MLB: The Show is a Major League Baseball video game series produced by SIE San Diego Studio, a development team that is part of SCE Worldwide Studios. The series debuted in 2006 for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable. There has been a new release in the series every year since 2006, with '11 being the last PS2 version. The series was on the PS3 from '07 to '16, with '17's release being the first on the PlayStation 4 exclusively. Like most sports franchises, each year features a different athlete on the cover; to commemorate his induction into baseball's hall of fame the previous year, Ken Griffey Jr. adorns the cover of '17.
The main feature of the franchise is the Road to The Show. The player makes their own Player Character from scratch to guide from tryouts in Baseball City, Florida, through the MLB draft, through any given team's AA, and then AAA, affiliates, until finally you get to the titular Show itself, the major leagues. Aside from online multiplayer, another unique mode is Diamond Dynasty, wherein you create your own MLB team (logos, uniforms, location, etc.) and wage war against the other 30 MLB franchises to become the #1 baseball team in the entire country.
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This Series Contains Examples Of...
- Developers' Foresight: Blast a home run out over the fence and hit one of the famous landmarks of a certain park? (e.g. the Liberty Bell at Citizen's Bank Park, Minnie & Paulie over Target Field, the fountain in Kauffman Stadium) There's an achievement for that!
- The game also has a control option that requires just a single button to play, designed specifically for physically disabled gamers.
- The Hero's Journey: A modern, sports-centered example of it, as detailed in Road to the Show.
- Last of Its Kind: Sony was one of six(!) companies to release a console baseball sim in 2003; today, it is the only one left on the market, and a PlayStation exclusive at that to the chagrin of baseball fans with an XBOX. And unlike similar cases in other sports game genres, this is not due to a league exclusivity deal; everyone else bowed out due to time lapsed from a prior exclusivity deal in the aughts (EA)note , poor games and sales (2K, Microsoft), studio closures (Acclaim, 3DO), and escalating license fees (EA and 2K again).
- Lucky Charms Title: Starting with MLB The Show 16, MLB is actually not spelled out on the official title logo, but represented by the MLB logo in its place.
- Market Based Cover: Starting in '12, the cover has featured different players for releases in different markets, primarily Canadian, Taiwanese, and Korean markets.
- New Season, New Name: Has happened twice in franchise history. MLB 06: The Show was the first iteration with the Road to the Show mode, and The Show subtitle was added to the game to promote it (Sony did a similar tactic with its NBA games, first with NBA 06: Featuring The Life and NBA 09: The Inside). Later, the game's official title underwent a tweak in 2016; with the game often being referred to as MLB The Show rather than MLB [year], the title was switched up to reflect it, going from MLB XX: The Show to MLB The Show XX.
- Player Character: Typically made for Road to The Show, where you choose, among other things, your position, equipment, and—starting in '17—your attitude to certain incidents that come up in Road to The Show's cutscenes.
- Character Customization: It goes beyond that. You also get to choose which songs play when your player comes to bat, hits a home run, strikes someone out, even (through uploading to the system itself) what people cheer at you while you're playing!
- Recycled Title: There's two MLB 06's in the series, but they are actually different games. MLB 06 was the first SSDS-developed game, released in 2005. The next game, released in 2006, is MLB 06: The Show, with all the annual upgrades, the new Road to the Show mode, and matching the year in the title with the release year. Unlike other sports, MLB plays its schedule within the same calendar year, so it doesn't need the year-in-advance title like Madden or NBA 2K; to avoid confusion with which game is supposed to go with a specific baseball season, baseball developers in the mid-aughts began to match title and release years.
- Scenery Porn: The stadiums are all painstakingly recreated for The Show.
- Screw Destiny: You can wait for your character to be picked in the draft...or after Baseball City, you can pick what team you want to play for and your name is automatically called when it's that team's turn to pick.