Known for his prolific power and ability to drive in runs, Howard is just the second player in Major League Baseball history to win the Rookie of the Year honors and a Most Valuable Player award in successive seasons. During his 2006 MVP season, Howard led the Major Leagues in home runs (58), which broke the record for most home runs in a sophomore season set in 1947 by Ralph Kiner (51), won the All-Star Game Home Run Derby® with a total of 23 blasts, and was the 2006 National League Hank Aaron Award recipient, the award given to the top hitter in each league.
Last season, while helping lead the Phillies to the 2007 National League Division Series against the Colorado Rockies by muscling out 47 home runs and driving in 136 runs, Howard became the fastest player in MLB history to hit 100 home runs. The record-breaking accomplishment was achieved in only 325 games, 60 less than the 385 games that Ralph Kiner needed to hit his first 100 home runs from 1946 to 1948.
"Ryan Howard's personality and work ethic exemplify what our baseball franchise is all about and we are thrilled he has chosen to represent MLB 08 THE SHOW," said Scott Steinberg, vice president, product marketing, SCEA. "Howard has worked hard to establish himself as one of the most exciting players in the game and we look forward to him continuing the tradition of MLB THE SHOW athletes having amazing years while being featured on the cover of our game."
MLB 08 THE SHOW marks Howard's first cover for a baseball game, an accolade that continues to be a desired status symbol for professional athletes. The Phillies first basemen joins an elite team of MLB cover athletes and spokespeople, including New York Mets third baseman David Wright, Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Oritz, Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, and a host of other MLB greats.
Reflecting on the history of the franchise, the longest-running officially licensed baseball title on PlayStation platforms, the SCEA San Diego Studios development team went into this season looking to build upon the history and success of the franchise, by raising the level of authenticity and realism, and creating the perfect blend of features and unique gameplay opportunities.
To deliver the closest experience possible, next to actually trying to make it in the Majors, MLB 08 The Show introduces a more immersive Road to The Show mode. As gamers attempt to make a starting line-up in the Big Leagues, playing on both offense and defense from a custom-created player's perspective, a more robust dynamic goal system and a new career advancement system will determine when a player is eligible for a promotion. Additionally, custom-created players are more interactive. As a position player, gamers will be able to further adjust that players positioning, catchers will endure more defense situations, and pitchers will now experience mound visits with user interaction -- all making Road to The Show mode even more realistic.
MLB 08 The Show features more than 3,000 individual player animations, including personalized stances, pitching animations, individual swings, batting rituals and motion captures from MLB players. Additionally, the franchise adds to the realism by including Umpire Personalities combined with Interactive Hot and Cold Zones and Player-scaled Strike Zones, Release Point Pitching combined with Adaptive Pitching Intelligence (API) and the Pitch Command System (PCS), and the most comprehensive commentary ever produced for a sports title, featuring the three-man booth of Rex Huddler, Matt Vasgerian and Dave Campbell. Providing players with some additional performance incentives, the MLB franchise introduces the new Progressive Batting Performance feature, which will both reward players for superior performance and penalize them for hitting slumps. Specific to each individual batter, players will be rewarded with slight contract bonuses, or punished with slight decreases in contract, based on how that batter that performs beyond his "natural ability" while under user control. Adding to the online feature set, which includes customizable Online League Play with up to 30 teams, scrolling MLB Score Ticker and more, MLB 08 The Show introduces SCOUT (SportsConnect Online User Tracking), which allows gamers to set and store their game preferences on the MLB server, and then enables the system to look for a Quick Match with opponents that fit similar competitive criteria.
For PS3 and PSP owners, MLB 08 The Show serves up the new Pitcher/Batter Analysis, both in-game and post game, offering a breakdown of how a batter has performed based on LHP or RHP, pitch type and the result. And for fans who want to create their own soundtracks, MLB 08 The Show offers the opportunity to take music stored on a PS3 system's HDD or a Memory Stick Duo and add tracks to the list of music played in the JukeBox.
Along with all the key franchise features, gameplay favorites for PlayStation 2 include Franchise mode, where players take control of the entire team, Rivalry Mode, which allows fans to set-up, track and maintain heated rivalries, the Home Run Derby and EyeToy functionality. MLB 08 The Show for PSP continues to be a fan favorite with its core features and ability to play anytime, anywhere, on the go. Plus, sports fanatics can utilize the system's online news service to get the latest MLB news feeds online or save them to the Memory Stick Duo and review them offline at their convenience.
- SCOUT [SportsConnect Online User Tracking] – If you’ve ever had a difficult time finding an opponent that wants to play online with the same gameplay setting as you, this is your feature. SCOUT allows gamers to set their game preferences, stores them on the server, and then allows the system to look for a Quick Match with an opponent that fits their criteria.
- In-Game MLB Live Scores – Using our new top of the screen Score Bar display, gamers will get updates on what is going on in the Majors. Along with scores and inning, gamers will also see notables, such as HR’s, complete games, etc.
- Online League Play – MLB 08 THE SHOW provides today’s sports fanatics with the ability to set up leagues with anywhere from 6-30 teams with full stat tracking, point benefits and rewards. Gamers can customize the league including choosing players, teams, length of schedule and much more. (Note: There are no cross platform leagues available.)
