Sports games are developed on an annual cycle, and therefore they’re more iterative than what you tend to experience in other titles. It means that improvements are rolled out with each edition, but many of these may be minor underlying things, which tune the experience – but don’t radically reinvent it.

That seems to be the case yet again with MLB The Show 23, which is stepping up to the plate on PS5 and PS4 on 28th March. There are a lot of bases to cover in developer San Diego Studio’s blog post, but we suppose the headline is the addition of 5,000 new animations, which will freshen up the gameplay – specifically during fielding scenarios.

In fact, the team has made some big underlying changes to defense this year, which puts a greater emphasis on fielding attributes and randomises the button accuracy feature by tweaking the location of the optimal green segment when throwing the ball. This means that players will need to pay attention to what they’re doing, rather than rely on muscle memory.

Offense has been tuned, too, of course. One thing that jumps out to us is the emphasis on clutch statistics when runners are in scoring position. This will replace traditional contact attributes, allowing the batter and pitcher to face-off more organically in high pressure scenarios. It’s all designed to create more dynamic match-ups and better reflect what’s happening on the field.

There are a lot of other changes – including an emphasis on explaining what certain statistics and attributes mean – but on the gameplay and presentation front, it’s largely smaller stuff. Some of the user interface elements have been adjusted, for example, when runners are on bases – it’s stuff like that, rather than anything truly remarkable.

But you’ll be able to test it out for yourself when the MLB The Show 23 technical test goes live on 21st February in North America. Unlike in past years, where you needed to register to take part, everyone from the US and Canada will be invited to download the client and give it a try – and this is consistent across all consoles, including Xbox and Nintendo Switch.