After two less then stellar entries, MLB Advanced Media has announced that R.B.I. Baseball will once again be gracing current-gen consoles and PC/Steam later this year. Following in the footsteps of fellow young sensation Anthony Rizzo, Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts has been pegged as the cover athlete for R.B.I. Baseball 16.
In their continuing quest to accurately represent the sport, MLBAM is introducing several new features to the franchise for this year’s iteration. Chief among them is the redeveloped defense system, which will now allow players to jump, dive and fake throw in order to record outs. The studio is aiming for gamers to be able to “make the play,” much like how Mr. Betts has been able to in his young career.
In addition to the newly implemented defensive controls, R.B.I. Baseball 16 will also feature refinements to its core hitting, pitching and base running systems. Improvements to pitching and running will call upon real-life player stats, as pitching speeds will vary depending on each pitcher and base running will factor in stats taken from the past MLB season. Meanwhile, the reworked batting engine will do a better job of factoring in both timing and pitch location.
In non-gameplay improvements, MLBAM has revealed that all 30 MLB ballparks have feature improved lighting and features depending on where they are located. The ballparks will also strive to look more like their real-life counterparts, which has certainly been lacking since the franchise returned two years ago.
As a fan of America’s pastime (Go Yankees!), I desperately want the R.B.I. Baseball franchise to return to prominence. Not only because Xbox/PC owners have been screwed over when it comes to the sport in recent years, but also because a better product would drive the current king of the sport, MLB: The Show, to improve. However, despite the fact that last year was an improvement, this series still has some way to go before it can challenge the best.
Although currently without a firm release date, expect R.B.I. Baseball 16 to launch around the start of the next baseball season.