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EA NHL ’17: Dissecting the Vision Trailer

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bJNQovjxVhk

06/10/2016 – EA Sports released their first glimpse of NHL ’17 in the form of a trailer on April 26th, 2016. There are a lot of hidden points to unravel, so you first have to watch the trailer in order to follow. https://youtu.be/bJNQovjxVhk

Goaltending: There were many changes made to goaltenders in NHL ‘16, but there’s more modifications on the horizon. We see a goaltender go from left to right to make a butterfly slide save on a shooter in the beginning of the trailer, which is nothing more than new animation. The way the player gets goalie status is when the narrator, Doc Emrick, says: “our focus is to make sure we’re improving game-play in all three zones.” We get a look at three different stances of goaltenders.

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Hearing the words “three zones” can be interpreted in many different ways. A possibility can be the offensive zone, the neutral zone, and the defensive zone in which the goaltender becomes increasingly aware that the puck approaches his end of the ice. It can also be the three “player types” you get to choose as a goalie in NHL ’16, such as butterfly, hybrid, and stand-up.

Above, we see the position of the first goalie with his legs the most far bent and his glove and blocker down by his thigh, which will be the butterfly. The second goaltender has his glove at the level of his chest and with his pads bent somewhere in the middle of the three net minders, which is the hybrid. The final puck stopper has his glove up as high as his shoulder and his pads are bent the least, positioning such as this is identical to a stand-up.

Front of the Net Battles: In NHL ’12 introduced puck battles in front of the net —  as this new feature gave defense the ability to move check opposing players who’re looking to screen the goalie or score on a rebound from the slot area. Up until then, players in front of the net without the puck could not be moved without being penalized.  We lost this feature in NHL ’15 when EA Sports made the jump to next generation consoles. However, this useful mechanism will be on its way back into the NHL franchise for next years ’17 edition.

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There are two players batting in the slot for positioning, while a player at the blue-line is ready to throw the puck on the goal. The narrator clarifies this by saying “to battling for that critical inch in front of the net during the dying seconds.” A feature that will create intensify mayhem in front of the net that has been dearly missed by the NHL franchise.

Customization: Here, we get to see two practice arenas.

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Previous NHL games have had multiple dilemmas with this such as not having the ability to practice with just your team or being forced to practice with an “opponent… With the same skill level as you.”  More recently, in NHL ’15 and ’16, there was no practice mode for EASHL. As you can see here – there are no differences from looking at the two arenas. You even have the ability to customize arenas in this newest addition. As the narrator states, “through deeper and more customization experiences.”

Does this mean practice mode will be implemented for more than just EASHL? It appears so. The “Be A GM Mode” lost practice mode in NHL ’15 and HUT, now this feature is back available in ’17.

The next two images below are of equipment that you’re able to customize.

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This feature gives you the ability to create your own jerseys and customize logos, similar to the “Create a Team” mode from NHL ’14. The real question is, which mode(s) will this feature be used for? EASHL and “Be a GM Mode” both had this characteristic, so it is believed those two modes will have the highest chance to get this attribute. As you can see, they went highly in depth with this new mode by including something as large as new logos, to things as tedious such as the color of a jersey’s lace.

Arenas: We get multiple noteworthy screenshots of customized arenas throughout this trailer A lot of these might look similar, but there’s actually different seating and lighting. image1image2image3image3

You can see a layer of lighting that wraps around the arena of suites on top of the first section of stands — while over that is another section of suites, and on top of that is another lay of lighting. The stands are all different as are the lighting. The sections of seats are ordered neatly by white steps and there is metal fencing (similar to the ones at Madison Square Garden) around the penalty box for fans near the sin bin. Very unique and customized. These pictures of the new arena in ’17 are much better compared to this pic of the arena in NHL ’16.

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Be a GM: (Picture below) From customizing your jersey to making your own arena, ‘Be a GM’ looks to be getting the biggest upgrade out of every game mode. This screen shows a unique list of the team’s total budget, the owner’s personality, Rogers Arena information, and the faculty ratings.

