MLB Front Office on deck for 2K

Baseball-management sim warming up for winter release on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC; game to feature Oakland A's Billy Beane.

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It's playoff season in Major League Baseball, which means that the bats are about to go silent until the arrival of 2009's spring training. However, 2K Sports is hoping to give diamond dogs a little help in making it through the long, cold winter, given that today the publisher announced MLB Front Office Manager for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

As the name implies, Front Office Manager puts players in the role of an MLB general manager, calling all the shots for a pro team through a 30-year career. During that time, players will scout talent, negotiate trades, and cherry-pick international talent in an attempt to field the best teams possible. The game will also feature an online fantasy mode in which up to 30 players can set up a league and compete against each other to prove their management acumen.

Helping players learn the ins and outs of the role will be Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, the much-heralded subject of Michael Lewis' book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. Famous for using statistical analysis to get the best bang for his GM buck, Beane will guide players through their virtual careers.

As the only third-party publisher of MLB-licensed games, 2K Sports is hoping to capitalize on its exclusivity deal with a slew of baseball offerings. This year alone has already seen the releases of the multiplatform games MLB 2K8 and MLB Power Pros, MLB 2K8 Fantasy All-Stars on the Nintendo DS, and MLB Stickball on the Xbox 360. A Wii minigame collection called MLB Superstars is also set for launch by year's end.

MLB Front Office Manager is being developed by Blue Castle Games, the upstart studio behind 2K's 2007 arcade-style baseball game The Bigs. It is currently slated for release this winter.

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