Fans of EA Sports’ NHL franchise, who have been anticipating its first appearance on current-gen hardware for the last year or so, will be disappointed to hear that the final product will feature less content than everyone originally expected. In fact, some of the most popular modes from recent iterations will be noticeably absent this time around. That is, when it comes to current-gen hardware.
This list of omitted modes — which includes Live the Life, NHL 94 Anniversary, GM Connected and the always popular EA Sports Hockey League — will likely put a damper on sales of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of NHL 15. After all, these aren’t just run of the mill options that people will easily forget about.
For those who are new to the series, or haven’t played an NHL game in years, here are some descriptions of the missing gameplay scenarios:
Live the Live: A popular and addicting replacement for Be a Pro (which will be included in current-gen NHL 15 instead), Live the Life lets gamers create their own rookies for the purpose of beginning and excelling at a digitized career. With each hit milestone, the player’s popularity rises, and every so often choices will need to be made, with answers that will impact things going forward. For example, what to say during an interview, how to answer questions about teammates, and whether or not to attend charity functions on days off. As you’d expect, your goal is to make your fans, family, teammates and sponsors happy, en route to becoming the League’s next (billboard-advertised) superstar.
NHL 94 Anniversary: With an overhead camera and player sprites that pay homage to the the series’ origins, NHL 94‘s Anniversary mode is a playable tribute to the past. Therein, the comforts of today — like the Skill Stick — are absent, in favour of button-based passing and shooting. That, and thunderous hits.
GM Connected – Once touted as a major online scenario and selling point, GM Connected allows users to join and participate in leagues made up of other players. The idea is that each person assumes the general manager’s role for a specific team, and attempts to create the most skilled dynasty frozen ice has ever seen.
EA Sports Hockey League – The most popular of the bunch, EASHL has been a big part of the series for years now. Why? Well, it allows six human players to team up and create their own players and clubs, which can then be used to take on others in online space. The result is a twelve-player scenario, wherein those who win their league and dominate the playoffs can achieve glory. Needless to say, people take it quite seriously.
Through his company’s blog, EA Canada producer Sean Ramjagsingh explained his team’s decision to omit so many popular modes. According to him, it all came down to time constraints, which is understandable given that the NHL series’ development team is rather small in comparison to its peers.
“Decisions like this are never easy, nor do we take them lightly. We know that there is a passionate group of fans that loves these modes and is no doubt disappointed with this news; but we also know that this same group of fans expects a high quality gameplay experience above anything else. We’re a franchise built on quality, so launching these modes without confidence in their quality wasn’t something that we were willing to do.”
“Our goal from day one was to build from the core out and deliver a truly next-generation gameplay and presentation experience for all our fans to enjoy,” he stated.
“From the next-generation hockey player and true hockey physics to the unrivalled in-arena experience and a revolution in broadcast presentation, I couldn’t be more proud of what our team has delivered in one year on new technology. The focus on a new gameplay engine was necessary to not only deliver a great game now, but also give us the foundation to deliver a truly next-generation hockey experience to you for the years to come.”
According to the blog, Online Team Play will become available as part of a free update, although it seems like EASHL may remain completely absent this time around. Online Team Play is more of a random, one-off type of thing, which lacks the stat-tracking and league play of its more popular pal.
Included within the sourced post is a list of the modes that will be available in current-gen NHL 15 when it launches on September 9. It’s a rather streamlined assortment, but it’ll do the job.
Be A Pro
Be A GM
Hockey Ultimate Team
NHL Moments Live
As a longtime fan of EA’s NHL games, dating back to the mid-nineties, there’s no way I’d miss NHL 15. Sure, it’s missing my personal favourite mode (Live the Life), but Be a Pro will be adequate for one year’s time. The developer is promising great things for future iterations of the franchise, so here’s hoping that it will deliver something fantastic and robust with NHL 16. After all, these omissions really do suck, no matter how you look at them.