*UPDATED* NHL 21: Release date, reveal, development update, next-gen, cover, trailer, demo, beta, gameplay, features, Ultimate Team, price, editions, potential delay & more

The NHL is on ice thanks to COVID-19. The good news is NHL 21 isn’t.

We didn’t quite get what we wanted to see at EA Play, but thanks to a recent development update, we now know the release date and next-gen plans for the game.

Let’s go over everything we know so far about NHL 21.

Release Date

NHL 21 is officially heading for release in October as confirmed in a new development update.

This matches up with EA’s roadmap which placed NHL 21 as a Q3 2020 release.

Next-Gen

NHL 21 will be the first of EA’s major sports titles not to be designed for next-gen consoles, as revealed in the latest development update.

ALL IN ON CURRENT-GEN: NHL 21 will be developed for current-gen consoles, but will still be playable on next-gen thanks to forward compatibility

In the update it’s explained that this is to free up the team to add plenty of new gameplay features to the game for release on Xbox One and PS4.

NHL 21 will still be playable on next-gen consoles thanks to forward-compatibility, but it will not be receiving PS5 and Xbox Series X releases with next-gen exclusive features.

Who is the cover star?

Last year’s cover star was the electric forward from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews.

EURO REPPING: Patrik Laine and Elias Pettersson donned the cover in Scandinavia

This upcoming year it is hard to say who will get the nod for the cover.

Keep your eyes on Nathan Mackinnon as the frontrunner. Having never been on the cover before, he has been sensational this season and is in with a good chance of making the cover.

READ MORE: Absolutely everything you need to know about Madden 21

One of the common trends EA has done over recent years is to select regional cover stars for certain countries.

As pictured above, Finland’s cover featured Patrik Laine and Swedens’s cover featured Elias Pettersson.

That should continue this year, with notable players such as Germany’s Leon Draisaitl and the Czech Republic’s David Pastrnak looking to get the nod on covers away from the US.

New Gameplay Features

This year the team is more focused than ever to deliver new gameplay features after announcing the game wouldn’t be developed with next-gen console exclusives.

LEVELING UP: What new features we will see in NHL 20?

Look for new features in the skating, defensive, shooting and A.I departments this year!

Trailer

There is no official trailer yet, but be sure to bookmark this tab and check back when one releases!

The first trailer last year was the cover star reveal – which was announced on June 20, 2019.

This was followed by the above gameplay trailer on 16 July, 2019.

Price & Editions

Expect the usual price point of $59.99 USD when NHL 21 release, as well there will be some special editions so keep your eyes peeled.

GIVE ‘EM CHEL: Changes could arrive this year

The NHL series has only ever released on console so expect it to be on the Xbox One and PS4. With the next generation consoles coming, maybe we will see copies available on the Xbox Series X and PS5 when they release!

READ MORE: The top Cloud games coming in 2020

Unfortunately, don’t expect NHL 21 to arrive on either Nintendo Switch or PC.

Be a Pro Mode

NHL’s take on the classic career mode has received a lot of criticism over the last two years. The mode has you create your own player, and then it prompts you to either pick an NHL team or pick one of the countless Junior teams.

OVERHAUL PENDING? NHL 20’s Be a Pro mode needs an improvement

Other than that, it is one of the weaker career modes we have seen in sports titles.

Fans have been begging EA to adjust the mode similar to what 2K Games has done with the NBA franchise. Perhaps, using a different storyline with some dialogue to make you connect to your NHL player more.

Franchise Mode

Franchise mode received the biggest overhaul during NHL 20; EA implemented coaches, dynamic line chemistry, in-depth scouting reports, and conversations between you and the players.

Although NHL 20 introduced an ample amount of new features, some of these should be fine-tuned for the next game.

Having an overall better system in place for the player conversations is a must for fans. Coaches and line chemistry was one of the best features introduced in NHL 20, and fans are hoping EA can propel these additions into some of the best the series has.

Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT)

One of the new features introduced last year was Squad Battles, a take on the classic FIFA game mode. The mode is still on-going and refreshing challengers every day or week.

Going forward to this year’s title, it is hard to say what additions HUT needs. As of now, there are over 400 Hockey collectible players and it would not hurt to see even more additions.

With both FIFA and Madden boasting in-depth and regularly updated Ultimate Team content we expect to see EA lift some ideas from those titles and bring them into NHL 21.

Ratings

Like any sports game, ratings are one of the core components for each year’s iteration. NHL 21 should offer some upgrades and downgrades to numerous players going into the new game.

Here’s our predictions for the top five players for NHL 21.

  • Connor McDavid
  • Sidney Crosby
  • Alex Ovechkin
  • Nathan Mackinnon
  • Nikita Kucherov

READ MORE: Absolutely everything you need to know about MLB The Show 20

Demo/Beta

No official news on the demo/beta yet for NHL 21. Last year, everyone was given a chance to check out the new game from July 26-31, so be on the lookout for sometime around then too!

The post *UPDATED* NHL 21: Release date, reveal, development update, next-gen, cover, trailer, demo, beta, gameplay, features, Ultimate Team, price, editions, potential delay & more appeared first on RealSport.

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