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.