Greetings from EA Sports! I’m Matt, lead designer for 3 on 3 NHL Arcade coming to PSN for PS3 tomorrow for $9.99. As you might know, there are no options out there for consumers to play an Arcade style hockey game. There are Street versions of sports games, but Hockey has never been one of them and the NHL dev team felt that we could fill this void with a top quality product and give the users a game to enjoy. And PSN has it exclusively for the first week!
And, we want to turn people on about hockey — we truly believe it is the best sport on earth and want to show it off to people. So we built Arcade to attract people to play a hockey game when they might not usually play one. Also, it acts as a great creative outlet for our development team that has worked very hard on EA Sports NHL products.
3 on 3 NHL Arcade is being developed by the same team that brought you NHL 09, winner of 10 sports game of the year awards. Arcade provides a complete package with online and offline play, as well as Power-ups, 40 NHL superstars, stat tracking, and leaderboards. As far as game modes are concerned, we have Play Now and Online Play. To give you a clear understanding of both of these let’s run through them:
- Play Now supports 3 v 3. This is great for local play with your friends, and is a great time.
- Online play is truly full — we have Play a Friend, Quick Ranked games that can support up to 3 v 3, and unranked games as well. Create and Custom game modes are also in the game, and allow the user to customize their online experience.
Power-ups are something brand new to EA Sports NHL games. We have a total of 8 power-ups. The way these work is to hit your opponent and a power-up will fall out of the player and onto the ice. This power-up can then be skated over by the hitting team. The power-ups then apply to the user that skated over the icon. These are hilarious and really create a game within a game. Do you get the power-up? Do you take the puck? It’s really challenging for the user to make the right decision. When playing against your friends or playing online, power-ups add a fun and challenging element to the game while keeping it competitive and authentic to hockey.
The overall feel of the game is fast with amped-up hitting and very distinct player types. For the Arcade player types, we categorized the players into three groups; Strong — big, able to withstand hits. Fast — fast on the ice and very agile, but can’t with stand the hits like a Strong. All-Around — good at everything, but not as fast and strong as the others. These player types add a layer of strategy to the game that can’t be forgotten about. Users will have to choose wisely and find the best combination of players to beat their opponent.
There are so many cool things in 3 on 3 NHL Arcade, be it hitting guys out of the rink, performing a trick move from behind the net or spinning away from a hit attempt. But the addition of Powerups truly add to the game overall, adding an element of strategy to gameplay. Do you go get the double Score powerup or do I stay with the puck carrier? The decision is up to you, but you have to make the right decision or it could cause you a goal, our worse, 2!
For arcade we have two control setups: we have the Skill Stick, which is for all the veterans out there, and we have Button Controls for the first timers. We put shoot/check and pass/change player on the buttons so that anyone can pick up and play this game. In addition to shoot/check and pass/change player on the buttons, we added in Spin Move and Trick shots. I am really excited about having these in the game because they give the user two more offensive weapons while in the ice. With spin move you can get away from hits and skate into open ice. This helps to limit the number of powerups your opponent will get, and will get you into open areas to make plays. Second, are Trick Moves, in line with the new break-away contest the NHL introduced last year, we put in some moves that will give the user some creative freedom. Trick moves allow you to flip the puck up and bat it out the air, do spinning toe drag shots, and pick the puck up on your stick and score from behind the net. These are really great moves that will influence the outcome of every game.
As I mentioned above, we have Skill Stick in the game with all its glory. In addition to the familiar Skill Stick moves we have added Trick Shots to it. These are done using the right stick and a modifier. The outcome of this addition is a new mechanic that Skill Stick users will have fun with and will allow them to score some amazing goals.
As you’ll find out, the result is an electrifying game that looks as good as it feels, and is easy to use. So take a look at the trailer to see what it’s all about!