The Innovation of Hockey Games

Posted April 13th at 12:00am.

Today, we are proud to reveal the first screenshot for NHL®14, featuring Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman and Captain Dion Phaneuf laying-out Montreal's Tomas Plekanec. This is just the start of things to come. On Monday, April 15th, we will be unveiling the game's feature set as well as the first official trailer.

The EA SPORTS NHL team, led by Producers David Littman and Sean Ramjagsingh, are so excited to announce those details and to deliver a gameplay experience that captures what makes hockey such an incredible sport: Speed, Skill, and Aggression.

In the meantime, let’s take a look back at three features created by the EA SPORTS NHL team that have changed the way hockey games are played forever.

A screenshot from NHL 07 showing the addition of the revolutionary ‘Skill Stick’; a right-analog control scheme that allows users to independently control their stick for shooting and stick-handling.

NHL 07: Skill Stick

In 2006, the release of NHL 07 saw the introduction of the Skill Stick, ushering in a whole new way of playing sports titles. Nothing feels better than slipping the puck past a dumbfounded defenseman as you make your way towards goal. Being able to move the puck like Chicago’s Patrick Kane is what helps a team win. The Skill Stick made everything from toe-drags to skate-to-stick dekes possible for the first time, and the arsenal of moves opened the door to a wider array of shot options – all with just a flick of the right analog stick.

A screenshot from NHL 13 showcasing gameplay in the EA SPORTS Hockey League. Introduced in NHL 09, the EASHL is still the most played online mode (minutes played by users) in the EA SPORTS NHL Franchise.

NHL 09: EA SPORTS Hockey League

The EA SPORTS Hockey League (EASHL) changed the way sports games are played online when it was first made available in NHL 09. Online Team Play made it possible for users to control every player on the ice in 6v6 gameplay. The EASHL also allowed you to create a hockey team by filling the roster with up to 25 of your friends. Being able to work together and defeat your opposition en route to cup glory is something other sports games would emulate in later years.

A screenshot from NHL 13 shows Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk about to split the defense using True Performance Skating.

NHL 13: True Performance Skating

The team's most recent implementation was driven by real-world physics and included more than 1,000 new gameplay animations. True Performance Skating replicated the way players moved on the ice, accurately capturing the explosiveness, momentum and speed of the game’s best players. It made you feel like the decisions you made on the ice really mattered. Chase players down on a breakaway with a fleet-footed defender like Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks to prevent a goal scoring opportunity, or split the D with Pavel Datsyuk and open the door for an easy shot on goal. When combined with the Skill Stick, True Performance Skating gave you the full toolset to dominate against any opposition.

The EA SPORTS NHL franchise has had a long history of innovation and we’re excited to show you what NHL®14 will bring.

Don’t forget to check back on April 15 as we reveal the features of NHL®14 and the game's first, official trailer. 

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