Over the last month select Xbox Insiders have participated in the Super Mega Baseball 2 Closed Beta through the Xbox Insider Program. We caught up with developers Metalhead Software to chat about their studio, the inspiration behind their game, and how feedback from Xbox Insiders and the Super Mega Baseball community has shaped Super Mega Baseball 2.
BH (BroHammersley): Thanks so much for chatting with us! Super Mega Baseball 2 released today on Xbox One, how did Metalhead Software come together as a studio, and what inspired you to create Super Mega Baseball?
SD (Scott Drader, Co-Founder–Metalhead Software): In 2008 I got together with my friend and colleague Christian Zuger for a beer at our local Irish pub. I guess we were both feeling the entrepreneurial spirit because we decided that night that we were going to start a company. It wasn’t necessarily going to be a video game studio, but by 2009 we had saved up some money and started typing the first lines of code for a baseball video game. It’s safe to say we had NO idea what we were getting ourselves into…
Baseball came up because I grew up with the sport, knew a lot about it (and baseball video games), and it just seemed like something we could do a good take on. Christian grew up in Switzerland without much exposure to baseball, but was down with the idea of doing a video game about it. And hey this was just going to be our first game and would probably only take a couple of years…right? Haha… Anyway, we ran with it and here we are still working on baseball games in 2018.
BH: That’s awesome! I love the idea of a game studio conceived over drinks at the pub! The first Super Mega Baseball was very well received by the community, what new features do you think players will look forward to most in Super Mega Baseball 2?
SD: The main two features we see the most hype for are the customization options and online play. With online there’s party-based play with friends, online co-op seasons against the CPU, and competitive matchmaking, and we have no idea which of those modes is going to get played the most. Can’t wait to find out!
BH: I’m really looking forward to the online co-op seasons, anything co-op is my jam! With regards to the first game, one of the best elements of Super Mega Baseball was how approachable it was for new players—can we expect more of the same from Super Mega Baseball 2?
SD: Yes. We’ve strived to keep the core gameplay, pacing, and controls accessible. Those goals flowed into the design of the game’s new systems, so for example, with customization, there are things you can spend a ton of time on if you want, but there’s also a nice set of defaults to start from and good random league/team/player-generation tools if you want to get into it quickly.
The Ego system contributed perhaps the most to the accessibility of the original, and it’s back in full force. We’ve still got 100 possible settings for each of the 4 main game mechanics, so you’ve got very casual difficulty all the way up to virtually impossible and everything in between.
BH: One thing I’ve been wondering, both Super Mega Baseball and Super Mega Baseball 2 have some pretty rockin’ music tracks, is there a connection between that and the name of your studio?
SD: There is indeed a connection. Naming game studios and games is hard because almost every idea you come up with is either taken, or sounds good initially and then you decide it’s awful a week later. But yes, we do like metal, and were hyped when it led us to a name that wasn’t taken.
A good friend of mine who I have literally attended dozens of metal concerts with over the years did the music on the first game. Rom Di Prisco handled the soundtrack for the second game, and while his wheelhouse is electronic stuff, I think it’s very obvious when listening to the music in the game that we asked him to make sure metal was well represented **smiles**.
BH: How have Xbox Insiders participating in the Xbox One Closed Beta and the Super Mega Baseball community at large helped shape and improve Super Mega Baseball 2?
SD: It’s hard to imagine how we would’ve gotten to release without the closed beta. The beta definitely helped us sand off some rough edges, add some things to help users better understand core game concepts, but more than anything else it helped to smooth out the quality of the online experience and the behavior of our servers under real-world network conditions.
Launch day will of course throw us our biggest challenge yet on that front, but we’re vastly better prepared for it than we would’ve been without the beta **puts on batting gloves and crosses fingers**.
BH: Thanks so much for chatting with us, Scott! Be sure to check out Super Mega Baseball 2 now available on Xbox One, and included in this month’s Xbox Live Games with Gold!