You may have read that a recent release by the Electronic Software Ratings Board (ESRB) revealed a couple of new titles planned for the XBox 360 Arcade. One of them was listed as RBI Baseball, published by Six Degrees Games. Yes, that RBI Baseball. Now, there were a lot of questions about whether this was actually happening - nothing was listed on the Six Degrees Games Web site, and there have been other rumors of revivals of the RBI Baseball franchise that have come to nothing. Was this just another mirage that would bring a faint glimmer of hope to the
millions thousands of fans of the greatest sports game ever created.
Well, allow me to be the first blog to officially break the news to you...
An intrepid soul (and Your Face reader...) named Beefmaster at the Dee-Nee RBI Baseball Forums (the nexus of the RBI Baseball Universe) took the time to write to Six Degrees Games to get some information. Surprisingly, he received this response soon after:
I'm a senior producer at Six Degrees Games and ultimately responsible for R.B.I. Baseball, currently being developed for Xbox LIVE.
We're not really responding to formal inquiries about the game at this time, but as R.B.I. Baseball fans, we relate to you in a big way. It's that same love for R.B.I. Baseball that made us sidetrack from the development of our virtual world (Action AllStars for young sports enthusiasts) in order to remake this awesome game for LIVE.
It's not a port, but the re-write is being done by people who were members of the old R.B.I. Baseball development team, and so a lot of the old nuances are being preserved. It's still easy, fast and fun baseball that doesn't require a complicated control scheme and it will feature the present day MLB teams and players.
We're having a ball testing it! The feedback from external groups is really positive, and I hope you can wait just a little longer while we put the final tuning on the game. There's not much more I can say than that, and I won't be able to answer any direct questions at this time.
Of course, the big news here is that it is official: Six Degrees Games is in the process of creating a new version of RBI Baseball for the XBox 360 Arcade. Which is pretty much enough reason for me to immediately run to Best Buy and get an XBox 360 JUST TO BE READY FOR IT.
But it also leaves a lot of questions unanswered: how similar is this going to be to the original version; can you create a new version for the XBox and keep the same feel and simplicity that has made RBI Baseball such a cult hit more than two decades later; who are these mysterious "members of the old R.B.I. Baseball development team" that Jason is talking about (as far as is common knowledge, Peter Lipson is the only person who was involved with the port from the Japanese Famicom version to the American RBI Baseball - are they bringing back the old Famicom development team); and most importantly - will Manny Ramirez be fat, white and approximately 400 pounds in the new version of the game? (We know the answer to two-thirds of that question for David Ortiz.)
I'm sure that there will be a crusty sub-section of the RBI Baseball community that will be pissed off at the new version, no matter what the development team does. And Six Degrees Games is a new company with a track record to feel good or bad about.
Me? If there's a chance, even remote, that I can hit a baseball that goes through the right field wall for a home run, I'll be a happy man.