Hey guys (and girls)–we just got a press note from 2K Sports, Take-Two Interactive's sports division, formerly known as Visual Concepts. MLB 2K5, the follow-up to last year's "ESPN MLB 2K4", is set to ship this spring, and the dev team wanted to fill us all in on a few of the game's new features.

First up is what they're calling "On Command Baserunning," which lets players manage baserunners through picture-in-picture windows and control how individual runners advance, retreat, and attempt to steal bases. The PIP view is nothing new to baseball video games, but MLB 2K5's view is unique in that it shows each runner in a seperate corner of the TV screen. Baserunners will advance along the borders of the television screen not only to show the actual distance, but also to show the actions they're performing. Active picture-in-picture baserunning delivers both an exciting presentation style and an intuitive method to precisely control runners.

The second new feature brought to our attention is what's called "Maximum Sliding," and it seems to be a complete rip-off of the sliding controls that EA Sports implemented in MVP 2004 last year. That's fine by us, since we LOVED that control scheme. This Maximum Sliding baserunning mechanic utilizes the right analog thumbstick to choose how baserunners slide — head or feet first — in conjunction with hook sliding left or right of the base. Players will be able to reach a base quicker, get up more quickly from a slide, or avoid being tagged out by using hook slides.

Finally, the note went on to mention something called "Baseburner Mode," which sounds to us like a reworked version of the first-person view that was so poorly implemented in last year's ESPN MLB 2K4. Baseburner Mode allows the gamer to play any 'at-bat' through the perspective of any baserunner, delivering precision control to gamers. While playing in the baserunner perspective, the batter is on auto-pilot, but the player can tell the batter how, when, and what type of swing to use. Players with multiple baserunners can cycle through any man on base or return to the default view and control the batter. Players can also command runners to advance, execute hit and run maneuvers, or attempt a dramatic squeeze play.

Sounds to us like they've come up with a way to implement an "on the fly" managerial mode, which actually sounds pretty cool…

MLB 2K5 for the PlayStation 2, from Take-Two Interactive, is set to ship sometime in the Spring of 2005. We'll bring you more information as it becomes available. Until then, gawk at our screenshots of the game.