MLB the Show 23 will feature the Negro Leagues, an important part of baseball and American history, whose iconic figures are not nearly as well-known as other baseball players of the era. This historical look is told through “Storylines,” which focuses on a particular player while providing a narrative journey through short informational videos, followed by gameplay reflecting important moments in that player’s career.
In an interview with Polygon, dev Ramone Russell opened up about the unique challenge of doing these players and their stories justice, but somehow working that into a game rated E for Everyone.
“You have to really think about these things in a different light. Because what does that look like? If you’re using Jackie Robinson, his rookie year on the Dodgers, banana peels are getting thrown on the field; he’s getting called the N-word. Are we going to do that in a video game? Hell no, we’re not going to do that.”
This led to the team putting an incredible amount of work and thought into the feature, and it’s certainly not something they took lightly. It was important that the Negro Leagues story was told from a historical standpoint, yet worked within the confines of ESRB ratings on previous MLB the Show releases. Russell touched on this in an interview with Games Industry.
“We don’t want to gloss over the ugliness of the history because it needs to be told accurately and also appropriately for your audience. [However] we’re an officially licensed MLB game, so [our title] has to be rated E.”