More sports games should take a page from MLB The Show. Last year, the development team of the now-comfortably-multiplatform baseball sim introduced Storylines, a new mode that brilliantly educated players about one of the most important eras in the history of the sport. It did so in a way that was interesting from an historical perspective, an audiovisual perspective, and critically for a video game, a gameplay perspective as well.

For MLB The Show 24, I met with Sony San Diego designer Ramone Russell, as I’m fortunate to get to do every year, and he walked me through Season 2 of Storylines, which will highlight ten additional Negro League legends. Four will be available at launch on March 19: Josh “The Black Babe Ruth” Gibson, Toni Stone – the first woman to play in top-tier professional baseball, longtime MLB home run king Henry Aaron (who some still consider the true king), and Homestead Grays legend Buck Leonard. The remainder will be added shortly after launch.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum curator Bob Kendrick returns as the narrator for the mode, and just like last year, Russell told me that Kendrick is a walking encyclopedia who is given no script and gives the Sony San Diego team everything they need in one take. But while Bob needed no updating, the UI has been given an additional splash of color to help bring the Storylines to life. In addition, the 70-plus-year-old real-life footage included within Storylines has been cleaned up, both dirt and grass in the stadiums have now been color-mapped, new uniforms have been added to represent teams not featured last year (like Stone’s Indianapolis Clowns), and custom bat sounds have been added for Gibson after the development team’s research turned up anecdote after anecdote about his thunderous hits producing a different sound than anyone else’s. In short, it all looks and sounds phenomenal, and it’s just awesome that Sony San Diego is doubling down on spotlighting this crucial era of baseball history.

I asked Russell if last year’s Season 1 Storylines would be carried over and included in MLB The Show 24, and sadly the answer was no. However, not only did Russell give me a curious glance when I asked if it might be added as DLC for this year’s game, he definitively stated that all of the content from last year’s mode will be posted on Sony Pictures’ YouTube channel (though obviously you can’t experience the gameplay that way). Both of these are good things. Every baseball fan should see and ideally play these Storylines.

Meanwhile, Storylines is branching out beyond the Negro Leagues this year as well, as Derek Jeter gets his own playable arc that starts with his debut at The Kingdome in Seattle (a stadium the team has had to recreate and reintroduce to MLB The Show for the first time in many years) and then winds its way through five World Series championships and the walk-off single that capped off his Cooperstown-enshrined career. No word yet if I, as a Diamondbacks fan, will have a chance to step into Luis Gonzalez’s cleats and dump a single just over Jeter’s head in Game 7 of the classic 2001 World Series. But I digress…

MLB The Show has been the most reliably and consistently excellent sports sim in the console space, and the 2024 version is unlikely to strike out – especially when it’s once again serving up a playable baseball history education in the form of the fantastic Storylines mode.

Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s executive editor of previews and host of both IGN’s weekly Xbox show, Podcast Unlocked, as well as our monthly(-ish) interview show, IGN Unfiltered. He’s a North Jersey guy, so it’s “Taylor ham,” not “pork roll.” Debate it with him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan.





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