If you’re a fan of hockey games, we’ve got some good news for you. EA has revealed the next iteration in the current dominant name in hockey video games, EA’s NHL franchise, with NHL 20.
The big new draw in NHL 20 is a new game mode called Eliminator. This new addition will take the Ones and Threes modes from previous games and add in what EA calls, a “winner-take-all competition inspired by battle royale.”
The game mode is essentially a series of single-elimination games comprised of a huge number of entrants spread over multiple series’ of games. 80 players will play in a series of 1v1v1 matches in the Solo mode, with 100 players taking part in 3v3 tourney brackets. This madness will continue until only one team remains.
The list of features is also getting more depth with the addition of some new commentary tracks, including some rather surprising new voices. EA has teases various celebs and sports legends that are involved with the project, including Will Ferrell, Drake, Snoop Dogg and Wayne Gretzky.
Gameplay is also getting a polish pass. The team on NHL 20 looks to be taking a cue from FIFA, by focusing hard on realism with a new system called Superstar Signature Shots. This combined with more realistic AI algorithms will create more immersive hockey action with players that behave more comparatively to their real-life counterparts. Hockey Ultimate Team is also being expanded with a mode ported over from FIFA, Squad Battles. So if you’re looking for pay-to-win gambling, EA has it in spades once again.
I’ll be fair, the threes mode from NHL 19 was actually kind of inventive. Players would group up in small teams and take on increasingly weird rosters of opponents like team mascots and other such nonsense. I can only hope that the next iteration of the sports franchise continues that trend and taking something that sounds a bit lame and putting a spin on it.
Because if I’m honest, a battle royale mode in a hockey game just sounds awkward and probably tedious. Having to play a massive series of hockey games in a row might be fun for hardcore fans that already do marathon sessions, but it seems like the mode will quickly lose its luster for others. Unless EA rolls in some special rewards for taking part, I can’t see it catching on.
NHL 20 will be available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 13th.