Out of the Park Baseball Go released for iOS and Android this week. It’s a port of the incredibly popular baseball management game that’s been running for over two decades. We recently had a chance to chat with Rich Grisham, who has worked on OOTP for 8 years, about the challenges in bringing a PC title over to mobile and what players can expect in future updates.
Firstly, could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your role on the game?
Hi! My name is Rich Grisham, and I help run the OOTP organization as part of my overall role with GamevilCom2Us. I’ve been with OOTP for 8 years, and we’ve all been working on Go for the last 3 of those. My role in helping bring OOTP Go to the market has been centered around program management, partner relations (which for a licensed app distributed in multiple stores is a big part of the ‘hidden’ part of making a game), and marketing operations.
How have you adapted Out of the Park Baseball to ensure it works well on mobile devices?
The short answer is ‘very, very carefully’. Ha! Getting a game that has been a big, bulky PC title for two decades onto mobile devices involved a tremendous amount of work. We set out to make sure that OOTP ‘proper’ and OOTP Go are truly the same game – sharing the same code base so that we can support both of them with the same core features moving forward. That involved a tremendous amount of work in the design and software development phases. The biggest thing, frankly, is that mobile devices now are powerful enough to handle a game as complex as OOTP. Most devices that were available even 3 years ago would not be able to handle OOTP Baseball Go – but that’s no longer an issue.
What are the major differences you find when developing for mobile compared to PC?
Luckily for us, we made the decision years ago to build this from the ground up as well as to utilize the core OOTP code base. While that meant things would take a long time to develop – and that translated into years without any mobile offerings – that long-term strategy will now start to pay off for our fans because the mobile app is literally the same as the PC game. It’s the same code, the same AI, the same 3D in-game animations, the same historical seasons, the same Perfect Team system for cross-play, and the same overall experience. It took a long time for us to get here – while we were building and maintaining OOTP 19, 20, 21, and 22 of course – but now that we have arrived with Go, it’s a whole new ballgame for everyone in the OOTP community.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when looking to bring Out of the Park Baseball Go over to mobile devices?
The user interface! OOTP is known for its depth, and there are lots of screens with lots of data – which, naturally, you would expect with a sports management title. Getting all of the data – numbers, charts, graphs, text, you name it – to ‘fit’ onto smaller screens is the biggest challenge. We think we’ve done a nice job with it, and are excited to see what the players say about it!
There have been Out of the Park Baseball games on iOS and Android previously as MLB Manager. How does Out of the Park Baseball Go differ from these games? For instance, will it serve as a live service type game rather than an annual release?
OOTP Go is very different from MLB Manager. MLB Manager and OOTP were two different games with different code bases that shared virtually nothing other than some very, very utilitarian parts. After a while, supporting MLB Manager became impossible because of its legacy technology. By combining OOTP Go and OOTP ‘proper’, we’re able to make them both viable. For example, OOTP Go offers really nice 3D gameplay with fluid animations, the ability to allow people to connect with their Perfect Team, which is a live operations mode that we offer, and a whole lot more that is ‘true’ OOTP instead of ‘off-brand’ OOTP. MLB Manager did not have any capabilities for this. OOTP Go will not be an annual release; it will be updated each season with new features.
What additions can players expect in future updates? Or will this mostly be balance tweaks?
All sorts of things! We will support Go the same way we support OOTP ‘proper’ with updates all year long. This will include new features, new options, and everything new that gets introduced in our Perfect Team mode. We have already seen thousands of people download the game and play OOTP while they’re out and about – which now more people are doing than they have for more than a year. We think people will be amazed by how big, authentic, and fun OOTP Go is – and that they won’t have to have their computer with them anymore to get a real OOTP experience.