R.B.I. Baseball is coming back after almost 20 years.
Major League Baseball announced last night that it’s making its own baseball game for mobile and home consoles.The league’s reviving the “R.B.I. Baseball” name, which was the title of publisher Namco’s beloved 1988 Nintendo Entertainment System classic. The new entry in the series, known as R.B.I. Baseball ’14, should debut this spring.
The MLB didn’t specify a lot of details about the game, but it did reveal that MLB Advance Media is developing it. The studio is producing the game for a wide range of systems (mobile and consoles), which makes R.B.I. Baseball MLBAM’s most ambitious project yet.
MLBAM previously developed a suite of mobile games and apps. Most recently, it released MLB.com Franchise MVP for iOS and Android. This simulation captures the experience of a young prospect moving from the minor leagues to the big show.
We’ve reached out to MLBAM to ask what it is going for with R.B.I. The studio hasn’t detailed whether it wants to make the game a hardcore simulation or an easier, arcade-style experience. We’ll update this post with any new information.
Last season, consoles only saw two licensed MLB games: the Sony-system exclusive MLB 13 The Show and 2K’s MLB 2K 13. Publisher 2K recently revealed, however, that it did not plan on making a new MLB 2K title for the 2014 season. That left a void in the market on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
MLBAM is obviously preparing to fill that void.
R.B.I. Baseball debuted first in Japan as Pro Yakyuu Family Stadium in 1986. Publisher Tengen, a subsidiary of Namco, brought the game to North America with the MLB license. It was the first game on a console to feature the official license of America’s pastime.
The NES original is considered one of the best sports games of its era. It spawned a number of sequels, including Super R.B.I. Baseball for the Super Nintendo in 1995. The franchise went dormant after that.