Batter Up: MLB 12 The Show for PS3 and PS Vita

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Batter Up: MLB 12 The Show for PS3 and PS Vita

Despite my bulging pectorals, rippling six-pack abs, and chiseled physique, I’m honestly not much of an athlete. But I don’t need to be a sports expert to see the appeal behind MLB 12 The Show, the slavishly faithful baseball simulation that consistently ranks as the sport’s most respected gaming franchise. At a holiday showcase event in New York City last night, I took a few swings with an early build of MLB 12 The Show, including the PlayStation Move-enhanced PS3 edition and the all-new PS Vita iteration.

The game’s community manager, Ramone Russell, described how the San Diego team began development with a gruelingly in-depth focus test. The goal: to suss out what core players didn’t like about last year’s edition. “The key feedback we heard involved our presentation and commentary, so that’s our number one focus this year.” Russell described a new feature called True Broadcast Presentation, which accurately recreates broadcast camera cuts and other presentation signatures you’d see in a televised MLB broadcast. “We’re trying to blur the lines between baseball simulation on your PS3 and what you’d see on MLB.TV sitting on your couch,” Russell explained. “When a batter strikes out, the camera will cut and you will see his face, his anger.”

MLB12TheShow_BlueJays14 (José Bautista)

Commentary, which Russell specifically described as the “number one complaint” from last year’s game, is seeing a similarly massive overhaul. “You’ll hear more season-specific commentary, more conversation pieces,” Russell explained. “The commentators are going to talk about the MVP race, the Cy Young race, the series that you played in two days before. They’re going to talk about how your pitcher is having an awful year because he’s 5 and 15.”

Expansive PlayStation Move support is another key upgrade this year, being tightly integrated into almost every facet of the game, from batting to pitching to fielding to baserunning. Then there’s the hotly anticipated PS Vita version, which will mirror virtually every game feature, mode, and mechanic from the PS3 version and displays graphics that sparkle on the system’s 5’’ OLED screen. You’ll also be able to share your PS3 save files to the cloud, then pull them down on PS Vita and pick up your progress seamlessly.

I sat down with Russell to dig into the all the new details. If you’ve got further questions, let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to get you answers.

MLB12TheShow_Padres3 (Chase Headley)

PlayStation.Blog: What’s your personal favorite addition this year?
Ramone Russell, Community Manager: I think it’s our new ball physics. Our programmer ripped out every line of last year’s code and completely re-invented the way the ball acts. It’s a nerd feature, but it adds so much to the game. The baseball gains and loses energy like a real baseball, and if you go into replay, you can count the rotations – that ball is going to spin the way it’s supposed to. This opens up the game because we have bloopers, ricochets off the bases, balls going into no man’s land…it’s much more dynamic and engaging.

PSB: Let’s talk turkey on PlayStation Move. It’s not just for batting, right?
RR: Last year was just Home Run Derby mode, but this year it’s used for batting, pitching, fielding, and base running. There is a learning curve to all of this, but we wanted to make it more fun than just flicking your Move at the screen over and over. That would get boring!

Batting’s much better. Last year, you just saw a floating bat, which created a disconnect. This year, you see the full batter on screen and he’ll move his bat around as you move your bat around. Pitching is really simple: you grab the Move, draw it back, and “throw” it like a real baseball. For fielding, you’ll actually catch the ball when you’re playing with Move, then flick it over to throw it to first base, flick it up for second base, or down for home plate. When you’re running bases, you’ll play as the base runner coach. To signal to your runner to advance, you swirl the Move clockwise; to stop him, you hold the Move straight up. We wanted to be creative with the motion control support, so we hope people like it.

MLB12TheShow_Orioles7 (Adam Jones)

PSB: What was the overall goal for the PS Vita version of MLB 12 The Show?
RR: We started out with a prototype phase. We had to decide on what kind of experience we wanted to give PS Vita players – it’s a handheld, so the play sessions are usually quicker. We thought about doing something totally different, maybe an arcade version of baseball. But we ultimately thought it made the most sense to recreate the entire PS3 experience on PS Vita. The Vita’s powerful enough to do that. So every single feature this year, from MLB 09, 10, 11, and 12 are all in the PS Vita version.

