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EA Sports has quite a catalog of sports video game franchises under its belt. But if there’s one area where the publisher is lacking in the virtual sports world, it’s baseball — until now.
Electronic Arts recently acquired Metalhead Software, a Canada-based studio that develops the Super Mega Baseball franchise. The move now gives EA Sports a title in the baseball video game space, although it’s hardly one that will compete with the likes of Sony San Diego Studios’ MLB The Show franchise.
Whereas Sony’s MLB The Show is an authentic baseball simulation, Super Mega Baseball is more of an arcade spin on the sport. The game features fictional teams and players, and has clean, but exaggerated visuals.
Funny enough, this unique approach to baseball has worked for Metalhead Software. Super Mega Baseball has become a fairly popular hit. Although it’s not a full-fledged AAA title, the gameplay is polished and there’s enough depth with the modes and rosters to keep baseball players engaged.
Most recently, Metalhead Software released Super Mega Baseball 3, which added a Franchise mode in addition to the already existing Exhibition, Pennant Race, Season and Elimination Modes. It also features a cross-platform online mode called Online Leagues where players could create and join custom leagues to play online with friends. Super Mega Baseball 3 received mostly positive reviews and assuming EA doesn’t mess with a good formula, the franchise should thrive under the EA Sports banner.
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Electronic Arts hasn’t announced its intentions with Metalhead Software, but I assume they’ll want to continue with the Super Mega Baseball franchise. It fills a nice niche for fans who enjoy baseball but aren’t necessarily looking for something super realistic like MLB The Show. Based on EA Sports EVP and GM Cam Weber’s statement, it sounds like EA wants the franchise to continue.
“We’re all players of Super Mega Baseball, and we’ve long admired the work of the Metalhead team. It’s a unique and beloved franchise among sports gamers – the balance and depth of gameplay, and the unique style of the content make it super fun to play with friends. We look forward to supporting and investing in the team so they can continue to build out more amazing games that delight sports fans around the world. EA SPORTS continues to expand, and we’re deeply excited to create more unique and interactive experiences that blur the lines between sports and entertainment.”
EA Sports already has games that span professional football (Madden NFL), soccer (FIFA), hockey (NHL), mixed martial arts (UFC), and sometimes baseball (NBA Live). Most recently, the publisher announced a return to college sports with NCAA Football. Baseball was really the only major sport where EA never really ventured into. Now with Super Mega Baseball, they’ve got an established franchise in the sport. Let’s hope they don’t mess up a good thing.