list though.

  • Very excited.

    The most disappointing presentation decision for me is focusing on the batter as the ball sails (or lines or towers) out of the park.

    This is a fundamental contradiction to the attention people pay during the most dramatic, signature element of the game. People follow the *ball* to see the resolution, see the majesty – they do not stare at the player to see his expression, bat flip, etc. The announcers on TV describe the flight of the home run (or long out, or foul ball), and the animation must do this too.

    It’s very frustrating and unnatural. Go to the player view on a replay, but give us the visual experience of anticipation (or dread) we have at the park.

    • That is a good point and one we will have to take into consideration next year, Thanks.

    • We have added many new TV style cameras that follow the ball as you describe. Using them in real time as well as replay is very high on my priority list for next year. Thanks for the input.

  • How about the catcher removing his mask! why isnt this in the game yet…

  • Speaking of attention to detail i was playing in the world series in the show 08 and noticed there is world series logo anywhere on the field or the stadium as well as during the all-star game, will it be in this year?

  • One more question, for At&t park will th splash hits scoreboard actually move 1 up when a HR is hit into the water???

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