We’re also taking advantage of the unique hardware. You can use the front touch to navigate menus or select pitches, and you can use the back touchscreen for fielding and pick-offs.

Have you designed any special modes for PS Vita to accommodate those quicker play sessions?
Yep, that was important because research shows that handheld players play for 15 to 30 minutes, tops. We give you the ability to fast-play through a game by cutting out a lot of the presentation, the camera cuts, to shorten the length of games.

Will PS3 and PS Vita players be able to compete with each other online?
Not this year. It’s something that’s on our radar and we’ll investigate for next year.

MLB12TheShow_Orioles6 (Mark Reynolds)

Will the PS Vita version include multiplayer at all?
In some way, shape or form, yes. We’re still in the works on that.

What’s the release timeframe for the PS Vita version?
It’ll be release in a similar timeframe as the PS3 version. We haven’t nailed down the exact timing yet for either game, but you can expect it around the same timeframe as the PS3 version this spring.

Graphically, how would you say the PS Vita version stacks up to the PS3 game?
When you see it, I think you’ll be surprised. Vita’s a powerhouse. We have it locked at 30 frames per second, and the visuals are very comparable to the PS3 version. That’s something we just couldn’t accomplish on PSP.

You’ve been suspiciously quiet about multiplayer modes so far – you’re probably still ironing out the details, but can you give PlayStation.Blog readers a sneak peek of what’s in store?
For PS3, we have a brand-new mode that is really, really innovative. Nobody has ever done a multiplayer mode like this in any sports game, ever. We’re going to reveal it in early 2012. So in addition to the other features I told you about, there’s still this secret feature that we’ll be talking about soon. We think people are going to love it.

“This economy’s been down for the last few years, and it’s hard to ask somebody to spend $60 every year,” Russell concluded. “But we never want anybody to have to think twice about that, we want it to be a no-brainer. There’s so much content here that you’ll never want to touch MLB 11 The Show ever again.”

Comments are closed.


5 Author Replies

  • Will I ever be able to carry my road to the show player over year to year releases? I’m tired of starting new ones every time i buy the new version.

    • Great question — didn’t hear anything about Road to the Show (and silly me, I didn’t ask) but I’ll try and get some answers outta Ramone.

  • “When a batter strikes out, the camera will cut and you will see his face, his anger.”

    This is something I’ve wanted from games for a long time. Not just baseball games, but any game that goes for realism. In real life, people’s faces convey so much with so little, but in so many current-gen games, the human face doesn’t do much besides cover the inside skeletal structure. People’s faces are moving constantly, whether they’re sitting around watching TV or driving around on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Games need to catch up to that fact.

  • I skipped out on 11 because I didn’t feel need to buy 11, but it doesn’t sound like Motorstorm RC where whatever version you buy you get the opposite version of that. that’s a shame.

    • I did ask about that, and Ramone said that the decision is still being discussed, so anything could happen. Let’s hang tight and see where the chips fall

  • Yes! I am stoked on the go back and forth with the Vita and PS3 versions. RTTS will be awesome with that. When can we see some Vita screens? Want to see now.

  • I hope a version is released that includes PS3 and Vita versions. I would be willing to pay a reasonable premium for this option.

  • you know what would be cool? not having to buy the game again to play it on the go on Vita. What if they create some kind of VITA PASS that works with a special code you get with a new copy of the PS3 version, and once you activate that pass you can download the full game for Vita and that’s it? say you charge $20 for that kind of pass? I think lots of people would dig in, and maybe make this feature seriously worthwhile many more developers would be enticed to make more VITA-PS3 transferable games.

  • I think more people would look seriously into buying a Vita that way, and mean people who never buy portables. And you know, one thing leads to another, then they may want to buy many of those expensive vita memory cards to store their Vita digital games. Think about Sony, what’s to lose?

