Baseball legend Ken Griffey Jr. is returning to the world of video games as the cover athlete for MLB The Show 17, publisher Sony Interactive Entertainment announced today.
MLB 17 will be released March 28, 2017, on PlayStation 4. Sony has not announced the game for any other platforms, and the company confirmed to Polygon that it has killed off the PlayStation 3 version. That means 2017 will be the second year in a row Sony has ended support for a platform — this year, the company did not release MLB The Show 16 on PlayStation Vita. MLB The Show had been released on PS3 every year since 2007.
Griffey played 22 MLB seasons spanning parts of four decades, from his debut with the Seattle Mariners in 1989 to his final game with the club — he returned there after spending time with the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox — in 2010. "The Kid" hit 630 home runs during his career, good for sixth on the all-time list, and the 13-time All-Star was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year with a record 99.32 percent of the vote.
It’s been more than 15 years since Griffey was featured on the cover of a video game, but he was a household name for gamers as well as baseball fans during the ’90s. Nintendo published four games starring Griffey, beginning with 1994’s Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball on the SNES — which had real MLB stadiums and teams, but no real players except for Griffey himself — and ending in 1999 with Ken Griffey Jr.’s Slugfest on the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color. You can see the full MLB 17 box art below.
In addition to gracing the cover of MLB 17, Griffey will be featured as one of the playable baseball legends in the game. Playable legends debuted in MLB 15 The Show, and MLB 16 had a total of 60, including all-time greats such as Jackie Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr. and Reggie Jackson. The athletes are available as free agents in Franchise mode if you enable them in the settings, and in Diamond Dynasty.
MLB 17 will be available on its own for $59.99, and in three special editions. For the second year in a row, Sony will release a $69.99 MVP Edition that is geared toward Diamond Dynasty players. It will include 5,000 Stubs (the series’ in-game currency), one Sponsor Pack, 10 Standard Packs, a gold-level Season Starter Pack and 31 PS4 themes, and it will come in a Steelbook case featuring Griffey’s Seattle Mariners jersey.
The other two versions of MLB 17 will each cost $99.99. MLB 17’s Digital Deluxe Edition comes with everything in the MVP Edition — aside from the case, since it’s a digital product — as well as a diamond Season Starter Pack, a Digital Deluxe Pack, 10 additional Standard Packs (for a total of 20), 6,000 more Stubs (11,000 total) and 31 themed PS4 avatars. The package is available exclusively on the PlayStation Store.
MLB 17’s Hall of Fame Edition includes everything in the MVP Edition, plus an actual New Era 9FIFTY snapback baseball cap, a diamond Season Starter Pack, 6,000 additional Stubs (11,000 in all) and a digital version of the hat for use in Diamond Dynasty. It will be sold only at GameStop in the U.S. and EB Games in Canada.
Anyone who pre-orders any edition of MLB 17 will get 10 free Standard Packs and a virtual Griffey trading card for Diamond Dynasty. GameStop pre-order customers will also receive five extra Standard Packs, while PlayStation Store pre-order customers will immediately get 11,000 Stubs for use in MLB 16.
For more on MLB 16, read our review.
Update: A representative for Sony Interactive Entertainment confirmed to Polygon that developer SIE San Diego Studio is "focused on supporting PS4 only moving forward." We’ve edited the article to reflect this.