NHL 23 is officially on the docks for this fall, and it will be the second installment in the franchise on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Last year’s entry into the franchise was a stark contrast from the previous game, thanks to a new gameplay engine and additions like customizable rating loadouts to EASHL and roster sharing. Players might be wondering what is given in this year’s installment. We spoke to two of the NHL franchise’s development leads, Clement Kwang and Michael Ingelhart, about NHL 23, and they told us all about the changes that are rolling up the ice for 2022.
From Ignite to Frostbite, Part II
Image via EA Sports
One of the key changes for the NHL franchise last year was a brand new gameplay engine, although it was quite familiar to those who regularly play EA Sports games. The EA NHL franchise migrated from the Ignite engine – which was the foundation of older Xbox One/PS4 NHL games – to the system used by the Frostbite, FIFA and Madden franchises.
related: Will NHL 23 be available for PC?
It’s Year 2 of the NHL franchise within the Frostbite engine, and NHL 23 producer Clement Kwang said the team has slightly changed its priority list. Last year, Kwong said that between the change of generations and engines, the primary focus was on making sure the gameplay was good and running at all, all without losing any of the key features that the older generation consoles had.
For NHL 23, a large part of the development team’s focus was on expansion. This lets the team showcase new features like crowd awareness and improve the experience and presentation. NHL 23 will feature new Stanley Cup presentation sequences, snow on the board from piles of ice, improvements to shading, and a change in audience that will give the crowd more of an idea of the action on the ice. For example, the crowd can now show their approval or disdain for an old power play, while also cheering loudly after the home team’s goalkeeper saves a breakaway.
Things like this may seem small on paper, but this indicates that the team has prioritized life experience. And according to the developers, that sentiment stays true to what the team has to offer with changes in gameplay.
Gameplay gets a clean shot
Image via EA Sports
As far as gameplay changes go, EA Sports has added several new ones, most of which relate to young Ducks star Trevor Zegrass, the game’s co-cover athlete. During his first full season, the Zegrass made some incredible plays, such as his lacrosse-style goal against the Canadiens to his wild pass against the Sabers, that spurred the hockey world to talk about for days.
In a somewhat fitting addition, NHL 23 will feature hundreds of new Desperation shootings and Last Chance animations, according to creative director Mike Ingelhart. Additionally, new goaltender animations will be included.
Ingelhart said in our discussion that with these new mechanics comes programming designed to integrate human error into NHL 23. This human error equation ensures that winning a game or playing a game does not become an “OP” style of play that is necessary to win the game. “We Really Played With That Human Error” [of players] So much for getting it to the right level,” Ingelhart said. And as far as animations go, the creative director for NHL 23 noted that these last chance shooting animations, along with the new save, will be part of a much larger vision for gameplay. That vision is that the development team wants to make sure there’s enough variability so that one game doesn’t feel the same as the next matchup.
New additions on the back end
Image via EA Sports
For the first time in the history of the franchise, NHL 23 will also include cross-platform matchmaking for both the Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) and the EA Sports Hockey League (EASHL). This new addition will arrive in November 2022 as part of a post-launch update and will allow users from the same generation of consoles to match each other in action online. When asked about potential upgrades to the NHL franchise and the future of cross-platform play, Kwang said the team has a roadmap in place and will listen to the community for future upgrades, such as purchasing HUT cards from individual users. and business ability. Forum.
Franchise mode will also get an upgrade. Last year saw a boon with roster sharing, which has long been highly requested from the NHL community. More solid features will be added to Franchise Mode in 2022.
NHL 23 will have the ability to adapt more strategies than ever before. Users can now tinker with lines, including Power Play configurations, to make sure players are exactly where they want them to be on the ice. Additionally, custom franchises will see players have the ability to customize components such as the number of teams in the league, the number of games in a season, how many teams make the playoffs, and even salary cap ceilings.
This is all part of the buildup that the development team has worked on over the years, including roster sharing per Kwang. Ingelhart said these new additions will give players’ teammates all kinds of creative control over their save files. These changes, according to Ingelhart, will allow users to maximize their time on NHL 23 and Franchise Mode. For example, players who are only interested in creating a season with a limited number of games may do so to fit a tight schedule. Or, if a player only wants to go up against his squad’s most hated rivals in one season, that user is free to do so.
NHL 23 is set to be released on October 14. Those who order the premium X-Factor version will get three days of early access starting October 11, while EA Play customers can start the trial version of NHL 23 starting that date.