Baseball season is nearing, and you know what that means, right? Yes, the next entry in Sony’s MLB The Show franchise. The Show is consistently one of the best sports games around, in large part because of Sony San Diego’s dedication to making changes both big and small from year to year. From what has been released thus far, it’s clear that Sony will continue its methodical approach to increasing realism in MLB The Show 19. Ahead of the game’s March 26 launch on PlayStation 4, here’s everything we know about MLB The Show 19.
Bryce Harper is the cover athlete
Bryce Harper is this year’s cover athlete. Harper recently signed a 13-year contract worth a staggering $330 million with the Philadelphia Phillies, which is a record high in terms of overall contract value in MLB history. Sony will now have to scramble to get the cover art ready for the game’s launch. It’ll be interesting to see if first printings of the game will show Harper in Phillies gear, or if the situation will mirror what happened with NBA 2K18 cover star Kyrie Irving.
Gameplay changes emphasize defense
In a video interview with IGN explaining some of the new features, MLB The Show gameplay designer Ramone Russell discussed how the team approached making defensive improvements in MLB The Show 19. The changes intend to make the defensive side of the equation more realistic.
Whereas batters have largely acted like their real life counterparts for years, fielders haven’t always been as accurate. That seems to be changing. A wealth of new defensive animations have been created for this purpose, but not all defensive players will have access to them. For example, Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, one of the best at his position, may be able to cover more ground and make tougher plays than a shortstop not known for his mobility and glove skills. SportsCenter top ten worthy plays like diving catches can be attempted by any player, but MLB The Show 19 will attempt to be realistic in the result according to the fielder’s skill.
MLB The Show 19‘s most notable new defensive animation will probably help eliminate some of the frustration that is experienced in the field. New animations will automatically move a fielder towards the ball to make a play. This will be particularly important for infield plays where it’s often unrealistically tough to get an out with a fast runner heading to first.
Additionally, this new reliance on realistic fielding means that placing players in positions they don’t normally play will lead to more errors. That, of course, makes logical sense, but it also means you can’t assemble a team filled with outfield sluggers and stick them anywhere and see great results. In all, there will be more than 1,300 new animations in MLB The Show 19.
Higher difficulty, faster pitches
During Sony’s first Twitch livestream covering MLB The Show 19, it was revealed that as the difficulty increases, the pitch speed goes up. That means that if you play on dynamic difficulty level, as you improve at the plate, you’ll also be contending with faster pitches. This new feature seems to be aimed at those who find batting to be easy even on the hardest difficulty levels.
30-plus new legends
So far only early 20th century first baseman Jimmie Foxx and catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez have been revealed as new legends, but MLB The Show 19 will have more new legends than ever before. Expect to be able to play as more than 30 new all time greats.
Road to the Show changes
— GameStop (@GameStop) February 18, 2019
Road to the Show, the popular create a player mode, is receiving a fairly substantial tuneup in MLB The Show 19. For starters, when creating your player, you’re no longer limited to a certain number of attribute points. If you want your player to be 99-rated in every single stat category, you can do that. Purists may scoff at that, as it removes a large part of the character progression, those who have played Road to the Show know that it’s often a long road to becoming even an average ballplayer in the mode. So now the option to speed up the process is available, if you so choose.
Pitchers will be categorized as one of three archetypes:
- Plain Filthy – Pitchers who move the ball well.
- Flamethrower – Pitchers who really throw the heat.
- Control Freak – Pitchers who focus on location.
Position players will be categorized as one of five archetypes:
- Pure Power – power hitters (home runs)
- Small Ball – Puts the ball in play.
- Mr. Utility – Great situational player.
- Rock Steady – Solid all around.
- The Anomaly – Abnormal for their position (i.e. Ken Griffey Jr. and Jose Ramirez)
Road to the Show will introduce mini-games to play in between games to earn attribute points. Training exercises shown off so far include weight lifting, pitch location memorization exercises, and batting PCI mini-games. These aren’t mandatory, but they do help build more of a well-rounded experience similar to that seen in Madden and NBA 2K.
The Show 19 won’t have the cinematic presentation of other sports game career modes, but dialogue has been revamped to make your choices matter more. More robust dialogue options will impact your player’s progression, including conversations with both coaches, teammates, and rivals. Your choices in conversation will influence your own personality and how others in the clubhouse and around the league view you.
Special editions, pre-order bonuses, and release date
MLB The Show 19 lands on PlayStation 4 on March 26 with three separate editions. The standard edition ($60) has different pre-order bonuses depending on whether you get a digital or physical edition. Pre-ordering the physical edition from GameStop gets you 10 standard cards packs for Diamond Dynasty, one Gold player pack, and a gear up pack including three items for Diamond Dynasty or Road to the Show. Pre-ordering the digital version from the PlayStation Store gets you a flashback version of Bryce Harper from MLB The Show 18, 10 standard packs, 5,000 stubs (in-game currency), and one Gold player pack.
An MVP edition is available in both physical and digital versions for $70. Both of the pre-order bonuses from GameStop and PlayStation are the same as the regular edition, respectively. The difference between the physical and digital MVP edition is that you get a steel book case with the physical edition. Both versions of the MVP edition come with 6,000 stubs, one Prestige gear up choice pack, one Diamond Flashback, one classic stadium, 10 standard packs, and 30 custom avatars.
The GameStop exclusive Gone Yard edition costs $100 and comes with a baseball cap, steel book case, and more in-game goodies: 20 standard packs, 30 custom avatars, 15,000 stubs, one Diamond Flashback, a Prestige gear up choice pack, and a classic stadium.