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Super Mega Baseball 3 announced, coming in April

Acclaimed indie baseball series gets Franchise mode, visual overhaul

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Super Mega Baseball, the beloved series of accessible baseball games from Canadian indie developer Metalhead Software, will continue next month with Super Mega Baseball 3, the studio announced Wednesday.

Super Mega Baseball 3 is in development on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One, with cross-platform play across all four versions supported in the head-to-head Pennant Race mode. The game is scheduled to be released in April, the first full month of the real-life baseball season. Metalhead did not provide a specific date, but a spokesperson for the studio told Polygon that on launch day, a free trial of the game will be available on all platforms with “limited access to game modes,” including Pennant Race.

For those unfamiliar with the Super Mega Baseball franchise, it represents a kind of sports game that really doesn’t exist anymore. It falls somewhere between arcade-style games such as NBA Jam and photorealistic, officially licensed simulation titles like MLB The Show: There are no power-ups or physics-defying feats to be found, but the cartoonish visuals belie an authentic representation of the sport of baseball that is nonetheless approachable regardless of your skill level.

Metalhead touted Super Mega Baseball 3’s “vastly refined graphics” in a news release, and although the art style does not appear to have changed much from 2018’s Super Mega Baseball 2, it’s clear from the announcement trailer and screenshots that the graphics are indeed much sharper this time around. Another key visual upgrade is the introduction of “unique day, night and alternate lighting conditions” for each of the game’s 14 ballparks, a feature that you can catch in action at the very beginning of the trailer.

The trailer’s gameplay footage is in 4K resolution at a frame rate of 60 frames per second. A Metalhead representative clarified to Polygon that Super Mega Baseball 3 will run at 60 fps on all platforms, with 4K support available only on PC — just like its predecessor. Super Mega Baseball 2 topped out at 1080p on consoles, including the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X; the Switch version ran at 900p in docked mode. The same is true for the new game, which makes the improved visuals particularly impressive.

New features in Super Mega Baseball 3 include a full Franchise mode with free agency as well as player progression, aging, and retirement over multiple seasons. On the gameplay side, Metalhead has added some fundamental elements of baseball that had been missing in the previous two games, such as pickoff moves, wild pitches and passed balls, and the ability to play with a designated hitter.

Super Mega Baseball 2 received glowing reviews just like the first game, but one thing that some players criticized was that Metalhead sold downloadable content packs for $2.99 a pop. The add-ons offered items such as customization options for teams and players, as well as new stadiums. Metalhead seems to have heard the negative feedback.

“This is the most well-rounded experience we’ve put together yet with a lot of content and a good variety of modes that cover single player and online gameplay,” said Metalhead co-founder Scott Drader. “We’ve kept it simple — one purchase gets you the whole package and there are no in-game purchases.”

Metalhead did raise the price by 50%, though, likely to account for the expanded feature set and the lack of DLC: Super Mega Baseball 2 launched at $29.99, while Super Mega Baseball 3 will cost $44.99. With the MLB The Show series set to go multiplatform as soon as 2021, this may be the last year in which Metalhead has no competition on PC, Switch, or Xbox One aside from MLB Advanced Media’s R.B.I. Baseball series.

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