Wednesday, April 8, 2009

NHL 2010 Q&A

If you haven't been playing the greatest hockey video game to grace the earth since NHL '94 (or Mutant League Hockey, if you're into that), then you should probably head out to your local game store and check out NHL 09 immediately.

It's that good. It's so good that if the year was 2018, we'd be inducting it into our Video Game Hockey Hall of Fame and raising its box art to the rafters (okay, not really).

So naturally we're going to be excited over NHL 2010. We found this Q&A about the game on You can check it out here, or read our selected excerpts below.

With the release of NHL 09, as with anything, there were successes and failures. What do you think were some of the strengths of that release, as well as some possible misses?

I think the biggest success was probably EASHL (EA Sports Hockey League). We thought it was going to be popular, but I think it turned out to be even more successful than any of us imagined. That popularity also made it a miss in some ways, since it ended up having some flaws that turned out to be very exploitable and put the competitive integrity of the league in question.

I'm also happy with a lot of the improvements in the game that have made the gameplay experience richer and more interesting. I'm thinking of things like the new defensive controls (stick-lift and improved poke-checking), offensive weapons like push-puck, protect-puck, and a lot of other refinements to the game. I've got a very gameplay-centric bias, so I realize that I'm completely neglecting all of the improvements that went into other areas of the game — I only tend to notice those when I see NHL 08 and then those improvements jump out at me.

We were introduced to the offensive skill stick not long ago, and the defensive skill stick with NHL 09. Any chance the aspiring virtual goaltenders will get some love in the future?

I can't really get into specific feature plans for NHL 10, so I'll just have to go with the stock answer here: We are always looking to make the improvements to the game that will have the biggest impact on its overall quality. The goalies are a central part of the game, so you can be sure they will be getting some attention.

Finally, where do you see the NHL series five years from now?

The easy thing to predict is that we will keep increasing the authenticity of the game. If you compare the game to a real hockey game, there are still quite a few things that are missing. My own approach is to prioritize them in the order of their importance to the hockey experience, as always applying a "gameplay first" bias. In five years I think what you'll see and control when you are playing will be much more like real hockey. That's the easy prediction...

We have a few ideas that might be the next big change, and no doubt more thoughts will come up as we go; it is impossible to predict which of these will pan out. Looking at broad areas where improvements might come, I think the computer AI took a fairly sizable leap forward in NHL 08, and there is still a lot more mileage for us to gain from that system. Another safe bet is that online will continue to be a catalyst for big changes. The EASHL broke open a whole new way to play the game that opens up a lot of possibilities, NHL 09 only scratched the surface here.

We'll keep you updated on anything NHL 2010 as we find it, and we're also looking into talking with the EA Vancouver crew ourselves so we can ask the million dollar question. Sean Avery on the cover?


  1. Bring back Blades Of Steel!


  3. I will not buy the game is Sean Avery is on the cover


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