NEW YORK -- This spring, MLBAM, the N.Y.-based media and technology developer, will debut its new version of the legendary baseball video game franchise -- R.B.I. Baseball 16 -- for smartphones, tablets, next generation consoles and PC/Mac via Steam. Returning as the third edition developed by MLBAM, R.B.I. Baseball 16 will bring video-game players many new features, including a rebuilt defensive artificial intelligence system, allowing for more user control than ever to "Make The Play."
As unveiled Saturday before thousands of Red Sox fans at the team's Winter Weekend, outfielder Mookie Betts will be the cover athlete for R.B.I. Baseball 16. At 23 years, 3 months and 18 days, Betts becomes the second-youngest player to be the featured athlete on a MLB video game cover.
Betts, quite possibly the only player in Major League history who was named after MLB (Markus Lynn Betts), batted .291 with 18 home runs, 77 RBIs, 92 runs scored and 21 stolen bases in 2015 -- his first full season atop the Red Sox's lineup. He finished 2015 ranked among the American League's top-20 hitters in many offensive categories, including batting average, stolen bases, OPS, slugging percentage, runs scored and hits. A native of Tennessee, Betts has been the recipient of a variety of honors, from being named the Tennessee Boys Bowler of the Year in 2010 to the Red Sox's Minor League Player of the Year in 2014 to most recently the Boston Chapter of the BBWAA's Jackie Jensen Hustle Award -- an award presented annually to a Red Sox player for spirit and determination.
Many of the new features MLBAM has developed for R.B.I. Baseball 16 are symbolic of how Betts and many of the game's young and up-and-coming stars play. The new features listed below are among those coming this year. They will be added to those already built into the game during its first two editions, each done while remaining true to the genre and its core fan base -- providing a fast-paced and fun Major League Baseball video game.
2016 features defense: A redeveloped defensive AI will introduce new fielding capabilities including dives, wall catches, fake throws and more. This system will give users more control than ever before in making defensive plays.
Baserunning: Built in part from MLBAM's award-winning tracking technology, Statcast™, baserunners' abilities will be driven by on-field metrics from the 2015 MLB season.
Batting: An improved batting engine will feature variable perfect timing. For the best outcome, swing earlier on inside pitches and later on outside pitches.
Pitching: With a reworked pitching strategy AI, pitchers will play to their individual strengths. For example, a pitcher who features a wide range of velocity will mix speeds more often.
Season SIM: During season mode play, sim a game or multiple games to quickly advance through the season and into the postseason -- should the team win its division or earn a Wild Card spot.
Lineup: Modify a team's lineup pregame or in-game, including substitution strategies such as double switches. Lineups can be set from a franchise's 40-man roster or the game's classic 16-player rosters.
Graphics: All 30 MLB ballparks will feature a new lighting system based on actual geographic locations, field views and additional hi-resolution realistic design elements.
R.B.I. Baseball 16 is developed by MLBAM and officially licensed by MLB and MLBPA. It will be available as a digital download this spring for iPhone, iPad, supported Android smartphones and tablets, the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One and PC/Mac via Steam. Online play, as introduced in 2015, also will be available on select platforms.
For the third consecutive year, the game will be available for $19.99 on the next generation consoles and $4.99 on smartphones and tablets. Complete details and launch dates for each platform will be announced at a later date.
For more information, please visit rbigame.com and follow @RBIGame on Twitter.