MONTREAL – For anyone experiencing summertime hockey withdrawal symptoms, slapping the latest edition of the NHL series into your console, grabbing a friend and smack-talking your way through an 82-game season has been a tried-and-true remedy for years.
With NHL 13 set to launch in early September, canadiens.com met up with game producer, Sean “Rammer” Ramjagsingh at Montreal’s EA offices to test drive the game’s newest features and find out what Habs fans have to look forward to.
But first thing’s first: After spending so many months with the Canadiens’ pixelated players, who is Ramjagsingh’s favorite member of the team?
|Pixelated P.K. Subban and Josh Gorges in action|
“P.K. Subban is probably my favorite player on the Canadiens roster right now. He’s got a great personality and he’s fantastic to watch on the ice,” shared the gaming guru. “I remember watching him play in the World Juniors and it’s been really cool to see his career progress from there. They didn’t rush him into the NHL and I think he’s really going to flourish this season. I was at the Habs-Canucks game in Vancouver in March and he totally lit us up with an awesome one-timer.”
Sticking to the subject of Subban, Ramjagsingh explained the stand-out feature in the latest iteration of the game is something called True Performance Skating that allows for ultimate creativity with a player’s positioning and footwork.
“We wanted to do for skating what we did for stick handling and give the player more freedom and creativity on the ice. Picture P.K. coming up the left wing as a right-handed shot; making a cross-ice backhand pass would be a tough play. But now you’d be able to do things like have him pivot to turn around and back-skate, squaring himself up properly to make the play,” he continued, highlighting the fact that NHL 13 has added over 1,000 new skating animations.
Another new addition fans can look forward to is NHL Moments Live, designed to let gamers relive, recreate or even re-imagine highlights from the current season in the form of individual challenges, updated after the game is shipped, and as the campaign unfolds. Picture a challenge that would lock you in as Lars Eller during his four-goal night against the Jets. The player’s objective could be anything from helping Eller score his hat trick to accurately recreating his spin-o-rama shootout-marker – now possible with the new skating feature – to even picking up where Eller left off and trying to help him break the Habs record for most goals in a game (Newsy Lalonde, 6).
Equally as important as the game’s authenticity on the ice is the atmosphere created in each of the arenas. With every new version of the game striving to offer up that “live” experience, gamers loading up a Bell Centre clash should almost be able to catch a whiff of the concession-stand smoked meat in the background.
“Authenticity on and off the ice is huge for us. The amount of detail that went into the presentation on this edition was massive – from making sure we had all the right sort of texturing on the Canadiens jerseys, right down to the look of the tape on their socks,” pointed out Ramjagsingh. “In the Bell Centre for instance all the power rings are now going to be video driven and we try to add as many details like that as we can to make the experience as immersive as possible.”
During a visit to the NHLPA Rookie Showcase to digitally capture the facial expressions of the league’s next superstars, Ramjagsingh also got to see his game enjoyed first-hand when the Canadiens’ third-overall pick, squared off against a famous friend.
“Galchenyuk was actually one of the first guys we did, and he was in a group with Justin Schultz and Nail Yakupov,” said Ramjagsingh, going onto explain how the two friends and former Sarnia Sting linemates tackled the game – something it seemed they had already done once or twice in the past.
“The first thing Galchenyuk and Yakupov did when they sat down to try the game was go in and change all the game-play settings. They cranked up the game speed, turned up the shot accuracy and the shot speed and basically set themselves up to score a ton of goals,” he recounted. “They were going at each other pretty hard head-to-head for a while. They stretched during the game intro and everything. I think Yakupov won in the end.”
We suspect because Galchenyuk is saving his best performances for the real show.
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
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