The best hockey video game is about to get even better.
This week, EA Sports announced NHL 15, the next installment of the most popular hockey video game series of all-time.
Although there weren’t as many striking new features after the radical NHL 14 debuted last year, one of the brand-new enhancements is sure to please Chicago Blackhawks fans and NBCSN viewers alike.
Blackhawks’ color analyst Eddie Olczyk will be the new voice heard analyzing the game, while Mike “Doc” Emerick handles the play-by-play. Canadian players will be pleased to hear the voice of TSN panelist Ray Ferarro, who will report from the between-the-benches spot.
The new trio replaces the pair of out-dated commentators in Gary Thorne and Bill Clement, who have done the commentary since the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions first hit the market back in 2006.
Along with the new voices comes a refreshing load of new and updated features, (courtesy of easports.com):
- 12-Player Collision Physics: A hit to any player, in any location, will change the physics of every player on the ice from the person delivering the hit, to the defenseman following up on the play.
- Real Puck Physics: The puck reacts to the ice surface, sticks, bodies, and nets more than ever before, creating authentic skitters, spins, and rolls.
- Authentic Player & Equipment Models: The “Next Generation Hockey Player” was re-created with not only the body in mind, but three layers: Body, Equipment, and Jersey. All three act on their own, creating a realistic effect with every pinch, pull, and stretch of the player’s movements.
- Unprecedented Player Likeness: The game will be more life-like than ever before after the players have adopted their own life-like traits, from skating stride, to emotion.
- Superstar Skill Stick: The skill-stick, introuced in NHL 07, is even more dynamic than ever before, giving players eve more options when it comes to dekes, puck protection, and receiving passes.
- Authentic Arenas: The game’s atmosphere is no longer anonymous, as every ‘barn’ from the United Center in Chicago to the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit has brought along their own unique traits.
- NBCSN Game Day Presentation: Every day will feel like game-day with the NBC crew welcoming you into the city, and the building, that your particular game is taking place in, complete with graphics and branding.
- Living Crowds: EA Sports has created 9000+ individual crowd models (separate fans), and all have four times as many animations as before, from signs, to fans decked out in full costume, all who change their emotion after a goal, hit, or fight.
- Vision AI: the players on the ice not under control are smoother and more realistic, with scoring area recognition, pass anticipation, and other enhancements.
The NHL 15 Cover Vote is already underway, and in just over a month, the athlete chosen to stand on the front of NHL 15 will be announced at the NHL Awards. This year, only eight players have made it to the quarterfinals:
No Blackhawks will be on the cover this season, after Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews became the first two athletes from the same team to grace the cover in back-to-back years in any EA Sports franchise.