    • Great ideas. They are still working on all the details regarding pricing and such, so no decisions have currently been made

  • This is what I’ve been waiting for. If everything holds up and it works I will get a Move for this game. I really want to be able to have a super realistic baseball experience where I’m actually doing everything, and I think finally this is it. I have been hoping for this on the Blog over this year, and am pumped.

    • I took a couple of swings with Move and it was pretty cool. You have to swing a touch earlier than you probably would in real life, but it worked nicely.

  • Will buy the Vita version.

  • Sid,
    will this include new and more varied stat overlays?
    i can finally put 10 to bed!

  • I’m really happy that you guys worked Move fully into the game and it sounds like you only need one controller to play which is also very cool. I haven’t bought Sony’s MLB game ever but I really like a good sports game for Move and if this one works as good as Tiger 12 or Sports Champions then put me down for a copy. Looking forward to the multiplayer reveal also.


  • True Broadcast Presentation?

    Does this mean we finally get lots of flashy Stat Overlays though out the game? Like for example will be finally get a pop up Stat Overlay when a player hits a Home Run Like this “(Ryan Howard) 2 Run Home Run 24 This Season” And will we get the batter stats example “0 for 3, 2 for 4, 3 for 3” under the photos on the batter due up overlay between innings?

    True Broadcast Presentations should have this and lots more!

  • Also I am so happy to hear about the brand new ball physics. If the new ball physics are as good you make it sound it will make MLB 12 The Show feel so different in a good way!! :)

    Man I can’t wait to here more and more info on MLB 12 The Show!

    I have a very big wish list but 3 very important things on my wish list were Brand new TV Style Broadcast Presentation, New Ball Physics and of course like everyone else an overhaul of the Commentary.

    And by the sound of it my wishes just may have come true!! :)

  • Its there a Playoff Mode this year?

    And was the Playoff Presentation and crown Atmosphere improved?

  • Pease San Diego Team,bring back Rex Hudler as a color commentator because Eric Karros was horrible and added no personality to the game.

    We liked hearing Rex’s snide and sarcastic comments…

  • Thanks for the information you have given us about MLB 12: The Show. I was wondering if they added a more extensive amount of statistics and tracking of League Leaders and Weekly Player Award winners. Did they also improve the Post-game Box Scores and fix the Runners-In-Scoring-Position glitch they have in their Simulation Engine where the teams have Batting Averages that are about .020 too low, the overall team RISP Batting Average. They have only had a few stats on a player card in the past, so I hope they finally added this, because it is loooong overdue. This is the only PS-3 game I own and I love Baseball even more because of this game. :)

  • The new “True Broadcast Presentation” feature sounds great, and I think I’m just about sold on getting a PS Vita for MLB 12.

    All in all, it looks like the best baseball game (and the best sports game period) just got better.

  • All sounds pretty cool, but I never really considered the commentary broken, just stale. I didnt think the ball physics were that bad, but the new physics sound great. I’m more concerned with the free agent issues that have not been fixed since 2009. Any news on that? How about the trade logic? That stuff was definately busted. Heres hoping the “so much content” remark means they updated francise.

  • I know a main complaint of the last few MLB the Show games has been defensive control. Way too much “canned” animation and lack of overall control over your fielders. I hope that is part of the redoing of the ball physics that Russell talked about.

  • I would like an occasional rain delay and can you find a way to put Albert Pujols on the cover? I also wouldn’t mind an option to carry my created player on the go with with me and loading them back up in the big game.

  • Any idea whether ERA and WHIP will affect the commentators conversation on a pitchers season or not? For example.. Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers finished the season with a W-L record of 13-16 but his ERA was 3.07 and his WHIP was 1.213 showing that his season was actually really good despite his team not scoring runs for him. I’m sure the game will be great regardless though! I’m really excited for all of the new changes to the series and look forward to it above any game like I do every year.

