When it comes to EA’s sports games, most tend to think of FIFA and Madden, but that hasn’t stopped its NHL franchise from continuing to provide hockey fans with a virtual fix every year. It’s a trend that will continue this fall with the release of the series’ 30th entry, NHL 21.
Following the news earlier this summer that NHL 21 would be delayed from the usual September release window, EA announced in a press release that the game will be out on October 16. The publisher also confirmed that Washington Capitals captain and Stanley Cup winner Alexander Ovechkin will be the star athlete gracing its cover, hyping his inclusion in the game’s reveal trailer. This will be Ovechkin’s second appearance on the box art for one of EA’s NHL games, following 2006’s NHL 07.
As for the gameplay changes NHL 21 is bringing this year, EA said the game will sport several improvements. These include more versatile movement options, an overhauled Be A Pro mode with narrative and quality-of-life enhancements, a streamlined Hockey Ultimate Team mode that will let players play and earn rewards much faster, and new Ranked Seasons to take on in World of CHEL.
Fans have been pretty disappointed that NHL 21 won’t be coming to PC or next-gen consoles, due to the troubles the development team faced this year. It’s a real bummer for those who were hoping to be able to play it on the PS5 or Xbox Series X, but for what it’s worth, it sounds like hockey fans will have plenty to love in NHL 21 despite its current-gen exclusivity.
NHL 21 will launch on October 16 for PS4 and Xbox One.