Live MLB 2K8 Conference Call Coverage

1:38 PM: Welcome everyone to coverage of the conference call with Ben Brinkman and 2K. The show should hit the road officially in about 20 minutes. Expect to hear some good information as the press plays pepper asking various questions regarding MLB 2K8.

2:00 PM: The show is on the road here we go.

2:02 PM: Going over what we are going to be talking about and it looks like we lost him LOL.

2:02 PM: Someone sounds like there’s a ton of wind on the call I hope whoever it is turns it off.

2:03 PM: Here we go. Overview starting. Ben is speaking. First year on Wii, long time on PS. Knows they needed to alot of content to the game. Talking about only minor updates made between 2K6 and 2K7. Knew they had to add new stuff in there. I am recording the call so audio will posted afterward. New AI for pitching, batting, throwing, 90 playable minor league teams added from A to AAA. New trading card feature? Says it’s deep and immersive. But how does it play on the field?

2:06 PM: Questioning is about to begin. Will have some times afterward for newer questions. More technical difficulties.

2:07 PM: Going to start talking about the new pitching interface. Wanted to utilize controls to the highest level and thats how right analog controls came out. They knew the secod 2K7 was over they had to try something new. Came with idea from Tiger Woods and Fight Night to focus on more natural and organic feeling. Wanted to make it feel like you were actually throwing the ball. Says it’s complex on paper but not in practice. Says once you’re used to it it’s quite intuitive.

2:09 PM: Year’s past were able to pin corners. Not anymore, if you miss a little bit you’ll miss in the middle. Also, pitcher 5 will have a harder time to hit the spots than your 1 as the 5th pitcher should. The demo should be out soon. Production time start to finish on production is once one is done, the next one is started. So about a whole year. Cycle is 10 to 11 months. Most important aspect to gamers is playing a good game of baseball. Feature is deep, but if the game play isn’t great nobody is going to want to see the other features.

2:10 PM: Talking about the trading card feature? MY question asked regarding demo. DEMO IS IN SUBMISSION TO BOTH XBOX LIVE AND PSN. Question about mo cap: Uses mo cap for all animations in the game, watches lots of tapes. Used actors to mo cap the signature mo caps. Two and a half weeks of mo cap done for the new animation set. Especially in fielding mo cap was intense, also 2 new swing mo caps.

2:12 PM: My question again about 30 or 60 FPS. Says will be about 60, never 30 on all consoles. Optimization was very heavy. PS3 seems to be the problem child but that was fixed. Xbox 360 was smooth. No drastic differences between consoles.

2:14 PM: New cards already in submission for release. Lock down date for uniforms and teams, his card was on twins and now on a DLC package he will be on the Mets. A question about favorite achievement, card battle achievement is his favorite. I hope he talks about game play more. Here we go, discussing the card game. The idea of the card game is now being explained. Wants to enhance replayability and came up with the idea of trading cards. Each team has 12 to 15 trading cards you can earn. Now have reason to play with more teams. (Hi XBL team whores who use Sox and Yankees). For example, steal 3 bases with Ichiro and get a card. Within card, there are tiers from least rare to most rare. Also, depends on difficulty. So if on legend, high chance of earning rarest card. Lower earn lesser.

2:16 PM: Can also get cards by earning wild cards such as hitting a single or wild card. Get a random card or a pack of cards. Sounds sort of interesting. Whoever is on windows with the chime needs to turn it off. Can trade the cards and put together a card team with a salary cap. Each card has a value and play offline and online and play a card battle. Magic for baseball? Uhh……wow. Sounds interesting. Can make your own unis, names, etc.

2:18 PM: Says the testers are still trying to earn cards. Spent like 5 minutes talking about. What Ai tweaks have been made? How is fielding? Lots of tweaks. Bigger ones are batting and pitching are redone from the ground up. Allowed them to make hitters hit more like their real life counterparts. Knows singles and home runs cry from last year’s game. Says it’s been fixed. Fielders will not always take the perfect line on the ball. Wall climbs will be rare and missing will be more likely. More doubles, triples, weak nubbers in front of home. Across the game strived to fix what’s been missing over the year and lacking in sim. On the pitcher side, the pitcher is more intelligent. Ball in dirt animations, block the ball animations. On the hitting side comes to to who it is, where the pitch is, whose pitching, and will get a realistic result. On baserunning, wanted players to make better decisions. Runners will freeze on baseline. Will not run into outs anymore. In run down, will force the player to come get you rather than you running into him. Double play system overhauled, take out, jumping. In field to home to first double play, crazy AI work under the hood.

