EA Sports has been teasing the reveal of this year's hockey title for a number of days, and at long last, the curtain has been pulled back. For the first time in quite a while, the cover will be graced by the Washington Capitals' "great eight," Alexander Ovechkin. He was last plastered on one of EA's hockey games in NHL 07 -- though he was on the cover for the Russian edition of '09 -- so it's been some time.
The trailer for the game is also Ovechkin-centric, talking about the impact that arguably the greatest goal scorer in the league's history has had. Many of his very best highlights show up, including his legendary goal against the Coyotes in 2006, as well as him finally hoisting the Stanley Cup.
While the trailer may largely be a celebration of Ovechkin's legacy, there are snippets of new gameplay scattered throughout. Granted, there's not much -- concerningly little even -- but it's something, right? We see what might be a few new celebrations, as well as gameplay footage of Andre Svechnikov pulling off his spectacular lacrosse goal from the most recent season, but honestly, that's about it.
There are a few more details available on the EA website as well. The most noteworthy tidbit here is the promised overhaul to the Be A Player mode which has gone unchanged for so long that it was beginning to look hopeless. Based on the website, we can look forward to a narrative structure, including some off-ice elements. This is a very welcome addition, given how far behind NHL has been compared to EA's other sports licenses when it comes to features.
However, for those that remember a blog post back in July, it was announced that NHL 21 would be skipping out on next-gen. While the game will be playable on the PlayStation 5, there will be no explicit PS5 iteration of the game, which is much the same thing that happened at the dawn of the last generation. The generational leap historically tends to hit sports franchises a little harder than the rest, so this isn't exactly a surprise.
We'll have an early impressions piece about the game once the technical test goes live, but look forward to hearing more when the game launches on 16th October 2020. Are you excited for NHL 21 though? Try and think of a better goal scorer than Ovechkin in the comments below.