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ONE37pm Chats With Ramone Russell About 'MLB The Show 22'

mlb the show 22 interview mobile
Sony Interactive Entertainment

It's still such a trip to watch the PlayStation Studios intro play before certain games across PC, Xbox consoles, and the Nintendo Switch.

Sony clearly recognized that gamers from non-PlayStation consoles wanted to get in on all the baseball fun, which is why it decided to make its MLB The Show franchise a multiplatform series starting with MLB The Show 21. MLB The Show 22 is out right now and has fans of America's favorite pastime enjoying the only MLB game on the market across numerous last- and current-gen hardware.

ONE37pm caught up with Product Development Communications and Brand Strategist Ramone Russell, who handles his important duties for MLB The Show on behalf of Sony, and got some details on the latest series entry's development, his favorite retro baseball games, and so much more.

ONE37pm: How has the development been for this game compared to last year's entry? I figure the whole team has become more adjusted to creating games during an ongoing pandemic?

Ramone Russell: It’s definitely been an adjustment for sure, but we’re all acclimated to it now. 

ONE37pm: What made the team decide to add in new difficulty options?

Russell: The gameplay team led by Gameplay Director Chris Gill is always looking for ways to help new users become more acclimated to the game. It’s especially paramount with our platform expansion to Xbox and Nintendo over the last two years. The introduction of two new difficulty levels, Amateur and Minors, are meant to be accessible to help balance the gameplay experience for new users.

ONE37pm: What graphical and audio enhancements have been added to this latest series entry?

Russell: Senior Designers Kirby St John, Andrew Irvine, and the entire presentation/commentary teams have been hard at work on introducing a new commentary team into the MLB The Show franchise. Jon Sciambi and Chris Singleton headline our new commentary crew in MLB The Show 22. We’ve also revamped our presentation packages with new regional themes to give our fans an experience that’s closer to what they'd experience if they were watching their team on a local broadcast.

ONE37pm: And on a gameplay level, what major balance adjustments and mechanical additions have been thrown into the game?

Russell: The gameplay team has an impossible task every year of balancing the game from a video game standpoint but also staying true to real-life baseball. Baseball being a game of failure where getting a hit three out of 10 times for 20 years gets you into the Hall of Fame doesn't make our job any easier. But we love and look forward to that challenge of balance, reward, and failure every year.

For MLB The Show 22 we added PCI Anchoring to make zone hitting easier, we increased the difficulty of Pinpoint Pitching based on user feedback. The gameplay team added hundreds of new gameplay animations and the hitting engine received numerous under the hood improvements.

ONE37pm: As for the game's fan-favorite modes, what are some of the more substantial changes that have been made in this sequel?

Russell: Cross-platform 2v2 and 3v3 online Co-op comes to online play, Diamond Dynasty introduces Mini Seasons that lets you play against the CPU and you can now play multiple seasons in March To October.

ONE37pm: Besides MLB The Show of course, which past baseball games (arcade and simulation) do you regard as the very best?

Russell: As a kid, I remember playing Ken Griffey Jr’s baseball game. Those are fond memories from my childhood.

ONE37pm: Now I gotta ask - what's your favorite team? I'm talking about current and all time.

Russell: I’m a Padres fan, but my favorite team of all time that’s a hard question to answer.

ONE37pm: Current favorite player?

Russell: Shohei Ohtani without a doubt!

ONE37pm: Favorite player of all time?

Russell: Ken Griffey Jr., the smoothest baseball swing ever!

ONE37pm: If you could make a prediction as to who will be on the cover of the next MLB The Show, who would it be?

Russell: It could be any number of the fantastic, young, dynamic talented players we have in today’s game.

ONE37pm: What led to the team collectively deciding on Shohei Ohtani as the game's cover star?

Russell: This was probably the easiest cover-athlete decision we’ve ever made as a team. Shohei Ohtani is a once-in-a-lifetime talent, unanimous MVP, and no one in the game for the past 100 years has done what he did last year.

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