All-new R.B.I. Baseball 15 returns this spring

Iconic video game will be back, with Rizzo as cover athlete

All-new R.B.I. Baseball 15 returns this spring

R.B.I. Baseball 15 will be worth the wait, too.

The iconic video-game franchise made a grand return a year ago to critical acclaim after a quarter-century on the shelf, and Major League Baseball Advanced Media announced Monday that its all-new R.B.I. Baseball 15 is coming to fans this spring with a suite of new features, high-resolution graphics and Anthony Rizzo as its first cover athlete.

The easy-to-use game was developed for next-generation consoles, smartphones and tablets. Considering all the constructive fan feedback received at @RBIGAME during its big comeback in 2014, here are some questions and answers about what's coming:

Who says it can get even better?

Rizzo and Pedro Martinez. They are stars of today and yesterday, and that is a symbolic strength of this video game, licensed by MLB and the MLB Players Association. R.B.I. Baseball 15 will mark the introduction of two prominent players as featured athletes, whose contributions on and off the field symbolize the importance of sportsmanship and giving back through charitable organizations, children's hospitals and local communities.

Rizzo, an All-Star first baseman, will be the first cover athlete for R.B.I. Baseball -- and the first Cubs player featured as a cover athlete on any baseball video game in more than a decade. In addition to finishing in the top 10 in most National League offensive stats, Rizzo was the youngest player ever to be honored with the Branch Rickey Award for exceptional community service.

"Being on the cover of R.B.I. Baseball 15 is so awesome," he said. "You think about all these things as a kid -- the cover of a game, the cover of a magazine, the cover of a newspaper. It's surreal."

Martinez is promoting the game as his first product endorsement since last month's Hall of Fame election. He was a Montreal Expos rookie callup when R.B.I. Baseball 4 was released in 1992 for Sega Genesis and was an available roster pick for R.B.I. Baseball '93 a year later.

Can I keep stats?

Yes, stat tracking is a key addition that gamers wanted. Track batting and pitching statistics in season mode for the first time. You'll get viewable team, player and season league leaderboards.

What do the ballparks look like?

Look for completely redesigned and authentic ballparks for all 30 franchises, each crafted with detailed design characteristics such as Boston's Green Monster, Chase Field's swimming pool, Citi Field's Home Run Apple, California Spectacular in Anaheim, the ivy at Wrigley Field, Monument Park at Yankee Stadium, guest-room windows at Rogers Centre, Tal's Hill in Houston and the fountains at Kauffman Stadium. Just think how much has changed since the heyday of the original R.B.I. Baseball, as almost every park has been replaced.

The old-school 16-man rosters were a nice nostalgic touch in 2014, but will there be an option to go with today's 25-man roster size?

Those Classic R.B.I. 16-man rosters will be back, but you also will have the ability for the first time to set an active 25-man roster from each franchise's 40-man roster. Modify your batting order or pitching rotation at any point.

With the expansion to include more than 1,000 active Major Leaguers in its roster database, R.B.I. Baseball 15 will include detailed on-field attributes for every player, again updated from the hundreds of millions of data points collected and analyzed by MLBAM.

Can I play against others?

You can choose to play in online multiplayer mode in friendly and ranked games via consoles.

There was one gameplay setting last year. Same or more?

More. Pick your competition level: Easy, Medium or Hard.

Where can I play it this time?

It will be available as a digital download this spring for the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, iPhone, iPad and supported Android smartphones and tablets. Also, get ready for the PC and Mac debut. R.B.I. Baseball 15 will introduce availability for personal computers on the Steam platform, coming this spring.

The core essence of R.B.I. Baseball is that pitcher-batter chess match. Will it still have that same feel as you balance the nostalgia with modern gaming design?

R.B.I. Baseball 15 will include the many features added in its offseason while remaining fast-paced and fun to play with the genre's classic two-button controls. You can master the art of hitting and fielding easily with the retro controls and manually manage the movement and location of every pitch from release to crossing the plate.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of Read and join other baseball fans on his community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.