  • Day 1 buy for me, The show is hands down the best sports franchise this gen, great depth and attention to detail, puts games like madden to shame, and move support, grand for a change of pace. keep up the good work guys.

  • Nice “the last of us” screenshot in the background XD

  • Can’t wait . Always a day 1 buy I’d prefer to get one of the devs here to answer questions instead of Sid Shuman though . He’s never asks the right questions .

  • There is only really one glaring thing that annoys me to death and I can’t believe more people don’t have this complaint. Sliding and Tagging. For the past 3 years or so they have done nothing to update the types of slides and the types of tags. Its basically two animations and you can tell if your gonna be called safe or out before it happens. In a game where every run counts they should really make this part more indepth. The plays at the plate are horrible to me. They baserunner needs to be aware of the ball and make any attempt to aviod the tag at home where as the catcher needs to block the plate and such. This game would get a 11 out of 10 if they could fix this little problem. There has to be a lot of people that agree with this. Please Please Please fix the slides and tags on this game it would make it so so so much better.

  • this is the most important purchase i am going to make in all of 2012. i love everything i’ve heard from this interview, I loved the first news that came out from this game showing the gloves closing. It was clear that a likely, and apparently so according to this interview, complete overhaul in this game was done to address physics. I love that this has happened and i equally love the presentation work that is being done. It will drastically help with the fluidity of the game. The two of my highest priority questions i hope can be asked is

    1) The glaring issue of retractable roofs in stadiums, I would love and I’m feigning over a full functionality of the roofs for these stadiums. Including the ability to close/open roofs midgame.

    2) What additional functions will weather have on the games, especially for our seasons. Will we see double headers, cancellations, etc. Nothing needs to be overdone, but the ability for these things to happen need to exist. Or a more simple question, has anything been done to the weather system differently from MLB 11, a weather 2.0 perhaps?

  • yea, barracuda, i hope that rehauling of the physics system will include contact and collision improvements on the basepaths and a accurate representation of tagging and baserunning

  • Any word on signature swings and stances??

  • cool i hope i have that game for ps vita :)

  • hoping for a combo release that includes both the PS3 and Vita versions for a nice discount (and preferably a digital copy for Vita not physical)

  • The most frustrating thing about MLB11 was the lag or delay in offline mode when your up to bat the game sometimes when the pitcher is winding up the game would lag for a split second so it would throw you off when trying to use the right analog stick to swing… So I hope they fixed that cause I buy it everyyear and am excited to see what they do next GO JAYS GO

  • Looking forward to MLB 12 The Show coming March 2012. One request I do have for the game is for my cleveland indians and their park progressive field in cleveland ohio to have the correct championship banners on the upper deck in right field they are not in left field anymore please fix that for the game and also please add the batter’s eye bar that’s in right center field near the tribe’s bullpen. Thanks SCEA and keep up the good work on the MLB The Show series.

  • my sons and i just want to play season mode, TOGETHER… either on the same team or separate teams… PLEASE tell me this is included in this year’s version. it’s the ONLY thing missing from previous installments, and we’ve bought every one… and will continue to, regardless… BUT, that would be the icing on the cake!

  • Wondering if any of these will apply to the game, if not then here are a few suggestions!

    1 – Create-a-player realism; the faces do NOT have the same level of realism as the real player models. Will there be a fix to at least make the features (eyes, eyebrows, mouth, facial hair, etc…) blend better and create a more realistic looking face? Also more variation of create-a-player face models would be nice, and add a bit more of a realistic touch to the overall feel of the game. More options when choosing batting stances; follow through added to the stance.
    ALSO, more customization; hat angle, curve, glasses flipped up, down, necklaces (phitens, chains, etc), different sized jerseys (CC’s massive, baggy jersey), jersey buttons (all done up, one undone, two undone)… little things like that to add to a certain players flair.

