“200 New Features”

I’ve played the NHL ’11 demo a few times, and I had some mixed feelings about the whole game – and thought how “new versions are made in the big world”.

One major difference to indie world is that if NHL ’11 would be done by indies, it would have been published as a patch or as “an expansion pack” (or “paid upgrade”), and it wouldn’t be a new game that costs 50 euros (or whatever the new AAA games cost).

To me it looks like NHL ’11 is the greatest ice hockey game in the planet, and I’d give it 90+ points if I was to write a review…

…but I’m still not buying it.


  • As cool as the new hip tackle (and other tackles in the whole games) is and no matter how cool is to see broken ice hockey sticks, it still feels an upgrade to the previous version. I would have no problem paying 20ish euros for an upgrade, but since I’ve already got NHL ’10 I feel that I’m not getting this new version – I’m waiting to see NHL ’12
  • Plus: from game developer’s perspective I’m almost guessing they haven’t improved the online multiplayer version in certain ways that I’d want – but of course that’s left to see (since couldn’t test that in demo). I’m talking about making it impossible to take away goalie (since people can ruin the game by randomly taking it off), more balanced matchmaking (based on ranks or something), possibility to change position mid-game (for example, if somebody leaves the game, you could take his position), even balancing the game to favor the losing side (I’d make it so that the team who is losing would get bonus for goalie skills, or perhaps to losing side player skills would be somewhat improved). If technically possible, I would make it so that people could join the online game during the play, and also would make so that players could turn ON a “bot mode” for a moment (if they need to stop playing for a moment). I know some of these are big design decisions and something that won’t be easy to accept, but for example balanced gameplay wouldn’t perhaps be “realistic”, but I’m very certain that it would be more fun.

I think EA has done a great game. I think they’ve made some great improvements. The physics change is a biggie for example and the game just feels (once again) more polished that it’s a no-brainer to get it (unless you already own NHL ’10).

They have put 200+ new features.

They’ve made the world’s best ice hockey game.

Yet, it feels like an “upgrade” to me.

I’m about 110% certain that EA will make tons of more money this way (selling it at 50ish eur price point instead of 20ish eur upgrade), but In the indie world things would be different.

Indies would give those 200 features for free (or as an add-on pack), and people would be amazed about this.

Not sure if that would be sensible for indies. This is just some food for thought.

What you think?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. True, power of licenses are great.

    It has some effect on my purchasing decisions too… but since I’m no ice hockey fan, I can live with few year old stuff.

  2. I prefer soccer over icehockey, but hey, EA makes now great soccer games again (PES sucks!), but it doesn’t matter: What differentiates big sports games from indie games are not those new little features you mentioned (which are great, yeah) but the licensed players, original faces, jerseys, original replicas of stadiums and so on. If I am a fan I can’t stand to play in the “old” jerseys. If my favorite teams has those new cool players … I want to play with them. If new clubs are in the league (like it is in soccer each season), hell, I want to play with them – or against them in their stadium.

    That is hotter than new physics ;-) and that is why I am willing to pay 50 Eur for a game like that… an indie could make a soccer game that is way better than FIFA or PES (PES sucks!), I wouldn’t buy it, because they are missing the big thing: original players, original faces, original stadiums and all that big stuff :-)

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