It wasn’t all that long ago that Xbox 360 owners were preparing for life without a proper baseball simulation game. With no sign of an agreement between Major League Baseball and a video game publisher to speak of (Sony’s deal for The Show excluded), all signs pointed toward your local GameStop in an effort to swap Microsoft’s console for a Sony Playstation 3 and MLB 13: The Show. As I noted in November, it appeared that Take-Two Interactive had no plans to renew their license for the MLB 2K series. Boy, did we have it wrong. 2K Sports announced this morning, seemingly out of nowhere, that they will release MLB 2K13 on March 5.

Not that any MLB 2K game should necessarily be considered a proper baseball simulation, but the franchise remains the only option for Xbox enthusiasts. Kotaku’s Owen Good, citing a 2K Sports’ news release, has more on the surprise of the upcoming title:

The language suggests that the deal was renewed at terms much more favorable to 2K Sports, and likely not under any kind of exclusive arrangement. 2K Sports, since 2006, had been the only third-party publisher of Major League Baseball video games—a deal that allowed for Sony to publish its own title, MLB the Show, plus a PC management simulation published by Sega.

The news release said MLB 2K13 would be published on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Previous editions were published for every platform imaginable, from PC to the Nintendo DS and Wii.

More on the oft-criticized franchise:

Other developments pointed to MLB 2K’s retirement, not the least of which was 2K Sports’ total silence on any new baseball product during December, which is traditionally when cover stars and new features are announced. The title [MLB 2K12] suffered from poor post release support as well, and though its roster was updated through to the end of the postseason, the game received only one title update, three months after release.

MLB 2K13 even has its cover boy with reigning American League Cy Young winner, David Price. Beyond that, it’s difficult to envision the game offering much in the way of innovation. A quick polish job on MLB 2K12 and a roster update may be what’s in store, and that’s certainly better than no game at all.