First Impressions: Batter up!
You can call it 2K Sports' version of a double-play, with Major League Baseball 2K7 hitting the mound and The BIGS warming up in the bullpen. This may make you wonder if there's room at 2K for two baseball games, but when you shelled out as much money for exclusive third-party rights to MLB as they did, you make
room. But don't worry, the two games will be completely different from each other and will target different markets.
While MLB 2K7 has been retooled as a more realistic baseball simulator, The BIGS will swing from the opposite side of the plate as an arcade sports game that will emphasize and exaggerate what fans love about baseball: spectacular catches, huge hits and big plays at the plate. Now, when most people hear ?arcade baseball? they automatically expect nothing more than a homerun derby. You will certainly hit your fair share of homers in The BIGS, but fielding will be upgraded to match the enhanced offense, meaning that the big hits will be countered by big catches at the wall or players diving into the seats.
Despite the arcade design, the game will remain faithful to the sport thanks to Dan Brady and his team at Blue Castle. Brady knows his baseball ? he is the former technical director for EA's MVP Baseball franchise ? and much of Blue Castle is comprised of former MVP team members, making them a great fit for 2K Sports.
The team's goal is to create a true baseball game but exaggerate the fun things that make the highlight reels. This means you won't see silly things like base runners fighting fielders a la
Slugfest, or bats or shoes on fire, but will instead see over-the-top hits, diving catches, wicked double-plays, acrobatic mid-air throws and so on. Players and stadiums will look realistic but exaggerated (star players will be noticeably different from average players ? just like their ?flaxseed oil? enhanced real life counterparts!), with special powerups, spectacular plays and celebrations rendered in sensationalistic special effects to enhance the action and excitement.
You will also be able to use interesting powerups that can turn the tide of the game. For example, let's say you are facing a big power hitter with the bases loaded. Using the Headwind powerup you can make the wind suddenly blow into the batter's face, causing dirt to swirl up and flags to flap in addition to making it extremely difficult for him to get a big hit. Of course, all that wind makes fielding a lot tougher too, but at least you won't have to worry about a grand slam. (Hmm, if they can let you control the weather, why can't they give you a beer that isn't watered down to tastelessness?)
The BIGS League Challenge will be the main mode where you play through a season and try to win the World Series. Unlike traditional sports games, however, you will also need to play several action-heavy mini-games to train your players, increase their stats and unlock those precious powerups. The mini-games will be pure arcade action mixed with baseball skills; for example, one game combines baseball with pinball.
The controls will be more twitch-based than other baseball games, which is designed to pull you deeper into the action. For example, fielding will be very fast-paced and require quick reaction times. Pitching will use a skill-based meter mechanism similar to golf games; if you nail the meter you will throw a perfect pitch but if you screw up, you will tip off the batter and give him an idea of what you are about to deliver. Cool!
The game will support up to four players online and will take full advantage of the PS3 and Wii motion control features, with a ton of Achievements for Xbox 360 owners. You can also create your own custom ?roid monkey ? er, arcade-enhanced ? player.