NHL 16 Release, Features Revealed

Video game developer Electronic Arts isn’t satisfied teasing Xbox One and PS4 users about an upcoming Madden 16 release. This week the company is also sharing more about this year’s NHL 16 release.

Electronic Arts added more information and an NHL 16 release window to its EA Sports website just this week. The NHL series of games are licensed by the National Hockey League in the United States. Like other major EA Sports franchises, the game is geared at fans who want a hyper-realistic hockey match simulation.

NHL 16

The new NHL 16 page on the EA Sports website doesn’t go so far as to name an exact release date for the game. Instead, potential buyers of the game have to be satisfied with a relative window of sometime this coming September.

The biggest feature added to NHL 16 seems to be an updated EA Sports Hockley League, EASHL for short. The developer describes this as an “online team mode” for sorting gamers in classes and letting them player each other based on their raw talent and skill. EASHL seems like a pretty bold move to balance the online multiplayer experience in the game. Most first-person shooters use a similar technique to make sure that casual players are playing against other casual layers and those who tend to dominate matches are playing against someone just as good as they are.

When users are playing online they’re able to team up with five other players and play against a rival team of up to six players. Electronic Arts calls this Online Team Play. Online Couch Co-Op is another coming feature. In this mode, EA Sports is trying to remove all the unnecessary obstacles and menus that keep gamers from playing online with their friends. Players can drop in and out of Online Couch-Cop sessions, making it the perfect mode for users with tons of friends or just looking to wind down after a long day.

In GM Mode in-game general managers will have to work hard to manage the many personalities that can exist on their teams. Hockey Ultimate Team is getting single layer sessions who’d like to experience the feature on their own, ice training for breaking down what players are getting right and wrong, better puck pass control and some upgraded presentations to set the stage for what happens during the main matches. During the playoffs, players will even notice their beards grow the longer they last against their foes. Authentic commentary from the sports most notable personalities are among the things promised in NHL 16 too.

NHL 16 is among the first EA Sports titles to complete the transition to current-generation consoles. Gamers won’t have the option to buy NHL 16 for anything besides Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PS4. It’s only those versions that video game retailer GameStop is talking pre-orders for already.

All told, the list of NHL 16 features is pretty extensive. We likely won’t see the game in action until this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in June, but the feature list looks pretty extensive. Each year video game developers and platform makers flock to the Los Angeles Convention Center to share information about their upcoming games, plans for feature updates and release plans for the holiday season and beyond.

Electronic Arts is holding its E3 2015 briefing on Monday at 1PM Pacific Time. For anyone who likes both football and hockey, the fall is starting to look pretty busy. Madden 16, the biggest of all of EA Sport’s gaming franchises, launches on August 25th in North America.