MLB 12 The Show Preview

Image courtesy of Gamerant

Technically, baseball fans will have to wait until March 28th to get their very first taste of official Major League Baseball in Japan. But for those impatient souls such as myself, that’s just way too long to wait.

Luckily, there’s a way to get your baseball fix before then, and that’s through this year’s edition of MLB The Show. The #1 rated sports game is back on the PS3 next Tuesday March 6th, and this time around we have a Blue Jays cover athlete, Jose Bautista.

I was fortunate enough to speak with Matt Levitan, Director or Marketing and Public Relations for Playstation Canada about MLB 12 The Show. He gave me some insight as to what we can expect from this year’s game.


Matt is a self-proclaimed gamer and Blue Jays fan himself, and perhaps it was his love for the Blue Jays that was instrumental in getting Jose Bautista on the cover of MLB 12 The Show.

Image courtesy of

On behalf of Blue Jays fans, I have to say that we are ecstatic to see Jose Bautista on the cover of MLB 12 The Show. How did you come to the decision to have Jose on the Canadian edition of the game?

Because Jose is such a great endorsement figure for other brands that he works with, and he’s such an easy guy to work with, I thought “let’s see if we can get him on the cover”.

So I pitched it to our US counterparts and asked “would we be able to do a Canadian specific cover” and they said “yeah, absolutely”. It was really about wanting to do something exciting for the fans this year.

We just haven’t had any luck getting any players for a Canadian team on any of the covers of our sports games for a while … it’s been a struggle, but I’m glad to see we broke through and got it this year.

Overall, I think everyone feels a sense of pride and nationalism as a result of having a player who plays on a Canadian team on the cover.

MLB 11 The Show was the first edition of the game to feature pure analog controls … has there been any tweaks this year when it comes to hitting or pitching?

We do have some new control schemes this year. They have what’s called “zone analog batting”, which is a little bit easier for players to perfect their swing.

You have a sense of using the dual analog sticks to swing through the strike zone the way you see fit. And it’s more realistic in terms of where and how you swing with the way you use the sticks.

There’s also pulse pitching controls, which gives you a little bit more control over the plate in terms of where you position your pitches and the movement of the pitches. So there are some new controls this season which should add to the realism.

For me personally, my bread and butter with MLB The Show is “Road to the Show”. There’s just something so gratifying about watching your player make it to the bigs. Are there any new features to “Road to the Show” that gamers can look forward to for the 2012 edition of MLB The Show?

The biggest part of Road to the Show that’s new is you have the ability to transfer and save your game between the PS3 and Vita versions of the game. So you can take your season, franchise or Road to the Show mode to go with you anywhere.

You have the ability to play a few games at home, save it to a cloud, load up your PS Vita, and play it on the road. So all the stats apply to your PS3 version at home.

That’s the biggest change to Road to the Show; that it’s in your pocket if you have a Vita, and it gives you the full MLB experience wherever you are.

I think the commentary is something that most people don’t necessarily think about when they’re in the game, but it definitely adds something to the gaming experience. I’ve heard there’s a new “True Broadcast Presentation” feature on MLB 12 The Show, what’s that all about?

As good as the play-by-play and colour commentary has always been, the commentary now isn’t just limited to player introductions and general commentary.

A lot of the comments now are specific to situations, and they tell you about that particular runner, his speed, and his likelihood to steal.

It really gives you more specific information about the players that are on the field or in that particular play as opposed to something like “a single will bring this runner in and tie the game”.

Baseball is just one of those sports where there are hundreds of variables, so I can imagine that must be painstaking to try to recreate that in a video game environment. What has changed this year in terms of ball physics in how the baseball moves and reacts?


Without a doubt, the hardest thing is ball physics. And we’re starting to see that more in our baseball game too; balls that go off a bag, or go a player’s glove or take bad hops. So we’re actually starting to see more advanced physics.

I think a lot of that has to do with the power of the PS3. At times, it can frustrate players, but that’s the game – that’s the realism factor.

That’s very true of the new zone batting analog feature. A lot of times before if you fouled a ball off, there was just a mathematical equation based on your timing whether you hit the ball foul or fair.

Now, a lot of it has to do with where the position of the bat is in the zone, which determines where the ball goes. So now it’s not so much are you early or are you late on your swing, but where is the bat in position to the strike zone compared to where the ball is.

Online play has always been a staple in MLB The Show. Are there any new additions or features to online play for this year?

We have a new Diamond Dynasty mode which is multiplayer. You can build a custom team, collect and trade different players, you can activate and trade your dynasty cards similar to NHL or Madden.

You can also play four-player simultaneous Home Run Derby as well, at home and online. Sometimes you don’t want a whole 45-minute baseball game, sometimes you just want to get together with some buddies and play a Home Run Derby. So that will fulfill your baseball needs for a shorter more bite-sized gameplay experience.

Lastly, let’s say for some crazy reason I’ve never played MLB The Show before … why should I go out and buy this game?

It’s without a doubt the most realistic baseball experience you can play anywhere. It gives you all the teams, all the players, all the stadiums, and the graphics are beyond belief.

This year we have a competitive advantage with our Vita version. A 162 game season might seem daunting to a lot of people. But if you commute every day and you just want to play a little bit of baseball on the way, you can play that knock off that 162 game season a lot easier without simulating games.

And that way, you can always be playing it and transfer those saves back and forth to your PS3. That’s probably the thing I’m most excited about; the ability to take my teams with me wherever I go.

Thanks again to Matt Levitan for chatting with me about MLB 12 The Show. The game will be released for both the PS3 and Vita next Tuesday March 6th, so get your thumbs ready!

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.