During the NHL Awards tonight in Las Vegas, EA Sports officially announced the NHL 20, and the developer is promising some major changes to this year's edition of games, presentations, modes and more. It seems to be one of the biggest and most substantial changes in the NHL series in years. EA has released a lot of details about the NHL 20 and to help you understand everything we divide it by section into the main categories of things you need to know.
NHL 20 Cover Star
Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs – three-time All-Star and 2016 No. 1 general pick draft – adorns the cover of the 2019 game. He had a monster debut season, scoring 40 goals and taking home the Calder Memorial Trophy for better noob. In February 2019, the Leafs invested heavily in Matthews' future in the team when he was hired for a $ 58 million five-year contract.
RPM Changes and Improvements
Moving to new gameplay features, EA Sports has updated its Real Player Motion (RPM) technology with new "Signature Shots". This brings the unique images of the NHL superstars to the game, including Matthews' wrist shot and PK Subban's heavy and powerful slapshot. Alexander Ovechkin's simple timer was also brought to the NHL 20. Overall, EA Sports is promising "hundreds" of new animations.
What could be a major upgrade are the changes in the passes and puck pick-ups. In the past, players had to slow down to run passes or perform skill moves. But now, it happens faster and more fluidly, according to EA Sports. Creation director Will Ho told GameSpot that EA's tests show that game speed is faster, even if not in practice. The overall goal is to replicate the speed of the actual NHL, says Ho. In addition, the AI goalie has been changed with a "full analysis of offensive threats", so players do not get as many cheap or complicated goals.
Doc and Eddie are out
On the presentation side, EA is changing things substantially. NBC's famous commentators, Eddie Olczyk and Doc Emerick, are out, and the entire NBC licensing package is gone. New commentators are Ray Ferraro (who appeared in previous NHL rink side analyst games) and hockey presenter James Cybulski. Ho, the creative director of the game, tells GameSpot that EA has come up with new commentators because they better represent the kind of youth and energy fans want to see. Not only that, but they were able to record 300 hours of comments compared to 30 hours for Doc and Eddie due to their relatively busier schedules. Doc and Eddie are based in Chicago, and that was not very convenient for EA. Not only that, but Doc and Eddie were probably expensive given their league history.
Doc and Eddie are two of the biggest and best known hockey commentators, so some fans will surely miss them, but this is not an unknown territory for EA Sports. EA's Madden NFL series has knocked Jim Nantz and Phil Simms off the franchise's broadcast booth in favor of lesser-known and younger commentators in recent years. With the NHL 20, Ho says that Cybulski and Ferraro have a more playful and carefree joke that seems more natural.
Celebrity commentators and new graphics
Another interesting element of the NHL 20 broadcast pack is that EA plans to bring celebrity guests. Hockey fans will surely remember Snoop Dogg and Will Ferrell as their anchor character Ron Burgundy making comments for the L.A. Kings games. This has helped bring more attention to the sport of hockey, and EA seems to be trying to do something like the NHL 20.
The developer is not confirming any celebrity guest appearance yet, but a slide show for GameSpot included people like Snoop Dogg, Will Ferrell, Drake and Wayne Gretzky.
Also in terms of presentation, the NHL 20 charts and scores will be different this year. You will immediately notice that the scoreboard is now at the bottom of the screen, while there are new overlays and moving charts as well. In addition, there are new sequences aimed at showing the most exciting and exciting moments of the NHL 20. This includes the highlights of the "game of the period" and the "game of the game" that show these moments as well as new animations of celebration.
NHL 20 Adds Battle Royale
Moving to game modes, NHL 20 is adding battle royale – yes, really. Called "Eliminator" in the NHL 20, this competitive mode is a "winner's competition takes everything inspired by battle royale," says EA. It comes in two versions: Ones and Threes Eliminator.
In Ones, 81 players compete against each other – though not at the same time – in what EA calls a "survival tournament" until one player wins. The Ones mode was introduced in the NHL 19, and has groups of three players who do it alone. These matches will continue until a player is crowned great champion. In the Threes of Eliminator variation, which is basically Battle Royale Squads, teams of three will compete until a team remains.
The NHL 20 is not EA's first sports title in battle royale mode as FIFA 19 introduced its own version of Battle Royale.
Lagoon Hockey Gets an Off-line Mode and New Locations
One of the biggest criticisms of the NHL 19 was that their tank hockey mode, Ones, was playable only through online multiplayer. The NHL 20 adds a local multiplayer offline mode to those where players can compete against other humans or with the computer. Another novelty for Ones this year is even more outdoor ponds for skating, including a set on a glacier and another set on the Rideau Canal in Canada.
Hockey Ultimate Team Adds Squad Battles
The Hockey Ultimate Team mode, in turn, adds a feature called Squad Battles. Similar to the FIFA Ultimate Team squad battles, this makes players compete with their fantasy team against squads made by famous people like singers, other sports athletes and hockey influencers. Additionally, more Icon players are being added to Hockey Ultimate Team mode, bringing their total number to over 400.
New stuff for the world of Chel
Finally, the online hub, World of Chel, is updated on the NHL 20 with new weekly events in the game, called Chel Challenges, which players can complete to gain personalization and character XP items. Some of the newly added items include ski goggles and various caps. In total, the NHL 20 will offer more than 2,000 personalization items for players to create a unique character.
Hockey is a blunt sport
An element of ice hockey that is synonymous with the game is the hit and the general physicality. This makes the sport exciting to watch in real life and in-game, the physics and collision mechanism also contributes to this. At the same time, there is a human cost to the physical nature of hockey, as recently demonstrated and on a longer timetable with regard to head injuries and concussions.
We asked Ho for his thoughts on EA's responsibility as a developer in making the NHL 20 fun to play, but also a game that respects and demonstrates how dangerous the game can be.
"As developers, we want the game to mirror the real-world sport as closely as possible while it's still fun in the first place," Ho said. "Physicality is definitely an element that contributes to fun gameplay and is an important part of our game, just as it is an important part of hockey. That said, we have a responsibility not to encourage or celebrate the negative side effects of physicality." and that's why we're very careful to make sure our game complies with the rules, just like the NHL, and do not celebrate those negative consequences.
"We think the NHL did a great job in prioritizing the safety of the player in the real world and we want to do the same. We are proud to be able to provide players with a fun physical experience that does not pose a real-world injury risk."
Franchise Mode Updates
There are a number of granular changes coming to NHL 20 regarding franchise mode. The scouting was introduced in the NHL 19, and in the new game you can hire – and train fire. In addition, there is a new "line chemistry" feature that allows players to select players who match the correct chemistry for a particular line for maximum success. The NHL 20 also adds a new Trade Finder feature that should facilitate the negotiation process. It was a laborious process in NHL 19 to do a negotiation, but now the CPU will automatically propose negotiations and then you can choose to either accept or reject. Alternatively, players can also propose their own specific deals.
No versions of the Nintendo switch or PC
The NHL 20 is confirmed to be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Fans have been clamoring for EA's years to bring the game to the PC, but that's not happening – at least not this year. In addition, there is no version for the Nintendo Switch, although Ho tells GameSpot that EA is constantly thinking about which platforms are appropriate for the NHL series.
NHL Release Date 20
The NHL 20 will be released on September 13 for PS4 and Xbox One. The NHL 20 Deluxe and Ultimate Editions, which come with several digital extras, are unlocked three days before September 10. In addition, EA Access subscribers can test the NHL 20 as of September 5.