Just in time for the holidays, Canadian indie studio Metalhead Software released the first gameplay footage of Super Mega Baseball 2 today, in a video focusing on the game’s revised visuals.
The original Super Mega Baseball, which debuted in December 2014, was one of the biggest surprises of that year — a game with a kid-oriented art style that belied a fundamentally solid simulation of baseball underneath. If Super Mega Baseball’s success is anything to go by, its sequel could be a game of the year contender next year (for sports fans, at least).
Metalhead co-founder Scott Drader, who appears in and narrates the video, told Polygon this summer that the one major area in which the first Super Mega Baseball received negative feedback was its art style. Many people loved the game, but found the virtual players’ exaggerated proportions off-putting. Super Mega Baseball 2 will retain its predecessor’s cartoony visuals, but with players who are more recognizable as human beings.
“I’m personally very excited about that, because I’m looking forward to the gameplay animations conveying a better sense of athleticism,” Drader said in the video.
In addition, Metalhead is taking advantage of physically based rendering, a graphics technique in which surfaces and materials react to light more realistically: The hard plastic of a helmet might reflect the sun’s glare, while the padding on an outfield fence will look more dull in the sunlight.
For more on Super Mega Baseball 2, check out our full interview with Drader. The game is set for release in mid-2017 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.