Interview: Sony’s Scott McCarthy on MLB 11: The Show, PS3 lineup, and 3rd parties

With MLB 11: The Show‘s March release fast approaching, we sat down with Scott McCarthy, senior brand manager for MLB: The Show software, for a quick chat about the upcoming game, PlayStation 3’s lineup in general, its competitors, and 3rd-party exclusives.

Last year’s release of MLB 10: The Show included a plethora of new features: Home Run Derby, the ability to play as the field general, a new camera system, etc. What’s new in MLB 11: The Show that really stands out in comparison to last year?

For 11, this year, we have a lot that’s new. Home Run Derby has the [PlayStation] Move enabled. The entire game is in 3D, if you have a 3DTV; it’s stereoscopic 3D, so the certain glasses also help. We’ve introduced co-op mode for the first time in the game. We also have a brand new way to control the game in general, which is with the analog sticks. The previous way — the default was digital, with the buttons — now we give players the option to use either the buttons or the thumb sticks to control the game and all of the action. It’s a pure system, so it’s pure pitching, pure throwing, and pure hitting.

Regarding the Move compatibility, will we see it in modes other than Home Run Derby?

No, it’s just Home Run Derby.


Yeah! It’s actually because there’s so many little bits that go into each player, we only had time to include Move implementation into Home Run Derby. Now, future iterations of the game may include full-game implementation of the Move, but we’re still looking into that. But there’s just so much detail put into each of our player walk-ups, each of our player batting stances, and all the algorithms that go into when you swing the bat versus when you make contact with the ball, where the ball goes, etc. We wanted to make sure we had a great experience with the Move, so we honed it down to Home Run Derby.

Moving on, how do you feel about PlayStation 3’s 2011 lineup? You seem to have something that appeals to everyone.

You know what, it’s not only something that appeals to everyone, it’s multiple things that appeal to everyone. You know, we’ve got — in our shooter lineup — we kicked it off with Killzone, we’re going to follow it up with SOCOM, we’re going to follow that up with Resistance; and then, over to more of adventure games, like Uncharted 3 is going to be one of the biggest games of the year for I don’t care who you are! Anybody!

Then, there’s Twisted Metal, which is going back to old school, with the PS3 flavor on top of it. And I think it’ll surprise a lot of people, not only on how updated it is, but with how fun that kind of familiar gameplay still is. We always consider ourselves not having really — the car combat genre doesn’t exist until Twisted Metal comes out. We’re looking forward to doing that this year and relaunching that genre.

I hear you, Scott. I can’t even begin to describe my desire for Twisted Metal to release.

It’s Twisted Metal! You know what I mean? (laughs) There’s no other game like it!

There was Activision’s Blood Drive

I don’t even know what that was! (laughs) [this is what that was]

It was terrible, Scott. Moving on, how do you feel about your lineup in comparison to your competitors? Microsoft’s lineup seems to be very Kinect-focused, and Nintendo has some notables in the pipeline, as well.

Personally, I think that we’re definitely going to have that Move software lineup that appeals to a gamer that wants a motion experience. We’re also going to have a lineup for core gamers — we know where our bread is buttered. We have a lot of games lined up for gamers, and we’re going to have just as much success on the Move side, as well.

The battle for 3rd party exclusives seems to be dwindling down this generation. More 3rd parties are choosing the multiplatform route. You guys have a few in your lineup — No More Heroes and Ar Tonelico 3 come to mind. Is Sony still working with 3rd parties to secure exclusives or…?

We work very closely with our 3rd parties publishers, not necessarily to lock down games exclusively, but to lock up exclusive parts of games. A good example is Batman: Arkham Asylum, where you could only play as the Joker on PlayStation 3. When you make a title exclusive, you limit its promotional power; we don’t want to do that. We want games to be as big as possible — it’s great for the industry. However, we want to make sure that you play it on the best system possible, so we like to take parts of games and make them exclusive to the PlayStation system.

Thanks for your time, Scott.

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