Thanks to the rise of the polar vortex and the Weather Channel’s so not funny naming of winter storms, it’s harder than ever to conjure up thoughts of baseball this winter. Short of a literal hot stove, you know what might help? Dreaming about the next game in the “Out of the Park Baseball” series.
Consider this some dream fuel: “Out of the Park Baseball 15″ (or “OOTP 15,” to prevent some of my slide toward carpal tunnel syndrome) is officially on its way to PC, Mac and Linux come April. Out of the Park Developments has revealed some of the key new features for this year’s iteration, along with some pre-order deals and giveaways for anyone who orders early.
Here’s a quick overview of the major features:
- 2014 Major League Opening Day Rosters – Somewhat self-explanatory, right? “OOTP 15″ will once again include every major league team’s real players all the way down to rookie leagues rated by Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA system. The Venezuelan and Dominican summer leagues are on board for the first time just in case you thought there was a lack of players before.
- 3D Ballpark Support and In-Game Ball Flight – Eventually, “OOTP” is going to have full 3D graphics for its gameplay. This year’s game sees the first step completed toward that goal, with a fully editable 3D stadium model that can be used to create exact virtual replicas of any ballpark and a new view that allows the viewing of ball trajectories hit in those fields. Modders should go to town on this.
- Additional Real International Leagues – Baseball is an international game, and “OOTP 15″ reflects that with leagues from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, Cuba, The Netherlands and Italy included. Players can even go from the U.S. overseas or vice versa.
- New Ratings System – Tired of not knowing whether a 60 power rating is good for a third baseman? Instead of absolute numbers, this year’s game has an option to calculate ratings based on the averages at each position for your league at the beginning of each season. That makes it simple: 50 is average for any rating. The system is optional but should prove popular.
- Revamped Interface – The big change is support for widescreen display resolutions, but OOTP Developments has revamped the look of almost every important information screen. And with the introduction of the international leagues, new screens help keep tabs on baseball all around the world.
- Historical League Improvements – The devs have made it easier to start exactly the type of historical league you want to play. Set one up with teams from different decades, invent a league with a custom historical player pool, etc.
That’s just the beginning, as “OOTP 15″ has more new features that you can read about here. And the game is always being worked on right up until release, so you can almost guarantee some surprises will make their way in before April.
Pre-orders are already underway for PC and Mac as well as Linux at the discounted price of $34.99 until February 16. Taking the plunge now gets you a free Steam key, three days early access at launch, plus entry into a sweepstakes that could get you a 64GB iPad Air, a Microsoft Surface, Amazon Gift Cards, or the chance to be immortalized in-game as an above average prospect in the 2014 first-year player draft.
See? Winter is fading away already. Thanks OOTP!