    2 – RTTS; can we continue our previous road to the show careers? Picking up where we leave off with a save game from years past would be a great feature to have, and save many of the users a lot of time. Plus the concept of the player evolving with the game would be cool, and a great selling point too. (you hear me SCEA? :P)

  • 3 – Retractable roofs; more options for teams that have stadiums with retractable roofs. Open, closed, closing in rain, opening halfway through a game… etc.

    4 – Manager arguments, brawls, ejections; something with some sort of an option that we can toggle while the play is happening, similar to MVP Baseball 2005; just something that will provide the user with some quick stress relief! :p

    5 – More fluidity in the player models; pitchers, batters, fielders; there should be a bit more of the jerseys flapping in the wind, or moving when the players swing. I find a lot of the animations are still a bit too robotic, and something to correct this would be going the extra mile to add more realism.

    6 – Custom celebrations; strikeout fist pumps, pimping your shot, touching the plate, recording a base-hit, closing out a game… again, little things to add to the flair of a player.

    If any/all of these can be put into the game, or are already in the game; that’s fantastic!

    Looking forward to the finished product.

  • What about more classic parks? Everyone LOVED the classic parks in MLB The Show 10, than they did not do any updates classic parks for MLB The Show 11. Come on guys, that’s what separates you from the rest

  • Another [DELETED] Suxs player on the cover? Are you freakin kidding me? Bad enough had to go through 2 years of Mauer but now a 3rd [DELETED] Suxs? Fat Sloppi 06, Pedrophile in 09 and now Gonzo.. So thats 3 Red Suxs, 1 Muts, 1 Philthy, and 2 Twinkies same player…Yet Granderson of the Yankees had better season. [DELETED] that bum Verlander got rigged voting and won the MVP would of been more deserving. But a player on a joke of a team that was the biggest choke artists in history? RETARDED

  • The Show hasn’t changed since the reboot with The Show 2006. Part of this reason is Baseball video games are limited compared to other sports games. I bought both 09 and 10 for cheaper price but those and The Show 11 demo is the same thing. Dont care about move support or right stick controls.

    One of things I hate about 09/10 is the load times and the online games are way too laggy.

  • A few questions/suggestions;
    1.) Name Brand equipment or even just different styles of gloves (webbing type, dual colors etc) and catchers gear (tired of seeing everyone wear the same chest protector)? necklaces (phiten etc) Cleats? (nike, adidas, UA, etc… the cleats in the game look like Mizuno brand) differnt types of sunglasses (more realistic looking ones Oakley radars, flak jackets etc)
    Ability to open and close the roof in stadiums which allow so (Miller Park, Tropicana Field, etc.)
    Better World Series, ALCS/NLCS, division series, playoff clinching Celebrations. Sucks to a bland similar celebration after winning the WS
    Brawls, manager arguments which can lead to suspensions
    coach hiring and firing during the middle of a season
    All Star game players wear the uniform of their respective teams
    change the dates on the following seasons Opening day (season 2 should be Opening day 2013)
    Standings board in stadiums show actual standings (Fenway Park)
    Ring and banner ceremony the following season if you win the WS

    Glad to see changes in the commentary. looking forward to see what else is new, and to see if this game is worth getting on release day as of now you guys have me leaning towards yes

  • i would also like to see these features.
    1)a relocation option during franchise mode allowing you to move and change the team name or keep it the same and create new uniforms and stadium.
    2)a realignment option with all the talks about realignment in real life it would be fun to create your own.
    3)also for the franchise mode an expansion team mode would be cool. start as a new ball club (not replacing an existing team like other sports games) hire a coaching staff and put together a team of players with whats available on free agents and maybe players from other country’s (japan, mexico, etc.).
    4)players coming back as managers
    5)a change of color in the all-star uniforms from year to year depending on the hosting team, or the option of using classic all-star uniforms.
    6)user set goals for players in franchise mode, much like rtts mode, user could select from a few option ex: if you have drew stubbs on your team you can set his goal to have 60 stolen bases in a year. or you could even make them short term goals like 3 stolen bases for the upcoming series. this way if you simulate a few games during the season your players still work towards there goal.

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