A PC version of the game, Backyard Baseball 2005, will ship in June 2004. Both games are being developed by Atari's Humongous Entertainment, the creators and developers of the Backyard Sports series.
"I enjoyed video games growing up," said Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees third baseman. "It's exciting to be a part of Atari's Backyard Baseball games."
"We are thrilled to bring the Backyard Sports series to the PlayStation 2 again - this time with an all-new 3-D experience that really gives the game a fun, arcade style of play," said Nancy MacIntyre, vice president of marketing for Atari, Inc. "The gameplay combined with a killer MLB line-up that includes an outstanding athlete such as A-Rod as our highlight player really makes these games a perfect addition to our Backyard line."
The Backyard Sports series is unique compared to other sports games in that they are designed specifically for kids. The Backyard Kids, a group of everyday kids that players can easily relate to, are included in each of the Backyard games, and are made up of fifteen boys and fifteen girls with different nationalities, skill levels and abilities. With the Backyard Kids and MLB pro players featured as kids, players have the opportunity to build teams that they aren't able to create in other sports games.
Environments included in the Backyard games are also unique experiences that transport the player to locations that can only be used as playing fields in the Backyard games. Locations in the new Backyard Baseball games range from a junkyard and drive-in to the dessert and an "Aquadome." Once they select a field, kids can choose to play a single game or a season's worth and can set the difficulty level (Rookie, Pro or All Star), game length (six or nine innings) and season length (18 or 32 game season). As they play, they earn crazy power-ups like a "Fireball" or a "Lightening Bat" that add to the fun of the games by giving kids the chance to hit the ball out of the park and play as they never have been able to before. In addition to enhanced power-ups, the two new games also feature multiple camera angles, new animations, a smarter AI and mini games like Home Run Derby(R) and Darts which give kids the opportunity to practice their skills before taking them to the field.
In Backyard Baseball for Play Station 2 and Backyard Baseball 2005 for PC, players select to play as one of the 30 Major League Baseball teams or design their own team by choosing custom team names and uniforms. In both games, kids create their line-ups by choosing from the MLB pros and the 30 Backyard Kids. In addition to Rodriguez, Major League Baseball athletes include Carlos Delgado of the Toronto Blue Jays, Eric Gagne of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Nomar Garciaparra of the Boston Red Sox, Ichiro of the Seattle Mariners, Alfonso Soriano of the Texas Rangers, Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs , Jim Thome of the Philadelphia Phillies, and Dontrelle Willis of the Florida Marlins. In addition, as kids progress through the game, they will be able to "unlock" six additional MLB stars including Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Mike Piazza of the New York Mets.
Backyard Baseball for PlayStation 2 is currently available at retail and Backyard Baseball 2005 for PC will be available in June 2004. Both are suited for ages 7 and up. The award-winning Backyard Sports line-up also includes Backyard Basketball for Playstation 2, and Backyard Basketball2004, Backyard Hockey, Backyard Football2004 and Backyard Soccer 2004 for the PC. Additional information about the Backyard Sports games and Atari's other kids games can be found at www.atarikids.com.