MLB The Show 21 is less than a month away, and the road to release day has been paved with detailed Feature Premieres showing players a detailed look at the various modes and gameplay.
This week the focus went on Ballplayer, and this story-driven career mode in MLB The Show 21 looks to be narrative gold that allows a whole new single player experience that connects to both Road to the Show and Diamond Dynasty.
Your Ballplayer is the star
Previous installments of MLB The Show 21 have dubbed the single player career mode Road to the Show, but Ballplayer is the new all-encompassing term that will unite each gamer's created player across multiple modes.
Your custom-created Ballplayer can be taken into both Road to the Show and Diamond Dynasty, but it's Road to the Show and this new narrative experience that should really shine.
Major changes and progress have been made by developers to ensure that the way you play is significantly affecting the story, and this means not everyone will be getting an identical story progression.
Brainchild of a veteran
This new narrative-based career mode has had many parts of the Sony San Diego team involved, but the main writer is former Minor League broadcaster Ben Gellman-Chomsky.
As the lead for this new narrative, Gellman-Chomsky brings his own experience as a broadcast for the Hickory Crawdads, Hudson Valley Renegades, Clearwater Threshers, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, and Salem Red Sox to the table.
It's just one of many ways that MLB The Show 21 is bringing experience from both Minor and Major League Baseball into the game to provide the most accurate and immersive experience for gamers.
Dictate your future
During the Feature Premiere, it was explicitly mentioned that one of the biggest criticisms of Road to the Show in the past was the game seemingly not caring how you performed.
Your player in this career mode could be nailing home runs left and run or pitching no-hitters, and the game didn't seem to even know it was happening.
That was a key focus for them in the changes to MLB The Show 21, and now the Road to the Show narrative will be heavily influenced and change based on how your Ballplayer performs.
Take to the airwaves
One of the most exciting new parts of the story, and one directly affected by your in-game performances, is a brand new dynamic in-game podcast created just for MLB The Show 21.
The podcast is hosted by Ben Gellman-Chomsky, but as you get closer and into the MLB, it changes to become a full-on MLB Network production.
The podcast will feature an all-star cast that we already know includes Sean Casey, Cliff Floyd, Robert Flores, and Jim Callis, but there are said to be 13 voices in total with some big names yet to be revealed.
This will appear in-game as a full video podcast for Next Gen, but is instead audio only on Current Gen, which is likely thanks to the massive 180 different episodes that can be heard based on your own Ballplayer's career.
Two for the price of one?
One of the biggest decisions that you'll have to make for your Ballplayer is whether you're interested in being a true two-way player with a focus on both hitting and pitching.
In Road to the Show and Diamond Dynasty with your Ballplayer, you will have the option to focus either entirely on one side of the ball, or show true versatility as a two-way player.
If you choose to go the two-way route, the dynamic story will adjust based on the potential being shown and the difficulty there is in pulling off this versatility.
On top of that, it's not a decision you'll be locked into from the story, as the story offers multiple stops along the road where you can then choose to shift your focus to one side of the ball rather than staying a two-way player.
Hit the Road
With the new Ballplayer mechanic carrying your created character between different parts of MLB The Show 21, they've also allowed seamless progression in either mode.
You can continue to improve or upgrade your Ballplayer in Road to the Show or Diamond Dynasty, and that progress will carryover between the two.
It's a great call by the development team that allows players who previously stuck to one mode to try their Ballplayer out in the other, but still let's people focus on one mode if that's their ultimate preference.
Two new mechanics have been introduced to affect your Ballplayer in both Road to the Show and Diamond Dynasty, and the first is the Loadouts system.
Loadouts allow you to equip your player with unique Archetype Items and other bonuses to improve certain Attributes, and the game allows players to save multiple Loadouts that can be swapped between at any time.
The new mission-based system is called Programs, and this offers up challenges linked to your play in various modes that will give rewards including perk packs, equipment, experience, stubs, Archetype Items, and more.
Ultimately, MLB The Show 21 has put the power back in the hands of the gamers, and the title's story-driven career mode is set to give a golden single player experience uniquely tailored to the way you choose to play.