In October of 2022, EA Sports released the long-awaited NHL 23, the 32nd installment in its NHL hockey simulation video game series. The game brought exciting improvements over its previous versions, with some of the most notable being the expanded customization options and the inclusion of Women’s National Team players in the HUT mode. NHL 23 also introduced a range of new, captivating animations, including hat tricks, on-ice projections, and interactive Stanley Cup celebrations.
Despite the many refinements and improvements, NHL 23 was met with mixed reviews from fans and critics alike.
So what can be expected from the next instalment of the series? In what follows, we break down what it’s known so far about NHL 24—from its release date to potential improvements and more.
NHL 24 release date
At the time of writing this article, EA Sports has yet to confirm or announce a release date for NHL 24. This has sparked concerns among fans of the franchise who are worried the game won’t be released at all. However, without an official confirmation from EA Sports, it’s unlikely that the highly popular franchise will be retired soon. Last year, NHL 23 became available worldwide on Friday the 14th of October, following the same pattern as the previous title. If NHL 24 is set to release in 2023, players can expect to get their hands on the game on Friday the 13th of October.
What improvements can be expected from NHL 24?
Throughout the past three decades, Electronic Arts have significantly improved the NHL games’ overall presentation and graphics by introducing a higher resolution and a faster refresh rate. So players can expect sharper graphics and smoother gameplay in future instalments.
One of NHL 23’s improvements was the ability to customize the Stanley Cup celebration as well as hat tricks and post-game celebrations. Players were also able to utilize custom seasons to freely adjust the length of an NHL season. NHL 24 could take customization a step further by having online leagues in custom leagues.
While enabling cross-platform matchmaking, this NHL 23 feature didn’t come without its limitations. Xbox players, for example, weren’t able to squad up with PlayStation players on the same team, but they could play against each other if they are in the same generation. In this sense, NHL 24’s co-play options could be more expansive and dynamic.
Who will be featured on NHL 24’s cover?
NHL 23 featured two cover athletes: Anaheim Ducks’ forward Trevor Zegras and World and Olympic champion Sarah Nurse. Nurse became the first-ever female player to be featured on the game’s cover.
For NHL 24, we can expect iconic players such as the Oilers’ Connor McDavid, the Bruins’ Linus Ullmark, the Devil’s Jack Hughes, and PWHPA’s Marie-Philip Poulin to name a few options.
Outstanding NHL games throughout the years
Video games have allowed hockey enthusiasts to get a realistic experience by simulating bits and pieces of the season and featuring elements of the game. Before the release of NHL 24, here are a few titles worth trying out.
Hockey has inspired several online casino slots and Hockey Hero is a good example. Developed by Real Time Gaming, this progressive jackpot slot is played on a 15-line setting. If, after spinning the wheels, players get three or more matching symbols, they win a prize. But is winning a matter of luck or does the house have the edge? And, is it possible to beat the game in the long run? Gayle Mitchell and her team at SlotsOnlineCanda.com discovered from this research that slot machines can’t be beaten in the “long run.” So players should approach Hockey Hero as an enjoyable form of entertainment rather than a means of making money.
ESPN NHL 2K5
This game is ideal for those seeking an authentic hockey experience. Released in 2004 for PlayStation 2 and XBOX, ESPN NHL 2K5 offers a comprehensive franchise mode where players have control over roster management and coaching staff decisions. It features a wide range of jerseys from different teams’ histories and incorporates real-life footage and Sportscenter analysis in the intro cutscene. To players’ disappointment, ESPN NHL 2K5 marked the end of the ESPN-branded NHL games and Sega’s publishing of NHL titles. The series was later renamed NHL 2K, with 2K becoming the sole publisher until it eventually ended with NHL 2K, a short-lived mobile game released in 2014.
Released over a decade ago, NHL 13 is widely regarded as one of the best entries in the EA series. With its “True Broadcast” camera, the game offered an immersive experience similar to watching a live NHL game on NBC. The revamped physics engine introduced realistic skating, hitting, and puck dynamics, resulting in dynamic goal-scoring opportunities. Moreover, EA enhanced H.U.T., “Be-A-Pro’” mode, and online club play options.
NHL 94 revolutionized sports video games and is regarded as one of the greatest of all time. Unlike its predecessors, it introduced significant enhancements, such as the ability to play a single or seven-game series and execute powerful one-timers. Its enduring popularity is evident in the release of NHL 94 Rewind, an updated version with current rosters. Subsequent editions, like NHL 14, 15, and 16, paid tribute to the game’s legacy, while NHL 06 for PlayStation 2 featured a modified version.
The 33rd installment of EA’s NHL saga, NHL 24, is expected to release in the fall of 2023. While developers have yet to officially announce the game, players are hoping for several improvements from the previous titles—from enhanced graphics to advanced customization options. Yet, those who enjoy the NHL and its games have plenty of options to choose from before the long-awaited NHL 24 release.