It’s been two years since MLB Advanced Media announced the return of the classic RBI Baseball franchise to a new generation of fans.
Though the first one had mixed reviews, the development team was determined to continue to build a solid arcade experience for fans to easily pick up and play. With RBI Baseball 16, the team believes that, in its third installment since returning, the game has grown into a title that fans will flock towards and continuously play throughout the year.
“I think has been really strong,” Jamie Leece, the head of gaming for MLBAM, said. “When we first brought this franchise back, and brought this type of gameplay back, we had in our minds the type of product we felt the market was missing; the type of product we wanted to make.”
That type of product is all about fun. It’s a word that Leece used countless times when describing what RBI Baseball was all about. After all, no one is going to play a game if it isn’t fun. With RBI Baseball 16, MLBAM feels that the baseball experience is much more well-rounded than either of the first two installments. It’s something that has developers hopeful about the fans’ enjoyment.
“I think the baseball experience itself that we packaged and polished in RBI Baseball 16 is just so fun and addictive,” Leece said. “Having 20-minute gameplay experiences allows you to have the ‘just one more’ mentality. When you have a gameplay session that’s too long, it’s very hard for people to commit to more than one of those just because of time sensitivity.
“The fun, fast gameplay that we have allows that ‘I need just one more game’ feeling. I think that’s what will get people to come back for more.”
The game features a season mode that spans multiple years, online and couch multiplayer as well as the ability to manage your 40-man roster in ways you see fit. That being said, there isn’t the option of free agency or trades during season mode, though that is something being looked at for future installments of the game.
As far as gameplay goes, the MLBAM team added a few new features that will make the play on the field even better than before. Added to the field play are dives, wall catches and a even pump fakes. Because this is an arcade-style baseball game, fans shouldn’t expect the most realistic of plays. After all, that’s what RBI Baseball 16 is all about.
“With the improvements that we made, I wouldn’t say that it’s added a sim-like feel to the game,” Leece said. “What we’ve done is provided more features that you’d want to experience in a baseball game without going into the sim category. The dives, leaps and the wall interactions, it adds more to the fun and accessibility of the product.”
And at the end of the day, RBI Baseball 16 is all about accessibility with controls that are easy to learn, and mechanics that are so simple that anyone — baseball fan or not — can easily pick up and become addicted to. RBI Baseball 16 wants to be an easy to pick up yet hard to put down experience for fans, and that’s what it appears to be.
RBI Baseball 16 launches digitally on Tuesday, March 29 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Physical retail versions of the game will be available starting April 5.
Campus Sports will have a full review of the game following its launch.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports