Chew, Spit, Manage: MLB Front Office Manager

By John Walker on January 23rd, 2009 at 9:53 pm.

Wrigley Field, where I saw my first game ten years ago. Aw.

At first the end of January seems an odd time to release a baseball management game. With all the teams hibernating in their branded caves, and the beginning of the glorious new season not until April, people aren’t in a ballgame frame of mind. But Spring Training begins in about three weeks, and it’s right now that the managers are in their frenzied meetings and negotiations, performing the real-world version of swapping baseball cards with the other kids on the playground. (I hear the players with hologram faces are the most popular.) So it is that 2K Sports’ MLB Front Office Manager is out Monday. There’s the first of three trailers introducing the game below, along with ill-informed comment from the only person in England who could care less.

In its continuing bid to be EA Sports, 2K Sports had its NHL and NBA games out at the end of last year. Only the NBA game made it to PC, which according to the game’s own site is, “The undisputed NBA franchise”. No one can dispute that, certainly. (But EA’s NBA Live 09 players are certainly undisputed in their disgusting, melting faces). Anyway, that’s got nothing to do with anything, as the label turns its attention toward a baseball management sim – a sport EA don’t do anything with. Trailer first:

It seems pretty involved, which is the key element of a management game. To be successful, playing it has to be only slightly more convoluted and time consuming that actually doing the job for real. This looks like it’s getting close, although you have to wonder quite how important it was to let you choose what clothes your imaginary manager is wearing. The second trailer, on the game’s site, shows you the extraordinary depths into which you must swim when choosing your roster for the new season. Apparently the unreleased third edition will finally show the gameplay management, which you’d think might have been slightly more of a priority to boast about than being able to choose which colour tie to wear.

Things have been quiet from Out Of The Park Developments for nearly a year now, and hopefully they’re working on a sequel to the superb Out Of The Park Baseball 9. But MLB FOM could be some competition for them, especially with the 3D game engine briefly glimpsed in the trailer, and the fact that 2K have licensed the shit out of it, making sure to have all the current MLB data.

A post for our American readers there.

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13 Comments »

  1. DoomMunky says:

    I like this addition to the PC roster, mainly because my brother will eat it up. But he’d REALLY like a sequel to the MLB 2005 game EA released way the hell back in, well, 2005. More baseball games, dangit!

  2. Oak says:

    Mattingly! Shave those sideburns!

  3. Pags says:

    At first I thought this might have something to do with Solecismic Software’s Front Office Football, but uh… it doesn’t. Hopefully 2K don’t start flexing their wallet at Solecismic when they see another American-sports sim with a similar name doing well for itself.

  4. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    Oh, you’re loving this aren’t you John. This is like ambrosia for you. A game about baseball? You’re so there.

    (Disclosure: User may or may not have been drunk while writing this comment.)

  5. RealHorrorshow says:

    “A post for our American readers there.”

    Nobody watches baseball outside of a few select markets like Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, NYC, etc. If you want to pander to the rogue colony, I’m sure there’s a(n American) Football manager out there somewhere.

  6. leeder_krenon says:

    Where can you get this in the UK?

    There is an NFL manager game, Pags already mentioned it -

    http://www.solecismic.com

    It’s decent but has needed an interface haul for about, ooh, 6 years now. This game and OOTPs interface would be great. OOTPs game and FOFs interface would be the equivalent of stabbing yourself in the eye with a splintered baseball bat.

  7. DAL says:

    This has gotten terrible reviews. Check it out on metacritic. It ain’t looking good. OOTP is still the undisputed king of baseball management sims, I think.

  8. Jason Moyer says:

    I’ve always wished FOF would team up with Markus at OOTP to work on an interface overhaul, because the game has always been utterly brilliant as an American football sim.

    As far as MLB:FOM goes, I’m going to give it a try because it looks interesting. I really doubt it will hold a candle to even the older line of OOTP (1.0 to 6.5) but it certainly looks better than Baseball Mogul or something.

    FWIW, I wouldn’t take mainstream reviews of the game seriously, as most of the complaints I’ve been seeing so far are things I’m basically expecting, like an Xbox review complaining about the menus – can anyone honestly imagine trying to play something like OOTP with a gamepad? I’d gouge my eyes out.

  9. LEEDER KRENON says:

    i think OOTP is popular because there are no other options. it’s like if someone said “hey, today we are going to kick you in the nuts, or kick you in the nuts, which would you prefer?”

    like football manager, the game has gotten bloated on irrelevant new features instead of tuning the old ones. the developer listens to people who shout louder than everyone else on the forum.

  10. zor says:

    OOTP got popular because it was the best. PureSim provided stiff competition though, and Sullivan is at work on a new baseball title now he has joined Gary Gorski’s Wolverine Studios team.

    I do agree OOTP has been destroyed by the brief tenure under the SI banner, but if you go back to the final version before the change of direction you’ve got a superb example of a baseball text sim.

  11. phuzz says:

    I’ve always wondered John (Walker), how come you know anything about baseball?
    (it’s just quite unusual for a brit is all)

  12. Kieron Gillen says:

    For an left-of-Baukinin guy, John’s got a total hard-on for USA pop culture.

    KG

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