MLB The Show 21: How RTTS/Ballplayer improves the story narrative with podcasts

Sony Interactive Entertainment
Sony Interactive Entertainment /

This week’s MLB The Show 21 Feature Premiere was focused entirely on Road to the Show, which is now synonymously referred to as Ballplayer because you can take your created player into Diamond Dynasty as well. Sony San Diego has made some tremendous improvements to RTTS/Ballplayer, but one of the ones I’m most excited about is the increased emphasis on story.

In previous games, your created player’s progress and achievements in Road to the Show would largely go ignored. Sure, there would be fake tweets acknowledging some feats, but it largely felt underwhelming. If your player did something amazing like “hit 100 home runs” or “pitch a bunch of perfect games,” it felt like it went unnoticed.

In MLB The Show 21, improvements have been made to your Ballplayer’s narrative. There’s a hugely increased emphasis on your player’s impact on the baseball world. This narrative will be experienced via an in-game podcast with fictional analysts who talk about your progress, your successes and even your struggles.

Minor League Baseball sportscaster Ben Gellman-Chomsky actually helped write the various narratives in Road to the Show, which he says will adjust dynamically to your player’s performance. In other words, it’s quite possible that you won’t see every narrative podcast in just one playthrough.

“Because everybody wants to play their own way, the episodes that you see will adjust dynamically based around your performance and your experience,” explained Ben Gellman-Chomsky, who was a guest on this week’s premiere video.

Gellman-Chomsky is actually starring in the game as a fictional version of himself. He will host a Road to the Show podcast and follow your player’s progress up the ladder. These podcasts will also feature guest hosts who offer baseball advice and stories from their own careers.

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Next-gen systems (PS5/Xbox SEries X) will feature full-motion video podcasts, while the PS4/Xbox One will have them in audio format. This is yet another exclusive next-gen feature, along with Create a Ballpark.

As you progress in your career, you’ll start to see bigger names and networks start to cover your ballplayer, including Robert Flores and MLB Network. A total of 180 episodes were recorded for Road to the Show but, again, you won’t see all of them in one playthrough since they are dynamically presented based on your choices.

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I’ve always enjoyed Road to the Show in MLB The Show. This added focus on narrative is just one more step towards delivering a fully immersive package.