OOTP 14 steps up to the plate this April
Sports fans have a tendency to be a little obsessive under normal circumstances, but the right sports sim can turn that into full fledged addiction. The minds at Out of the Park Developments know all about that, and they’ve got the latest iteration of their incredibly popular baseball sim, OOTP 14, ready to leave the on-deck circle and step up to the plate. Baseball fans, you might as well kiss your free time goodbye right now.
One criticism of annual sports series is that they sometimes don’t offer much more than a roster update. OOTP 14 will indeed come with accurate 2013 opening day rosters for every major league team (plus thousands of minor leaguers and recent draftees to boot), but longtime fans know they’re in store for much more than that. Since the game is already superb at simulating the performance of current and historical players, the focus this year is on making newly created players more realistic than ever.
Fresh talent in the First-Year Player Draft will now come from the USA, Canada or Puerto Rico to mirror real life. You’ll still need to have scouts keep their eyes open abroad though, as you might be able to snag amateur prospects or top free agents from other countries. The occasional diamond in the rough might even turn up in the independent leagues.
Along with the new origin system comes brand new algorithms for creating players that should yield more true to life careers and stats. Fielding got a special overhaul since young players often have to switch to less athletically demanding positions as their bodies fill out. Of course you aren’t going to recognize that without improved scouting and player development feedback, so those are in the game too. And since this is an OOTP game, many of the new features can be made optional or automated if the level of detail proves to be overwhelming.
The in-game experience is also getting some attention, including improved computer AI, more control options and better play-by-play commentary. The menus have received a bit of a coat of paint, and the always strong modder community is no doubt already gearing up to help enhance the game’s visuals. That’s already a lot of new tweaks, but you can count on the developers sneaking in some additional surprises before launch to serve as the proverbial icing on the cake.
It’s always great to see games that are the leaders in their niche refuse to rest on their laurels and continue to improve. OOTP 14 looks like it will continue its winning tradition on Windows and Mac in April, so swing away at the ‘Follow’ button on this page if you want more updates as Opening Day approaches.