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Out of the Park Baseball 18 swings for the fences in March 2017.  Will it be a home run or a swing and a miss? Let’s all go to the ball game and find out.

Out of the Park Baseball 17 was, apparently, the highest rated PC game on Metacritic in 2016. No, we had no idea, either. It also has a very favourable (at the time of writing) 91% positive reviews on Steam.

Fans of baseball’s premier management sim will be pleased to hear that Out of the Park Baseball 18 will be with us very soon. As with most sporting simulators you can expect updated team rosters and general tweaks and incremental improvements to the overall experience.

Here’s the full list, from the press release, of what Out of the Park Baseball 18 will include:

  • All-new Challenge Mode: This will allow series newcomers to enjoy a powerful way to learn the intricacies of this deep strategy title, while driving community engagement for all users via the creation of online profiles to share accomplishments on new leaderboards. The Challenge Mode is just the beginning of an all-new, long-term expansion of OOTP’s online platform – more will be unveiled during the course of the 2017 baseball season.2017 roster sets with all
  • Opening Day MLB rosters, as well as the complete minor league system from Triple-A to rookie leagues as well as the Arizona Fall League. All major league (and over a thousand minor league) player ratings will be based on the popular ZiPS player projection system. The 8 international leagues, as well as independent minor leagues in the US, also return this year with accurate rosters.
  • Historical Negro League clubs, thanks to a partnership with OOTP’s acclaimed historical database experts and Seamheads.com. This feature will allow baseball fans to explore the league’s rich history, create compelling what-if scenarios, pit major league clubs against their Negro League counterparts, and much more.
  • Improvements to 3D mode, including: Even more ballpark detail; better on-field player models and enhanced on-field decisions; and the ability to save all 3D highlights and watch a highlight reel, whether the game was played out or simulated.
  • Custom and real world tournaments for all the teams included in the game. National and international tournaments are a breeze to create, as is the ability to import historical teams.
  • Extensive AI improvements, including roster management, trades, and in-game decision-making.
  • A redesigned injury system that features detailed injury histories for all players, little nagging and long-term injuries, and more.
  • Many more improvements, including:
    • A beautiful new interface
    • Improved game recaps
    • An upgraded player morale/team chemistry system
    • Enhanced play-by-play text and league news
    • A sophisticated system for team relegation and promotion between leagues
    • The ability to retain player salaries in trades
    • The incorporation of many 2017 rule changes
    • Faster import speeds of historical minor league seasons
    • And more to be announced prior to release

Yes, you read that correctly. The official press release for Out of the Park Baseball 18 does actually say it will include the historical “Negro League” clubs.

Which is fantastic, incidentally. It’s heartening to see a sports franchise – typically so preoccupied with what’s going right now, this season – is drawing attention to a dark time in the sport and America’s history, where racism ruled and segregation was rife; but we were still a little shocked to see that language in a press release. Credit to the team at Out of the Park Developments for tackling an unsavoury issue head-on, and paying homage to a tremendous group of players who were denied that chance to shine. It’s a small gesture, but it’s still a very welcome one.

Out of the Park Baseball 18 releases on March 24, 2017.

Pre-order bonuses are available until January 27, 2017.

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