It's hard to argue against the fact that pitching is the most important aspect of baseball. Regardless of how everyone else is playing on the field, if your pitching is lacking, then the likelihood that your team will win is diminished. 2K Sports understands this, and for this year's MLB 2K12, on top of the many things 2K is addressing, pitching is seeing the biggest changes.
For 2K12, there are a number of different things being tweaked to improve the pitching aspect of the game. For starters, there is greater feedback thanks to the inclusion of more detailed pitch counters and trackers. Past games have included markers to showcase the history of throws for the current batter, but now you can get a look at all pitches thrown. On top of that, there are pitch trackers that highlight all pitches thrown to the specific-handed batters. This way, you can get a better idea of what is working depending on the kinds of batters you are facing.
Because of the game's new dynamic AI system, it's important to know which pitches work. Now, batters will make adjustments to combat the pitches being thrown at them. If you rely too heavily on one kind of pitch, even if you've been throwing strikes, batters will notice this and change their approach accordingly. With the dynamic pitching, after every throw, markers will show you which pitches are working, will suggest which ones to use, and will highlight the ones to avoid.
In addition, as you progress through a game with the same pitcher, the response in terms of how effective he is in both accuracy and speed will be shown to give you a better idea of what to expect. As you move deeper into the game and increase your pitch count, even with a fantastic pitcher, the effectiveness of all your pitches will suffer, and deciding the best course of action will come heavily into play to ensure your team leaves with a win.
Pitching is not the only aspect of the game that 2K Sports is addressing for 2K12. 2K heard the complaints about past games and is looking to adjust everything that fans of the series have noted as being weak. Fielding is being worked on to ensure better throwing by outfield players. Also, player animations, specifically for the catcher, have been heavily worked on to ensure the players move as they would in real life. Lastly, the graphics engine and lighting have been tweaked to give a more realistic viewing experience.
If you haven't been keeping track, baseball season is only a few months away, and MLB 2K12 is on track to deliver a solid experience. If you're not having a fun time pitching, then it's almost impossible to enjoy virtual baseball. 2K Sports knows this and is hoping that what it's doing with 2K12 will please fans of the sport and bring back those it has lost over the years. Expect to see and hear more about the game as we approach its March 6 launch on all major consoles.