In 1986, Namco launched RBI Baseball for the NES (Famcom in Japan), and it grew into a household name before Time Warner Interactive's RBI Baseball 95, the heretofore last game in the series. Now, the MLB will publish RBI Baseball 14 on April 10, and MLBAM Vice President of Games Jaime Leece expects the game will remain faithful to the treasured series.

Much like those classic games, the developer created three body types and preset batting stances for those character models as opposed to painstakingly differentiating every batter. And while NES games in the late 1980s were naturally restricted to two face buttons and a d-pad, Leece's team intentionally opted for two-button controls for the modern take on the baseball game. Leece believes that these decisions immediately separate the game from other sports games in the genre.

"When you take away the barrier of control, it leaves the competition pure," Leece told Joystiq. "It's you against me, it's not your dexterity versus my dexterity. Having to deal with button combinations and things like that creates an extra challenge that's, I think unnecessary and certainly gets in the way of the enjoyment of the product itself."
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RBI Baseball 14 (03/12/2014)

Announced in January, RBI Baseball 14 is in development for Xbox 360, PS3, iOS and Android with PS4 and Xbox One versions slated to arrive "very soon after" the others. It will feature all 30 MLB teams but is limited in scope to roughly 16 active players per team, 480 athletes in total. Also like the RBI Baseball games players used to enjoy, it includes a local multiplayer mode for two players, but no online multiplayer functionality, plus the mobile version of the game won't feature multiplayer at all.

Unlike other modern sports sims, RBI Baseball 14 doesn't include a career mode, but does have exhibition, season and post-season options. Each team will feature one unlockable jersey, available through custom team challenges in season mode, such as a Montreal Expos uniform for the Washington Nationals. Leece stressed of the game's simplified core experience that the developer "wanted to bring you back to the emotion that made this [genre of games] so well remembered and revered. And we needed to get that right first."

RBI Baseball 14 will be a digital-only game, so it won't appear on store shelves next to Sony's MLB 14: The Show next month. Leece, a 25-year veteran of the industry who worked at LucasArts, Interplay and Take-Two, stressed that RBI Baseball 14 won't include any pesky microtransactions either, though he also wouldn't reveal a price for the game.
[Image: Major League Baseball Advanced Media]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.