MLB 13: The Show is developed by SCE Studios San Diego , formerly 989 Studios published under the 989 Sports brand. SCE Studios San Diego have been the developer for The Show series since its inception with MLB 06: The Show. The Show series is presented as a simulation sports game. Some of the franchise's key modes are an RPG like career mode called Road To The Show, an online card based mode Diamond Dynasty and Franchise where players manage the front office and daily games of an MLB team.
Franchise mode hasn't received an entire overhaul, but many parts of the mode have been tweaked, removed and added to make the user experience better overall. The mode is said to focus more on player development to create a more realistic and dynamic league. One of the major changes to Franchise mode is that budgets will be solely based on team performance on the field instead of having the player also manage advertising, seating and ticket prices, etc. SCE Studios San Diego has said that multiple years worth of real-life data will be used to determine the overall team budget for each team. So theoretically the Pittsburgh Pirates would start in Franchise mode with a lower team budget than a team like the New York Yankees, who would have a very large team budget based on past data. The player could then take a team like the Pirates and gain an increased budget by sustaining an improved win-loss record.
Scouting has been given an update as well. Scouting will be a more involved part of Franchise mode in MLB 13: The Show as can be seen in the screenshot showing the new scouting menu.
Several other aspects of Franchise mode have been updated including player progression, regression, training, and retirement. Training can now be done on a per player basis instead of assigning per position as well as allowing the game's AI to automatically assign training.
Road To The Show
A lot of the effort for improvements to MLB 13: The Show's Road To The Show mode are in service of providing the player with a more immersive and realistic on-field experience. Audio has been revamped to provide the player with a greater sense of being on the field such as removing large parts of the commentary. A new fielding view has been added which gives a better view of the balls flight in the outfield. Baserunning controls were a major complaint in last year's game and have been simplified this year. Various other additions have also been implemented into the mode such as infielder's pick-off requests, new catcher option, new ball halo and trail and the removal of the "green light" system.
MLB 13: The Show includes a new difficulty labeled Beginner Mode. The mode was added due to past comments and criticism that has led many consumers to believe that The Show series is impenetrable to new players. Perhaps taking this criticism to heart SCE Studios San Diego announced that the new Beginner Mode is not just a new difficulty setting, but a way for new and old players to be introduced to the basics and nuances of The Show.
Players who choose to utilize the new mode play regular nine inning games, but are slowly introduced to more difficult situations and settings. For example, as a hitter, the player will only be thrown fastballs down the middle. As the player progresses through the mode, new pitches are introduced and eventually the pitcher will have their full repertoire of pitches and will throw pitches in and outside of the strike zone. Beginner mode will have both pitching and batting training.
Diamond Dynasty 2.0
Diamond Dynasty is a card based game mode similar to Fifa and Madden's offerings. Cards are used to generate players to fill out rosters, which players then use to compete online against other players in online matchmaking games.. Cards come in two forms. The first being MLB player cards who have ratings and appearances of the real life MLB players and second being generated player cards with varying skills, position and potential. Players can spend money, earned by playing games against AI or human opponents, to train these generated players. New to this years game are limits to the potential skills of the generated players, so they cannot be trained to a maxed out level as before.
The marketplace has been improved so users can post and cancel orders more easily as well as minimizing potential exploits. The Dynasty card type has also been improved by displaying more information about the player's abilities and potential. For example the pitcher cards now display whether a player is a relief or starting pitcher. In MLB 12: The Show the player did not know if the pitcher was a RP or SP until the card was activated. Each card also has a maximum threshold they can reach in each attribute. SCE Studios San Diego has also stated that "Many core systems have become more versatile to cope with the inherent volatility of multiplayer online play." Things such as a mercy rule have been added as well as giving credit to players for partial games played. These theoretically could diminish the affect disconnects and opponent quits have on players.
Post Season Mode and Playoff Atmosphere
During development of MLB 12: The Show, it was made known that the new playoff structure adopted by Major League baseball would not be included in the final version of the game which released in March 2012. This new structure involves the addition of one wild card team per league. The two wild card teams in each league would then play a one-game playoff which would decide who would move onto the National League and American League Divisional Series. The decision to add the new wild card team was announced relatively late in the offseason so the addition was not made to MLB 12: The Show.