2:22 PM: Wow long winded last year. The biggest challenge is getting done before the season. How do you balance innovation and pick up and playability? Absolutely aware new players could be turned off by right stick. His theory on games he wants gamers to learn it over the time rather than pick up and master and keep challenging himself. Out of the box, if you don’t know what you’re doing it’s not easy. I’ll remember this line for my review.

2:23 PM: Says pitch learning curve is 5 to 10 minutes. Says its rewarding and closest to throwing a baseball. Speaking of 3 year plan. Year 2 was adding depth (2K7) and still delivering a great game of baseball. Can’t really talk about 2K9 yet but improvements will be made.

2:25 PM: Questions about home runs being too easy and robbing them too easy. Says they’ve leveled that out fairly well. Wanted to take it back and play a better game of baseball. Reiterate how much they re-wrote. 2K7 did sort of need it. We’ll see how it stacks up against the Show. Says you will notice the difference between difficulty levels.

2:26 PM: Wow someone asked if this was a roster update to 2K7. LOL.

2:27 PM: Last year was about looking good more than feeling good. Good, cause last year was terrible. New wall climb mechanic. Dives are instant. No icon comes up delaying your dive. You will know when to go for it unlike last year.

2:28 PM: Feature that feels closest to true life is pitching. Boy, this better knock our socks off. They are hounding on pitching all day long about how good it feels and how interactive it is. “Living the baseball dream like Josh Beckett”.

2:29 PM: There is a major difference between 2K7 and 2K8. Any chances to mold better stats for more realistic results in the sim engine? Considered licensing 3rd party sim engines and they reworked themselves so stats will be more realistic stats after sims.

2:30 PM: Question about camera and ball trajectory. Says it’s been fixed. Split between 2K6 and 7 as a better sense of speed and pitch trajectory. Did a lot of work so you do not run by balls and make it easier to determine what’s going on. How much will a batters hot and cold zones play? Will play a huge role, but not over the top. If you throw to red will get burned. If you throw to cold zone all the time, the chances the batter will hit the ball go up. Sounds like old games.

2:33 PM: If you hate the new controls, all the iterations are available. First choice on options list actually. If you use them, 2K refers to the control scheme is simple. LOL. Wow. Another interesting answering.

2:34 PM: Will not get locked into catches super early and added new controls for that. New mechanic is not perfect and nor does he think there ever will be. Maybe I am reading in between the lines but they’re playing it very safe with the answers right now in this call.

2:36 PM: Bounce and off line throws are in for infielders to first base. First basemen will need to scoop the ball. Somebody just croaked and died I am pretty sure. LOL. Again, reiterating ball trajectory is much improved overall. Question about fatigue bug in league? The fatigue has been fixed!

2:38 PM: If it’s possible off the bat. Batting and physics engine will make it happen. No zone hitting in 2K7. Has classic button hitting, swing stick hitting, and now swing stick 2.0 . Also directional hitting added in as well. Question about arcade feeling in 2K8? Goal is to make it realistic. If you want arcade, go play the Bigs (I so endorse this). Santana might strike out 10 guys a game every time. Wow. Question about lineup management by CPU? Says lineup management has been improved greatly. Schedule for roster updates will be as much as we need to. One will be done on or near ship, on opening day, and then at least one more at the all star breaks, trade deadline, second deadline, and post season. AKA rosters should be up to date through the season. Users CANNOT share rosters over live.

2:41 PM: When they include Japanese players. They extrapolate Japanese info to MLB. Franchise mode questions coming.

2:42 PM: CPU teams in franchise mode will go after their needs rather than stock piling talent. Added ability to pick which stadium you want to play in. Can control CPU’s lineup and change it if you’d like it. Experience tailored to player. Minors will be playable in franchise mode. YES GUY WITH CRAP PHONE LEFT. Mark this time down. 18 authentic minor league stadiums in the game. Will people really play the minor league? Seriously?

