Heyo! My name is Scott Drader and I’m a co-founder of Metalhead Software, a tiny indie studio on an island floating somewhere off the Canadian west coast. I am most utterly delighted to tell you that we’ve got a new sports game cookin’ for you by the name of Super Mega Baseball and it’s going to be headed your way this fall on PS4 and PS3. I’m going to tell you a little bit about why we decided to make the game in the first place and then elaborate on the Various Heat This Game Be Packin’.
There was once an era – and you’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve been around for a while – when a variety of new sports games came out each year; indeed the genre has gravitated towards fewer new titles each year. We once had titles ranging from casual, to ridiculous, to arcade, all the way up to simulation. A lot of these games lived at this nice overall level of complexity where you could plop yourself on the couch with friends, even if they weren’t huge sports fans, and go from having no idea what you’re doing to having a blast in just an hour or two. It was a very cool era for the genre.
I’ll acknowledge that there’s some nostalgia in my words. The reality is that games have improved, and so have expectations. There are reasons we see fewer sports games now. There are reasons that indie developers haven’t penetrated the sports genre in the same way they have other genres. I could talk all day about how these things came to be, but let’s just say that we decided it was absolutely necessary that we make a new couch-coop/competitive baseball game.
Super Mega Baseball is an accessible, “lite” baseball simulation. It’s unlicensed which means we’ve been able to have a ton of fun with the characters and stadiums (and throw in some parody when necessary!). Our number one goal from the beginning was to nail a set of gameplay mechanics that make for a solid couch-coop/couch-competitive experience. That means accessible, but with subtleties that add depth over time. Here are the goods:
2-4 player couch co-op/competitive: This can be head-to-head, 2v1, 2v2, or co-op vs the CPU. When you’ve got a teammate, you’ll be alternating batting/running each at-bat, and alternating pitching/fielding each inning. This means everyone’s involved and you’ll have to be on your toes. There’s per-user, sliding difficulty settings, meaning you’ll be able to easily setup a close game between friends of any skill levels.
Ultra responsive, blazing fast gameplay: In a nutshell, you’re going to spend most of your time telling your players what to do. All the cinematic stuff is skippable and you’ll be able to cut through 9-innings in 20 minutes. The basic controls are ultra-easy to learn, but you’ll need to master jumping, diving, wall-catches, power-swings, and cut-off plays to properly dominate your friends.
Full batting/pitching stats: There’s not much to say here other than that the information you expect to see is all there.
Realistic simulation and physics: Don’t be fooled by the light-hearted/comical presentation; the fundamentals of the sport of baseball are here.
Leveling System: You’ll tally up Starpoints for hits/strikeouts/catches during each game, Level Up once you have enough, and then hire staff to train and coach your players, boosting their abilities. Use that jacked up team to win at higher difficulties (and post higher leaderboard scores than your friends!).
Team customizations: Customize the look of your squad to your hearts delight. You can make as many aesthetic adjustments as you want. Laaaaadies… are in the house (and the game).
I sometimes get the feeling the word “sports” is a dirty word for gamers that don’t also happen to be hardcore sports fans. And no doubt modern sports games can be an alienating experience if you don’t live for sports. That being said, I wholeheartedly believe that just as Shooting a Monster in the Face is a solid premise and implicitly provides an excellent underlying rule set for a video game, Smashing a Ball Over a Fence With a Stick is an equally wonderful and glorious premise. I hope many of you agree!
If you have any questions, just post ‘em below and I’ll do my best to answer, and also hit up SMB’s Twitter feed for plenty of juicy details in the coming weeks.