- Online News Service / MLB.com Headline News – Sports fanatics can receive all the current happenings in sports today. Information will be updated a few times each hour with news, trades and events from 31 different feeds, each containing 25 unique items. Users can select general MLB® headlines or updates from all 30 teams instantly. New for 07, MLB 08 THE SHOW offers an enhanced Live MLB Ticker, which shows live status of all MLB games going on around the league – with updates several times a minute. This new view will be complete with who is on base, pitching, batting, on-deck and full inning-by-inning box scores.
- Rivalry Mode – For those with a competitive nature, Rivalry Mode allows baseball fans to set up and maintain multi-game rivalries between multiple gamers or versus the Artificial Intelligence (AI), and keeps track of the stats throughout the rivalry.
- Franchise Mode – Extending the experience of running a team, performance and player morale are tracked on virtually every level – salary, playing time, batting slot, team performance, and much more.
- Career Mode – The Career Spotlight underscores all of the accomplishments and failures during a career and showcases them in the limelight. Gamers still need to call the shots, but now the ramifications of actions are documented.
- Season Mode – Grind out the162 game season and deal with day-to-day match-ups, refining the lineup and play for the championship just like the pros.
- All-Star Game – Lets gamers take the virtual road trip to San Francisco early to see who prevails for home field advantage in the 2007 Fall Classic.
- Multi-Branch Fielding – Branch Point Technology goes to a new level as gamers you can now take full control of fielders and break out of any animation in the process. Change a fielding decision and branch out of any animation after the first branch point. With Branch Point Technology, MLB 08 THE SHOW provides unbelievably smooth, fluid transitions for seamless double plays and relays.
- PlayMaker Fielding – The fielding interface brings the player attributes together with the user’s skill level. With the Fielding Zone Marker, the fielder’s fielding attribute rating will determine the size of the zone that surrounds the ball and its eventual landing location. With highly ranked fielders, the ball marker will be displayed sooner and smaller, making it easier to judge fly balls.
- Adaptive Pitching Intelligence (API) – Catchers will call the game based on individual strengths and weaknesses of each pitcher and analyze tendencies of batters. Gamers will have the ability to trust the pitches called by the catcher or shake them off. (The catcher’s recommendations are based off of thousands of actual MLB® stats.)
- Pitch Command System (PCS) – Delivering unsurpassed authenticity and strategy to pitch selection, a pitcher’s “pitch comfort” will be predetermined based on a best to worst pitch scenario. It’s up the gamer to decide if they should try to “work on a pitch” or just go with what’s working. The more a player works on a pitch, the better it becomes, and the more a gamer neglects a pitch, the harder it becomes to work the zone.
- Release Point Pitching – Taking video game pitching to a whole new level, gamers must utilize a timing mechanism to learn and realize each pitchers pace and release point, which varies from pitcher to pitcher.
- Pitching Confidence Meter – The ultimate pitcher/batter interface returns. Additionally, Pitcher Confidence plays a role in a gamer’s ability to hit release points in the all-new pitch meter, while frequency of mistakes will impact the confidence level of a gamer’s hurler, making it more difficult to paint the corners of the strike zone.
- Guess Pitch – Baseball fans can attempt to master the ability to knock one out or hit the grounder to advance the runner by checking the pitch history and correctly guessing which pitch and the location that the pitcher will throw next. If the correct pitch is selected, the power attribute is increased in attempts to leave the yard in a hurry.
- 40-Man Roster – Provides the ability to take full control of a team’s roster and manage all 40 players for each and every game.
- My Sliders (Up/Downloadable) – The My Sliders option gives users the ability to create their perfect game settings offline by adjusting game sliders. Gamers can then save these adjustments to memory and, when online, upload to them to the MLB 08 THE SHOW server for other users to try and let the online community be the judge on finding the perfect game.
- MLB® Player Motion Captures – MLB 08 THE SHOW features dozens of professional athletes including David Wright, David Ortiz, Eric Chavez, Roger Clemens, Shawn Green, Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman, Tim Hudson, Darryl Hamilton, Troy Percival, Brett Tomko, Mo Vaughn and more.
- Thousands of Personalized Animations – Authenticity: featuring personalized player animations for everything from walk-ups, rituals, stances and swings and even emotions.
- New Umpire Personalities – Providing even more realism to the diamond, MLB 08 THE SHOW features umpires with unique tendencies and animations. Each umpire will have his own definition of the strike zone, and it’s up to the gamer to figure out if the umpire is calling the zone high, low, or giving the corners.
- MLB 08 THE SHOW sets the bar high with the Progressive Commentary that changes as the user progresses throughout the game by adapting to current actions and situations.
- Managers / Coaches – MLB® managers and coaches will be on the field calling the shots.
- MLB Authenticity, Subtleties & Nuances – MLB 08 THE SHOW features drag bunts, wild pitches, broken bats, check swings, off-line throws and much more.
- Wind Effects – MLB 08 THE SHOW features a wind display showing wind speed and direction. Depending upon the severity of the wind, the ball will drift according to the speed and direction. Wind effects will force the player to take the proper route to the ball and make adjustments on the fly.
- 3-Man Booth & Progressive Commentary – Rex Hudler, Matt Vasgersian and Dave Campbell provide the most comprehensive commentary heard in any baseball videogame.
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