With each passing week, 2K Sports releases a new tidbit of information on the new technologies they are building into Major League Baseball 2K6. This week’s news is exciting for me, personally, because I’ve never felt that any baseball video game or sim has come close to recreating the art of pitching. That sentiment could possibly be put to bed with MLB 2K6.
The latest technology to be announced in MLB 2K6 is “Payoff Pitching.” This system is designed to keep the pitching controls streamlined, while still emulating the pitching experience of Major League Baseball. Players start pitching by picking a spot where the pitch will break and choosing a type of pitch by tapping the corresponding pitch’s button. A yellow circular cursor will appear and quickly shrink; as it shrinks, gamers simply tap their chosen pitch-type face button again to execute the most precise pitch possible. To put more effort into pitches, players hold down the face button. As the yellow circular cursor expands to the desired effort, users must then release and tap the face button to lock the pitch. Putting maximum effort into a pitch will put more oomph on a fastball or more movement on a breaking ball, but also makes it more difficult to pinpoint to a location. So, pitching becomes much more strategic as pitchers need to figure out how much a pitch will break when spotting his pitches.
The new Payoff Pitching system, when paired with the previously announced “Inside Edge” technology, could prove to be the combination we’ve been looking for to bring the pitching interface up to date. When you have the Inside Edge data on a particular player, your catcher will actually call for specific pitches and locations that should result in getting the batter out… should you execute them correctly. In these pitching situations, a special targeting cursor will appear as the catcher calls for the pitch. If a pitcher can spot his pitch correctly and cause the batter to strikeout, that specific pitch type will get a rating boost for that game.
If 2K Sports can pull all of these new technologies off at once, we’re looking at a truly groundbreaking game in MLB 2K6.