rbibaseball14logoAt the beginning of the year, Major League Baseball and their MLB Advanced Media in-house development studio announced that they would be bringing the classic RBI Baseball franchise back after nearly twenty years with RBI Baseball 14 for home consoles and mobile devices. Just last week, it was revealed that the game may be set for an April 10th release. Today, MLBAM dished out the first actual details about RBI Baseball 14, and as someone who is desperate for a good baseball game on mobile, it sounds like it will be right up my alley.

The last entry in the RBI Baseball series was in 1995, and for the rebirth MLBAM wants to stick close to those classic roots. This means that RBI 14 won't be a deep simulation game, but it won't quite be an over-the-top arcade game either. It'll fall somewhere in the middle. "It's going to be very true to the roots of the brand," MLBAM VP Jamie Leece told Polygon in an interview. "It will be fast-paced; games can be played in under 20 minutes. From a user control standpoint, fans will find the controls to be 'classic,' reminiscent of the two-button controls from games of that generation."

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The focus on simplified mechanics is refreshing given the often complex nature of sports simulation games that have released in the years since the last time RBI Baseball was in the mix. That's especially true on mobile touchscreen devices, where simple one or two-button control schemes shine. While RBI 14 will feature real MLB teams and 480 real-life active MLB players, they're taking another cue from the past in how all those different players will be represented visually in the game. In true old-school fashion, the big guys will be sluggers, average-sized guys will be good all-around, and slim guys will be great contact hitters.

However, just because MLBAM is going for a throwback arcade experience, RBI 14 won't have many of the things associated with "arcade" sports games. So no power-ups, no over-the-top superhuman feats, no bats getting set on fire when a player is hot. It's an arcade game in the sense that anybody could walk up to it and understand how to play without going through a lengthy tutorial or having to read a handbook on how to control the game. In fact, despite the simplistic mechanics, MLBAM is utilizing their extensive collection of real-life MLB statistics to make sure that the players in the game perform how you'd expect them to, so there will be a nice layer of realism taking place under the hood of the game to ensure it feels like an authentic MLB experience.

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Another huge bit of news about RBI Baseball 14 is that it will be a premium experience. Though no price has been announced, MLBAM did confirm that there won't be any IAP or microtransactions in the game. That's music to my ears, since MLBAM's previous mobile efforts have always been hampered by an aggressive free to play monetization scheme. MLBAM wouldn't confirm the reports of an April 10th release date, but did say it'll be coming out in "early April" on current-gen consoles and mobile devices, with Xbox One and PS4 versions following soon after. I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on the new RBI Baseball 14.

[Polygon]

  • Donny K76

    So glad to read about the 2 button controls. That means you control your pitch as it comes towards the plate! Premium as well!

  • josh.hofer

    So excited for this game, love that it's the classic arcade style AND no IAP.

    gimmie gimmie gimmie!

  • Scott Davis

    At first I was excited. Then I saw the screenshots. No wonder they aren't targeting PS4 and XB1. The graphics are Mobile device worthy at best. I hope the gameplay makes up for it. The original Nintendo version was great.

    • curtisrshideler

      Didn't the original have much simpler graphics?!? Come on. If you like pixel-filled graphics of the first version, then this should look like a seriously impressive graphical achievement! I agree about gameplay though. I hope it is actually similar to the original in that respect.

  • thecool111

    Instabuy!!

  • curtisrshideler

    FINALLY! This along with iOOTP will make my baseball experience this year complete. This is the arcade baseball game that the iphone has needed since the beginning!

    Arcade look and feel, no IAP, full premium is exactly what we want. Now, hopefully this 20 minute games can be paused and saved at any point. Then it will be unbeatable!

    Thanks for the info!

  • HarryWarden

    No IAP = Instabuy. Hopefully, it's a huge success so EA notices and makes the next Madden with no IAP.

  • TanRnet

    I was hoping for a graphics style similar to the original RBI Baseball, but this looks nice and probably appeal to a wider group. Hoping the ios version has online play. Everything sounds good so far, hope a video will be released soon.

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      The Polygon article says there won't be online in ANY of the versions, console or mobile. It will have local multiplayer though.

      • TanRnet

        That's surprising, especially for the console versions. I get they wanted to focus on the core game and didn't want to advert attention away from that, but a simple online play mode would of be great.

      • Jon

        Local multiplayer? You mean you have the ability to play a two-player game, so long as you have an extra controller? Wow. Talk about nostalgic. I remember playing Intellivision baseball with my brother 30 years ago.

  • swarmster

    Erm, I'm all for dialing things back a decade or two in terms of sports sim control complexity, but...is that just a single generic baseball stadium? It's certainly not "Fenway Park".

    Baseball's one of the few sports where the play field is variable. Why throw that away?

  • mclifford82

    I have such fond memories of RBI Baseball on the NES. Where's the screenshot from the pitcher's mound? That's the view I really remember, since I sucked so much at batting :)

    • Donny K76

      The screenshots are more reminiscent of RBI 93 for the Genesis, but as long as pitching can be controlled like in the classics, I'm in!

  • ImJPaul

    Very cool. Going to finally beat Barry Bonds' home run record with Chris Davis... even though it's going to happen this season anyway.

  • Rattyfus

    Can 't argue with much that has been said, looking forward to trying this out. But can anyone tell me why there is no news of a full baseball sim like The Show, or even the 2K one on iOS? PS Vita has The Show after all. Even just the management side of these games on mobile with groovy graphics and presentation would be so cool. Maybe Apple mobile devices just aren't powerful enough. Just curious.

  • khann

    Looks awesome! Most anticipated game.

  • Jason Flor Flook

    Baseball Stars > RBI Baseball. But this will do.

    For now.

    Weird semi related question. Does anyone know if SNK exists anymore? If not, do you have the slightest idea who has the rights to Baseball Stars?

  • Nick

    I like the look of this game, graphics aren't bad in my opinion. Sure they aren't the greatest but I don't think they were made they were because of limitations on a mobile device but rather to give the game a more arcade type of feel rather than realism.

    I don't need to see every blade of grass, nor strand of hair on a person's arm as they approach the plate or stitching in their uniform. Just give me a fun baseball game.

  • timmfox

    Music to my ears. Finally a non-fantasy type baseball game with real players and teams. Instabuy!

    Why did this take so long? 2K games could have been printing money if the would have done this when they released NBA 2k and NHL 2k.

  • spsummer

    This will be a day one purchase for me, easy.

  • Hoot3000

    Finally a throw back game and the rangers won't suck lol!!

  • xzeldax3

    I wonder when people will start calling XBOne, PS4, & WiiU "current gen" because 360, PS3, & Wii definitely aren't anymore.

    • khann

      I said that before, but no one likes to listen.

    • Jon

      They'll start calling it when MORE PEOPLE OWN THOSE NEWER SYSTEMS. Not everyone is going to go out within the first few months of a system's launch and pay upwards of $600 for the console and a few games. The PS3 is still alive and kicking, and the 360 is still on its feet.

  • Julio Marquez

    9innings by Com2us is still the best on iPhone

  • Jon

    If they know what's good for them, they'd release a demo of the game well in advance of the full game. Just about everyone is used to either The Show (on PS consoles) and the 2K series on the other two platforms.

  • markymarkanddafunkybunch

    I would pay double for the nes version

  • that420guy

    Its out !!