EA Sports has developed and published some of the greatest esports games on the market. They are renowned for their splashy, lifelike graphics and game fluidity while their soundtracks are among the best in the industry.
Whether you are playing Madden 21, UFC 4, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, FIFA 21, or any number of their celebrated titles, the experience will be immersive and addictive.
And so, when news broke that they were in the midst of exploring the possibility for a new MLB title, well, let’s just say it got tongues wagging and fans drooling with anticipation. It has been 15 years since EA Sports made MVP Baseball 2005, a game that was critically acclaimed and was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews from gamers.
However, Major League Baseball chose to part company with EA Sports when they offered an exclusive licensing deal to Take-Two Interactive. EA Sports would pivot towards creating NCAA Baseball games over the following two years but then moved away from the sport entirely…until now.
It will be interesting to see how the team at EA Sports creates the MLB game in 2021 versus their several iterations preceding and including the 2005 editions. The league has changed and so has society. There are now baseball odds today at all of the best online sportsbooks including licensed U.S. books that were prohibited under federal law (with the exception of a few jurisdictions, Las Vegas being chief among them) all those years ago.
Perhaps this EA Sports version will include the betting lines on each matchup?! Hopefully, we will find out sooner than later!
The Word on the Street
The telltale signs of an MLB partnership were in the works several months ago. Well, let’s just say the foundation was being laid as EA Sports announced the acquisition of Metalhead Software, the Canadian-based developer of the hugely popular Super Mega Baseball franchise.
Because Metalhead Software had no licensing agreement with Major League Baseball, the names of the teams are along the lines of the Beewolves, Grapplers, and Sirloins to name a few. The names of the players were equally as obscure as were their cartoonish caricatures as opposed to the lifelike countenances of real MLB players found in the licensed games.
But all of this could be in anticipation of getting a talented group of developers together who would maintain the popularity of Super Mega Baseball as well as transitioning to, or at least assisting with, the blockbuster MLB franchise.
Last May, EA Sports executive vice-president and general manager, Cam Weber, announced the acquisition of Metalhead Software, “We’re all players of Super Mega Baseball, and we’ve long admired the work of the Metalhead team. It’s a unique and beloved franchise among sports gamers – the balance and depth of gameplay, and the unique style of the content makes it super fun to play with friends.
We look forward to supporting and investing in the team so they can continue to build out more amazing games that delight sports fans around the world. EA Sports continues to expand, and we’re deeply excited to create more unique and interactive experiences that blur the lines between sports and entertainment.”
Scott Drader, Co-Founder of Metalhead Software, released this statement, “Our team has worked hard over the years to refine a formula that uniquely mixes an arcade-style with deep on-field gameplay and innovative co-operative and competitive multiplayer experiences.
In this next chapter, we’re excited to leverage EA’s power and reach to bring our titles to a broader audience and to take some ambitious next steps in the development of our future titles.”
And while some believe that the acquisition of Metalhead Software has nothing to do with the possibility of an EA Sports/MLB partnership, the timing does strike us as more than a bit coincidental considering the rumblings regarding EA Sports getting back in the baseball biz for real. Assuming everything is true, it could be three more years before we see the newest EA Sports MLB iteration hit the shelves.
At this point, Sony Interactive Entertainment has the rights and licenses from Major League Baseball and is the publisher of the MLB: The Show franchise. The newest edition was released in April and the reviews have been by and large positive. In this most recent version, PlayStation and Xbox players can go head-to-head as it is now a cross-platform game that is music to its fans’ ears.
The new, Stadium Creator, has gotten mixed reviews with many approving of having this option present but those who have explored this feature find the menu confusing, and watching a late afternoon game that goes long does not reflect the sun setting and the park lights turning on. It’s not a big deal but the hardcore gamers want what they want and any oversight, slight or otherwise, will become a bone of contention.
It will be interesting to see what tricks EA Sports will come up with if, and when, they get the green light from Major league Baseball to bring back their beloved franchise.