MLB 14: The Show released today, and one of the franchise’s best visual improvements is in the stands. They’re some of the best-looking crowds in any sports game to come out, and it’s for good reason: they’re all modeled after real people. Most of them aren’t just actors or paid extras, though: they’re members of The Show‘s development team and family! Ramone Russell, a lead designer for MLB 14: The Show told us while at an event hosted in San Francisco for winners of a LIVE 105.5 radio contest.
After loading up a game in AT&T Park, he paused the game and panned the camera out to the crowd, when a Sony PR rep pointed at the screen. “Zoom in, zoom in,” he said as Russell focused in on a crowd member wearing a San Francisco Giants baseball cap and jacket. “That’s Ramone!” Ramone then panned over to a couple of kids to the left, who were actually the twin children of a member of the dev team.
When asked how long it took to run the scans of the staff members, Russell explained that the process was actually fairly simple. “Getting them in the game is the hard part, [but] the scanning process takes maybe two minutes. You sit down, there’s this giant camera rig, it takes a bunch of pictures. Then we’ll have them you do some various facial expressions like scream…and then we take all that data, export it over, and the artists take a couple months putting it into the game.”
Even with that said, there were some humorous hiccups along the way. “A problem that we had this year was that when the girls get scanned in, they didn’t know this, but they couldn’t wear makeup, but you know women are very particular about their makeup. Once we put them in the game, we had to use post-effects and add makeup…that’s kinda how it worked out.”
For some further dev team proof, here’s a zoom of the screen where Ramone was pointed out, followed by a picture of him standing next to GotGame’s Steve Masters. See the resemblance?
Yearly sports titles get a lot of flack for releasing the same game over and over again, but combining subtle graphic enhancements with new gameplay modes has been what’s put The Show in the spotlight and benched 2K’s MLB franchise. Hopefully other sports franchises will take heed and keep their series fresh as well.
What do you think of MLB 14: The Show? Do you recognize anyone in the crowd? Let us know in the comments!