Old School Gamer Magazine chats with Out of the Park Baseball 2020 lead developer Markus Heinsohn, who lets us know what makes this version of the game a special one. A simulation and stat lover’s dream come true, this year’s OOTP Baseball the best in the series.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What makes OOTP 20 better than last year’s version?
Markus Heinsohn: We’ve got the biggest development team ever, which has allowed us to focus on a combination of new features – like our new live services for player ratings and our new 3D animations – while also diving deep into core areas like AI for scouting and trading. We’ve also made sure to be up-to-the-second with what’s happening in the real major leagues, so incorporating things like ‘openers’ to start games in short bursts has been a lot of fun. Basically, we just do everything possible every year to add new features and improve existing ones. We feel like we’ve done all that and more this season!
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s your favorite new feature?
Heinsohn: I love Perfect Team, and with our new Tournaments that are coming soon I feel like we’re opening a whole new way for people to play Out of the Park Baseball that will be a huge success. It’s such a different way for players to compete with each other – we really think it’s groundbreaking. We can’t wait for everyone to play in Perfect Team Tournaments!
Old School Gamer Magazine: What was the development cycle like?
Heinsohn: Great! We have an amazing team that is focused on the things they do best. We’ve been at this for a while and have created a lot of best practices for development, which is crucial. After all, we can’t miss a release date. We get one shot a year to release our game – missing a date is not allowable. So we have to be really, really efficient and optimized. We’ve really improved all our processes over the past few years and this year’s development process was the biggest one yet, but also the most successful.
Old School Gamer Magazine: Any major lessons learned?
Heinsohn: Always! The biggest is to not bite off more than we can chew, and to set expectations properly. We can now deliver things over the course of a year, and can plan accordingly. So, for example, we knew Tournaments wouldn’t make it in on Day 1, but we communicated that early and often and now fans can expect them next month.
Old School Gamer Magazine: What’s next?
Heinsohn: This summer, the brand-new OOTP Go will be released, which will be a new mobile experience based in the OOTP world. Not only will you be able to take Perfect Team with you wherever you go, but a bigger-than-ever mobile OOTP experience will be part of it too. It’s much broader than our MLB Manager game, which was great, but had become difficult to improve due to it being tied to an older code base. OOTP Go will be amazing – and it’s coming this year!
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the author of the book, “The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews With Cult and Classic Video Game Developers,” from McFarland And Company. Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games–including Deus Ex, NHLPA 93, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam–the book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) games of all time. Recounting endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega-publishers and the uncertainties of public reception, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced some of gaming’s classic titles.