In a surprise announcement last night Major League Baseball announced the return of R.B.I Baseball for release this spring with “multi-platform distribution across current and next-generation consoles and smartphones and tablets”.
It would seem likely R.B.I. will be considered arcade game. SCEA’s announcement of MLB 14: The Show declared it to be “the first and only MLB simulation for next-gen consoles”. However they did leave an opening by noting they were only referencing “disc-based simulations”.
At the time it was pointed out that the phrasing left an opening for an arcade game or a digital downloadable game…something done intentionally with the knowledge of R.B.I Baseball 14 on the horizon. So the Xbox One will not be without baseball altogether, and the 360 will have a new baseball game, but it probably won’t be an attempt to challenge The Show. The only other thing we know for sure is it won’t be a simulation game with a full retail release.
A dated reference to the the game from the ESRB had R.B.I. Baseball being published by Take Two. It’s unclear whether that is the case with this ’14 edition. However it is being developed by Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Even if Take Two is publishing it would not be from 2K Sports’ Virtual Concepts or any other development studio owned by Take Two.
Among the many properties owned, operated, or produced by MLB Advanced Media is the league’s website, all 30 team websites, MLB radio, the popular MLB At Bat app for mobile devices, and a few mobile games.
With no company willing to pay the third party licensing fee to make MLB games the league has taken it upon themselves to produce a product. No details on what else to expect like whether it’ll be a retail release or digital download or if it is a brand new undertaking or just an update of the 80’s game. Interestingly the official website is housed in the “Fantasy” section of the MLB site which could have some sort of meaning around the theme or style of the game.