Batter up, again? (Credit: MLB)
The gaming world thought it had said R.I.P. to R.B.I. Baseball in 1995, but the long-dormant sports franchise is coming off of the bench.
Major League Baseball has revealed plans to bring back the series that debuted on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986. In a succinct announcement, MLB Advanced Media said it would be bringing R.B.I. to "current- and next-generation consoles and smartphones and tablets." The league didn’t offer any additional details.
R.B.I. makes its return at a time when baseball video games appear to be thinning out. A multi-year contract between the league and publisher 2K Sports, creators of the once-mighty MLB2K series, ended in 2012, and 2K was wary of signing another after losing millions of dollars from the deal.
The two worked ultimately put out a 2013 version of the game that was panned as a virtual clone of the 2012 edition. Sales, which were already flagging, dropped even more. 2K Sports made the separation official earlier this month, effectively ending the series.
Even Electronic Arts, which before MLB’s exclusive deal with 2K Sports had its own baseball game, has said it has no interest in the category.
"We've been great partners with Major League Baseball over the years, but the landscape for baseball games [has changed]," said EA COO Peter Moore in 2012. "[There have been] no discussions about the console business."
That left Sony Computer Entertainment's MLB 14 The Show as the only baseball game due this year. Until now.
R.B.I. Baseball 14 will be MLB’s first in-house attempt at a full scale video game. The division heading the charge, MLB Advanced Media, generally works on streaming content and recently partnered with the WWE for that company’s upcoming online network.
They better get it right. The R.B.I. Baseball series is a favorite among classic gaming buffs. It got its start in 1986 on the NES in Japan and ultimately gave birth to eight titles, the last being 1995’s Super R.B.I. Baseball on the SNES.
There were some whispers the game might return in 2008 when an ESRB listing for an Xbox Live Arcade title entitled “R.B.I. Baseball” popped up, but the game never appeared. It’s unclear if the MLB announcement has anything to do with that game.
In case you can't remember the original, check out this amazing R.B.I Baseball take on Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Sorry, Sox fans.
- Sports & Recreation
- Major League Baseball
- MLB Advanced Media
- 2K Sports
- Nintendo Entertainment System
- baseball game