For this years game MLB 13: The Show introduces a completely revamped Playoff Mode that not only adds the new playoff structure adopted by MLB in 2012, but provides a new stadium atmosphere and other additions to playoff games. In addition to the new playoff atmosphere differentiation between the presentation of all types of games has been added. For example, Opening Day will have a different feel than the All-Star Game or Postseason games through new cameras, OSDs, music and audio. SCE Studios San Diego has named the new overall presentation TruBroadcast Presentations 2.0.
Along with the new playoff structure and playoff atmosphere a new mode was also added that contained only the post-season portion of the MLB season. The Post Season mode will involve user picked teams who will contend for the World Series Championship. The mode offers users a way to experience the new playoff structure and atmosphere added to the game quickly.
Twitter in The Show
Twitter feeds approved by MLB will also appear in a variety of ways. A new panel on the player cards has been added that features the twitter feed for that player as well as a team feed that shows the approved twitter handles for players on that team
The Show Live
New in MLB 13: The Show is The Show Live, which utilizes real MLB game data to generate up to date lineups, pitching matchups for that days games. It also allows for past games to be played as well as viewing past box scores of games as well as future matchups.
Push/Pull Hitting Trajectories Engine
One of the larger additions to the hitting system in MLB 13: The Show is the introduction of the push/pull trajectories engine. The system utilizes real-world data provided by MLB.com to assign players as extreme pull, pull hitter, balanced, opposite field hitter, or an extreme opposite field hitter. Hitting select in game will present this information as a spray chart and which of the five types of hitter the player is assigned. Although the addition of push/pull trajectories will have both A.I. and human batters hitting more balls to their preferred field, very early and very late timing will not be affected. For example, if a player hits the swing button with a batter assigned to be an opposite field hitter very early, the batter will still pull the ball instead of hitting the ball to the opposite field. With good timing the batted ball will be biased towards the hitters preferred field.
The push/pull assignment to each hitter will not be editable by the player. For created and Road To The Show players a push/pull assignment will be given at random. Although this assignment is weighted so a large sample size should show a realistic distribution.
Other Gameplay Changes
SCE Studios San Diego's community manager Ramone Russell indicated that there will be changes to the core gameplay found in MLB 13: The Show. A major complaint of MLB 12: The Show was the altered ball physics, although many components of this change were lauded, the change to the physics also lead to a change in the outcome hitting contact. This added to the criticism of The Show being a difficult game for novices as it made batting in MLB 12: The Show more difficult. Ramone Russell stated in an interview with Kotaku that "If you square up on a fastball, it's going to be hit harder than it was before." Changes to the fielding mechanics of Road To The Show have also be made with the addition of a sweet spot in the throwing meter that, when hit, unlocks additional animations.
Various Additions to Batting, Pitching and Fielding Systems (as announced by SCE Studios San Diego via the game's Fact Sheet)
- Over 90 new batting stances and 130 stance re-captures for current players who have changed their betting stances.
- Over 60 new home run swings
- Wider timing window on all difficulty levels
- Hitting engine improvements to deliver more hit variety
- New silhouette bat when bunting
- Ability to assign swing animations when creating or editing a player i.e. follow through, step in, etc.
- Over 15 new batting camera's
- Over 50 new pitching motions
- Over 250 new fielder and running animations
- Improved ball physics (less ground rule doubles etc.)
- New Pulse pitching, Meter pitching, and strike zone art
- 5 new pitching camera views
Steve Lyons added to Broadcast Booth
MLB and broadcasting veteran Steve Lyons has been added to the broadcast booth for MLB 13: The Show replacing Dave Campbell as color commentator. Steve Lyons is currently the color commentator for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For the first time players will vote on the cover athlete that will be displayed on the games box art. Similar to the voting for Madden NFL, MLB has adopted several potential cover athletes that will be revealed and once all candidates are revealed players will vote for their preferred star.
On Januarry 11th, 2013 it was announced after a short voting period that Andrew McCutchen, with 108,148 votes, won the fan vote and will be the cover athlete for MLB 13: The Show. The candidates for the cover are listed below in the order of their vote totals.
- Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen
- New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia
- Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabera
- Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp
- Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper
- San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey
- Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun
Similar to last year, Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays will be featured on all Canadian versions of the game in 2013. This cover will feature Bautista in a red Blue Jays jersey that was worn on Canada Day in 2012.