2:44 PM: Will try to edit as minor league players as we can. Wow is there static on the line now. Wii version question. Fixed feedback issue. Wii version contains all mode. No online, no card games, and no minor leagues. Wow, Giimped again on the Wii. Not for the hardcore sim people. More for families on the Wii. Ouch.

2:46 PM: What features enhanced for the Wii? Gameplay is king on the Wii. First baseball sim on the Wii. Focused on batting, pitching, throwing, and running. Cue up: O RLY. Easy to pick and play apparently.

2:47 PM: Matchmaking is based on Wins and Losses and who they were against. Rank system kind of like Madden it sounds. Takes into account who you’re playing rather than just straight wins and losses.

2:48 PM: Partnered with a renowned music company to have a great diverse music soundtrack. Strokes, Modest Mouse, etc. A bunch of sound tracks we can’t hear. Will not be able to fix Cleveland Rocks in Fenway. Wow.

2:49 PM: Red sox will be in the demo. I take it so will the Rockies. Cloth ripply and bat crack question. Sound of bat always sounds the game, will bat crack have different sounds when you hit the ball? All new bat sounds are added. Only one bat sound used in teaser trailer. Multiple bat cracks based on where and speed.

2:51 PM: This year’s online game type will use advanced. But can have games with simplistic. You can decide ahead of time. (Thank you 2K)

2:52 PM: PS3 accomplishment questions. No support for Sony. No soup for you, just achievements for Xbox live. Swing stick 2.0 is just right stick. Not integrated into the six axis controller.

2:53 PM: On the Wii will swinging be one to one? Has noticed no lag at all thus far. Allows you to move bat back n forth. Never noticed any lag.

2:54 PM: Have online league management tools been redefined? And this guy ducked out after asking that. No more trades not working and players be randomly dropped.

2:56 PM: What did they do to make it more accessible to the casual gamer? LOL Like the Wii gamer! hehe. Tried to make the game scalable. Hardcore can mess with sliders. 2K7 bets will spend little time on pro then go to all star or legend. Added tutorial for pitching and added in more tips and cues to help you play the game.

2:57 PM: Anything online for the Wii? No updates, no nothing for the Wii. Ouch, Wii getting killed. Minor league teams are playable online and everywhere. Question about gimmick pitches? Outlawed ethus pitch online. If you do hit it, it will go far because they lowered the stats so low.

2: 58 PM: Tweaking to having fast runners thrown out going 1st to 3rd and 2nd to home. Accuracy, velocity, and a ton of other stuff tweaked so faster runners get there when they should. Cool sequence, where outfielder throws down the line and catcher lunges back at player coming home. Sounds pretty freakin sweet.

3:00 PM: What didn’t make it into year 2, that will make it into year 3. Will not go into detail now. Has a few tricks up their sleeves in 2K9. Says more to do in franchise with card game.

3:01 PM: Any improvements to suicide squeeze? Fixed exploit on squeeze. On the Wii, is the new pitching system and AI improvements in? Use Wiimote to pitch. The AI has also been improved on the Wii side.

3:02 PM: Payoff pitching is more analog. A lot cooler this year than last year’s. Just a small tweak. Question about online and pausers? Fixed a lot of online pausing. Does not know if they fixed that one specifically. Question about resolution between PS3 and Xbox 360 versions? All versions of the game last year ran at 1080i.

3:04 PM: Joe and Jon did not do new recordings for the year. But stuff from last year that didn’t make it in was added to result in less rep. We’ll see. No way to turn off home run camera. But only for obvious, deep home runs.

3:05 PM: PS3 may have custom soundtracks supported in the PS3 version. No dual shock support for the PS3. Potentially to be added for PS3. Bases loaded walks can happen. This year, you can easily walk someone. Can easily miss especially if you are aiming for the corner. Aiming for believable walks.

3:07 PM: Pitch control will be tied to the pitcher’s rating. So throw the best pitch to be accurate. Jaba Chamberlain will be on the opening day roster.

That concludes the call guys. I will work on the audio for the call but someone made it rain static at the end. If it sounds decent enough I will post if not I won’t. Look for the review of this one in the coming days right here at 2OpGaming.com .