MLB The Show 21 dropped its second Feature Premiere on Thursday, and this time it was everything fielding. This time, San Diego Studio’s Ramone Russell sat down with veteran gameplay director (and former major leaguer) Chris Gill to go over The Show‘s fielding overhaul. Here are the highlights from what we learned over the course of the half-hour stream.
The major focus for Chris and the team was fly-ball catches and it shows. MLB The Show 21 features seven new fielding indicators assist gamers on defense. First of which is the route to ball indicator. Essentially this indicator provides you with a visual for the route you should take to the ball. Rumble feedback will be initiated when a player deviates from the route and also a line will pop up when a dive is necessary. Next up is the base for play. Now instead of an auto-throw feature like in the past for beginners, an icon will pop up showing what base the fielder should throw to.
When it comes to the catch ball indicator, it will now default to stationary for casual mode and beginners. The tag-up indicator shows an outfielder when they should get behind the ball to generate momentum and attempt to gun down a tagging runner. Robbing home runs and catches at the wall are much different than in MLB The Show 20. Three yellow arrows are now timed to turn green when the player should a jump at the wall. Another new addition is the extreme catch indicator, which used to only apply to sinking line drives. Now this risk/reward mechanic forces the player to make a decision on whether or not they should attempt a spectacular catch, or play the ball of the wall.
All of these indicators are fully customizable throughout all modes and difficulties, but they default to on when playing on casual and beginner.
Outfielding is seeing a major overhaul in MLB The Show 21. Strafing is now possible. This new feature allows users to adjust in small increments when playing a ball off the wall instead of watching their left fielder take off into a dead sprint and subsequently breaking a controller in the process. Outfielders will now automatically breakdown on defense when a player takes the right route to a ball at the wall. According to Gill, hundreds of new defensive and catch animations have been added to increase fluidity on defense. These animations also provide subtle feedback for mistakes. Jump catches have also seen some adjustments. For the first time ever, outfielders arms will now reach out over the wall when attempting to rob a homerun.
Off z-axis catches have also seen some tuning. Instead of moving the ball to the glove to help players get to those tailing ground balls, animations have been added to help facilitate defenders towards it (within reason).
These off z-axis catches also apply to the infield. Little dribblers, which have long been a problem in MLB The Show, will now play off of these z-axis catches. This applies to grounders in the hole and up the middle too. Gill believes that this makes for more efficient infield play. The added catch animations also apply to those in-between bloopers that so often were an issue for shortstops and second baseman in The Show.
Catcher pop time has now been added. This next level stat tracks the amount of time it takes for the ball to get from the catchers glove to second base on steal attempts. Anything under two seconds is considered a good pop time and quicker feet, hands, and exchanges will apply to catchers in MLB The Show 21 with the best pop time.
Other changes in MLB The Show 21
The throw accuracy meter has been adjusted. The green section remains the same and is still scaled according to a player’s throw ratings. But now instead of the red, there is a new orange area that makes things a bit more interesting if a user misses the green. Lastly. manual cutoffs are now available in online play.
MLB The Show 21 Legend Reveal
This week’s legend reveal is two-time Gold Glove Award winner Grady Sizemore. The longtime Cleveland Indians centerfielder joins Alfonso Soriano as the two legends disclosed through the Feature Premiere so far.