'MLB: The Show 17' promises revamped gameplay, animation, and physics

Sony’s MLB: The Show baseball sim franchise will showcase a variety of engine improvements in its upcoming 2017 release, and players can expect more realistic animations and improved gameplay as a result.

Among other features, the latest entry in Sony’s long-running sports series promises refined ball physics, which will lead to more realistic hits and improved defensive player behavior.

After celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2016, MLB The Show is preparing a physics overhaul for its next annual update. A trailer released Wednesday reveals that Sony plans to make the physics in MLB: The Show 17 more realistic by incorporating subtle factors like temperature and altitude alongside refined velocity and spin calculations.

“This year, we’ve greatly increased the variety of hits possible in The Show,” Sony explains. “There are curving and slicing grounders down the lines, bloops, Texas leaguers, and top-spin line drives, just to name a few, all generated by an accurate model of the ball spinning off of a bat. In previous versions of The Show, we were modeling the spin that would occur if the ball had hit a wall instead of a bat.”

“Our new accurate model is a game-changer,” Sony continues. “The location and spin of the pitch, angle of the bat, and launch velocity are all factored into the spin, allowing for more realistic and varied ball flight paths.”

In addition to “hundreds of thousands” of ball flight path possibilities, MLB: The Show 17 promises “more humanity” for its simulated players. Starting with this year’s upgrade, players will exhibit new behaviors with regard to baserunning in particular. AI-controlled players will now use a variety of different timings when stepping off of a base, and rundowns will be less predictable. with defensive players faking throws in order to psyche out the competition.

“The goal is to continue our pursuit in having the AI-controlled players react more lifelike, instead of seeming to know exactly what’s going to happen on any given play,” Sony summarizes.

MLB The Show 17 launches exclusively for the PlayStation 4 on March 28.

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