The debut trailer for NHL 23 comes out swinging, with some of that classic E3 "stage demo cringe" that's been hard to come by these past years. Cover stars Trevor Zegras and Sarah Nurse group up to guide you through some of the new features, and things are much as you'd expect. That said, it looks like NHL 23 is set to feature some pretty noteworthy additions, alongside the usual smaller scale "marketing bullet points".
The biggest new feature is by far crossplay. Xbox and PlayStation gamers will be able to matchmake with one another now, though according to the NHL 23 website, it won't available at launch. More interesting --and disappointing — is the fact that cross-play won't be multi-generational. Xbox One users will be able to play with PS4 players, and PS5 will be with Xbox Series X|S, but those two groups don't appear to be able to intersect. This is likely due to gameplay differences between generations, so at least matchmaking should take less time when playing HUT or World of CHEL.
Another noteworthy feature is the introduction of women's teams to the Ultimate Team Mode. The trailer shows packs and cards for a few of the women's Olympic teams and mentions that mixed squads will be a thing, a welcome inclusion that was a long time coming, even if it seems to be isolated to HUT for now.
The remainder of the changes are smaller in scope but may be bigger in impact depending on how large the overhauls wind up. The website for the game makes mention of updated strategies, which have gone largely untouched dating back to the PS3. If there's more nuance to the way you can dictate how your team skates, we're all for it.
The site also alludes to new X-Factors being added to the game to tie in with both Zegras and Nurse. Lastly, the site mentions new desperation animations allowing for better interaction with the puck as you might be losing control. The trailer touts over 500 new animations, so hopefully, that will result in a noticeable difference. And, as we called in our article about the cover reveal, Zegras' epic flip-pass does make an appearance in the trailer.
The remainder of the changes seem to be largely cosmetic, as the features list makes mention of "crowd and atmosphere", offering increased crowd interactivity and energy during key moments, as well as on-ice projections. Additionally, customisable celebrations are mentioned, allowing for better goal celebrations, hat-trick celebrations, and even customizable Stanley Cup celebrations. Does this mean the canned video that plays when you win The Cup is finally gone?
One thing the trailer shows off but doesn't tout as a feature is a first-person camera angle. Could a first-person feature be an unannounced inclusion for NHL 23? We'd certainly welcome that even if it seems unlikely. We won't have long to wait though, as the game is set to launch on 14th October, with a network test presumably some time in September. Do you plan on picking it up?