MLB 12 The Show Hands On – Day 1

Day 1

I figure that I’ve been awake for 35 of the last 38 hours, from slogging-through my Packers tanking against the Giants, to restlessness in anticipation of making this journey, and finally making it to San Diego and beginning a week-long marathon of gaming and collaboration. But 34 hours is nothing when compared to what the development team for MLB 12 The Show are currently enduring. The team is in “crunch-mode” right now, attempting to crush as many bugs as possible, and make as many tweaks that time will allow. Many sleep at the office during this period, and those that don’t aren’t gone for long when they go home.

For the past few years, the group here at SCEA San Diego Studios has gone above and beyond in the pursuit to utilize the vast community that has built-up around the MLB The Show franchise. Instead of merely conversing via the official forums or communities like Operation Sports, they take an extra step and actually invite a chosen few members of the community over at Operation Sports to fly-in for a week, pound on every aspect of the game, and work directly with the development team on aspects of the game of Baseball that only the most die-hard fans would recognize. Oh yeah, I got invited too (I have no idea why, and this is my 2nd year.)

Everyone invited specializes in a specific area of the game, from Road to the Show, Uniforms and Stadiums, to Franchise management and new this year, the PlayStation Vita version. I myself am a Road to the Show junkie, but I also help with Uniforms and Stadiums amongst other aspects. After leaving for the airport at 3 a.m., flying about 5 hours, and gaining 2 hours in time zone changes, we all met-up at the San Diego airport. We quickly rented a shuttle, got to our hotel, took 15 minutes to drop our stuff in our respective rooms, then met back up to take the quick walk across the street to the studio.

It took about 10 minutes to sign paperwork and get our bearings, then the latest development build of MLB 12 The Show for PS3 was ready to go on a series of stations setup in a conference room. My first stop was Miller Park, as it always is. Within an hour, we were working directly with the artists on a couple of flaws that we found, including a fence that didn’t belong in front of the scoreboard, and the fact that the Strikeout K’s were still missing from the font of the Dew Deck in Right Field. I have over 600 reference photos on my laptop, so I copied those to a thumb drive for them, which allowed them to attempt to correct the flaws. This year, we’re here a bit later than past years, so the opportunity to make thees kind of changes is rare, and honestly, I still don’t know if they’ll make the game when it hits or not.

Today, many of us used the time to simply dig-in to the game and experience the new features and changes. Visually, it’s pretty similar, but the list of fixes, changes, redesigns, and other features is pages long. One of the first changes we noticed right away is the all new physics engine applied to the Baseball. The old system was completely ripped-out and replaced with an all-new system, and the change is immediately noticeable. The ball reacts to everything in the environment as it actually should. When you see the ball jump off of the bat, the path and trajectory that the ball takes feels incredibly natural. I actually hope to talk to the brains behind this new engine, and obviously, if I do I’ll post anything I find out. For now, let’s just say, if you’ve ever actually played the game of Baseball, you know, on a field and stuff, that the Baseball in MLB 12 The Show actually reacts to everything like it did when you were playing. It’s damned impressive and really impacts the game and how you play it. Hits don’t seem “formulaic” or “canned” as in years past, and even on this first “half-day” that consisted of about 10 hours, we’ve already heard many instances when someone yells “did you just see that?!?!” Of course, there are many more changes and fixes, and trust me, I’ll cover as much as I can (there’s so much, and also, some things I still am not allowed to talk about.)

By the way, yes, I have also played the Vita version quite a bit already. I will definitely dedicate quite a bit of space to it later this week, but rest assured that it’s fantastic. Pitching with the Broadcast camera can be kinda bad when using Pulse Pitching (another item I’ll speak to later this week,) but the Vita version is truly spectacular. I just can’t wait to be able to take my RTTS actually ON the road. We’re actually testing moving the save games between the PS3 and Vita tomorrow, so I’ll report on that as well.

I sincerely applaud the efforts of this team. There is a true passion here, and it’s infectious. The community members that attend this event are true fans, and are incredibly passionate about helping the developers as much as possible. Also, and I know this is hard to believe, but we actually have some fun n the process as well. Keep your eyes here for more reports.

Time to head back to the hotel for about 5 hours of sleep, then another 16+ hours tomorrow! I love it!

ps No videos yet, they asked that we wait until we get a more stable build. I’ll get video posted as soon as I can though.

Written by Glenn Percival

Glenn Percival

Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

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