Who would have thought that even sports games are being roped into the sociopolitical culture war battleground? Well, that’s what happened recently with NHL 19 from EA Sports.
Electronic Arts recently announced NHL 19 with a new trailer focusing on the big new changes for this year, which is the inclusion of more diversity featuring minorities in the NHL as well as pond hockey for the amateurs. The trailer rolls through some of the new content, which actually has less features than previous years’ outings, and some actual NHL fans are anything but happy about the exclusion of GM Connected, online leagues, and the Frostbite game engine.
The trailer attempts to highlight the more racially diverse cast of players in this year’s iteration of NHL. It also spends an inordinate amount of time focusing on the new pond hockey feature for the game. You can check out the trailer below.
Quite naturally, attempting to depart from what fans actually wanted and putting diversity and pond hockey as the centerpiece attractions for this year’s outing of NHL 19 did not go over well with fans, as evident by the like/dislike bar.
What was the major issue?
A lot of people were disappointed that NHL 19 wasn’t running on the Frostbite this time around, especially after EA Sports showed out with superb physics, lighting, and character interactions in last year’s outings of FIFA 18 and Madden NFL 18.
While BioWare Montreal may have given the Frostbite engine a bad name, a lot of the other competent studios under EA have showed just how accomplished and prestigious the engine is when it’s not being handed off to diversity hires brought in to meet token quotas.
Some others expressed general overall disappointment with the reveal trailer, dogging NHL 19 for not looking very impressive.
The disgruntlement even extended out into the Twitter-verse, where the typically Left-leaning social media platform couldn’t quite get excited for the diversity-oriented and feature-sparse version of NHL 19, especially given that the cover art for the game features a black NHL player that many fans felt didn’t quite put in the performances throughout the season to earn his spot on the box.
EA – “hey look! We made NHL 19 better….we added pond hockey…..”
Gamers – “what about the gameplay glitches?”
EA – “ponnndddd hockkkeyyyyy”
— Tomas (@napatom2005) June 21, 2018
That’s not the cover right? I don’t want a cover with PK Subban, hell nah.
— SSGSS Jacob (@BluesFan4910) June 21, 2018
Others, however, had more pointed criticism, asking about features like the general manager mode, player customization, livery customization, online hockey leagues, and improved AI.
Not every gamer was as disappointed as those in the comment section, but the increasing dislike bar shows that the diehard NHL fans are not happy with what EA is producing this year based on what they’ve seen… or rather, based on what they haven’t seen.
Well, YouTuber Yewy Bear Gaming actually did dive into the nitty gritty of the features to outline what’s new in this year’s upcoming game. The features break down as the following:
- World of Chel
- New WOC Customization
- Gameplay Improvements
In a seven and a half minute video the YouTuber explains all of the new features present in NHL 19, and it doesn’t include GM Mode or online league play.
As pointed out in the video, the game’s main focus is on customization, including allowing players to create their own NHL player and deck them out in over 900 new items.
Many gamers suspect that the customization will be rife with microtransactions given EA’s history with microtransactions.
While the Frostbite engine may not be powering the game under the hood, EA Sports is utilizing the RPM (Real Motion Tech) that was featured in FIFA 18 and EA Sports UFC 3 for improved animation blending, and they’re coupling it with an overhauled collision physics engine.
Nevertheless, stripping out franchise features and league modes and replacing them with hockey ponds and lots of clothing customization that gamers feel will be exploited by microtransactions has already left a sour taste in the mouths of most longtime fans.
Given EA’s more abrasive, SJW-themed, anti-consumer stance in recent times, it’s unlikely that they’ll make any improvements to assuage the concerns voiced by hardcore gamers, especially if their Battlefield V conduct is anything to go by.
(Thanks for the news tip AngryWhiteKeyboardWarrior)