For the Total Team Budget option you can see the user can now spend money on four different fields opposed to just the player’s salary. You can now spend money on the arena’s operations meaning you may have the ability to alter parts of Rogers Arena. The new promotions budget option may give the GM the ability to create events such as team player signings, try hockey, free tickets. The marketing budget option gives the user the power to market your team, perhaps you can come up with you can create your own slogan and have it on the scoreboard. The imagination of possibilities are endless.

The owner personality has three options, once again, all new — and controls the capability of controlling how much money you spend, similar to how some team owners are cautious about how much their GM spends in free agency. This element adds the needed touch of realism that forces you to build your team though the draft. The importance of success option controls how much your owner wants you to win which contradicts the patience option of how much he is willing to wait and rebuild. Rogers Arena is listed above with information such as seat capacity and arena age. With information such as this, relocation must be a key part of the game.

The final section on the screen is faculty ratings. You can control the concessions, team store, parking lot and club seats. Other than the club seats and the concessions, we have never seen a team parking lot or team store in any NHL game. This brings up another question, if you will be able to control them, will you be able to visualize or fix them with the money you get for arena operations? We will have to wait sooner for that answer.

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Relocation of Arenas: As you can see, relocation has finally been implemented into the NHL gaming series — with 13 different cities you can relocate to. The screenshots unravel three of the thirteen new locations which give information on: market size, interest in your franchise, open to to negotiations, fan engagement and stadium funding interest. The most interesting notification is at the bottom where it says at the bottom that you cannot relocate to two of the three cities. This can be for many reasons; for one it could be that it could make sense location-wise. For instance, you cannot move Los Angles to Hartford,  as the conferences will not match up in terms of east-west and the game won’t accept it. It can also be that the cities do not have interest in your organization. The two cities that this user cannot negotiate with, both have no interest in the franchise. There’s so much to speculate about, but we will know soon.

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Hockey Ultimate Team:  The image below is the screenshot from the NHL ’16 trailer,  but zoomed in. As we can see, Coach Vernon Fiddler is one of the official NHL coaches, meaning the user can finally pick which coach he wants to utilize. One thing that’s particularly excited is that sets from Madden NFL video games will be making their way to the NHL gaming franchise, as the text below gold coach trade in states “complete this set by turning in any 10 gold coach items for a gold trophy pack which contains at least 1 gold trophy.” Creating a set is collecting a certain amount of specific cards and then you can trade them in for something else valuable. Trophies can be used to complete sets for valuable players or can be used for redeeming coins. This set is used to collect coaches in exchange for a trophy. Hockey Ultimate Team is once again evolving.

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World Cup of Hockey: Here’s a screenshot of IIHF’s jersey authenticity.

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We see four eight World Cup hockey teams all with authentic logos — and the newest additions are team Europe and North America, who are actually both teams that have never been in an NHL video game before. Interesting question for you — who will this be used in other game modes? For “Be a GM” mode, can your players play for their World Cup team after they’ve been eliminated from the playoffs? Can you your pro plane it over to a different country and play for his team after your season end? Or will this just be another winter classic mode where you can only use it as it’s own mode. Very interesting to ponder what players can do in this new mode.

New Celebrations: We saw multiple celebrations from real NHL games at the end of the trailer, but there were two noticeable celebrations at the end of the NHL ’17 trailer – Alex Ovechkin’s hot stick and Ryan Reeves dab. Is specific NHL player celebrations coming?

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The final celebration they added was a team hug after a player got a hat-trick.

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As you can see, the hats are raining down while the boys are celebrating post hat-trick. Meanwhile, only two years ago, fans had only received their first look at two man celebrations! You can see, on the far right, one of the players doesn’t have a helmet or gloves on! Players can now take off their gear on the bench it appears. We’ve seen this plenty of times in real-life NHL games, and seeing it in NHL 17 adds realism.

There are still a lot unanswered questions, but that’s just all part of the yearly excitement and anticipation of a new and upcoming NHL video game.

 

By: Marco Annibale

Twitter: @MMMMMAAAARRRCCO

 

 

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