I’ll be honest, since I no longer work at EA, my fondness for the NHL series has wavered a lot. Back in the day, FIFA and NHL were the two sports franchises I played the most. When I was in university, my friends and I would swap between the two games until the early morning hours. I loved being a proxy part of the NHL team while at EA and some of the people I used to work with still manage the game’s marketing and communications.
A new era needs hype
But we’re almost into August and we still haven’t heard anything about the next game in the franchise, the first on the Series X|S and PlayStation 5. Older NHL games would launch in September, but with last year’s pandemic, NHL 21 launched in October. Chances are NHL 22 is also scheduled for October, especially as the real NHL season begins October 12.
If we use October 8, 2021, as the most logical date for NHL 22 (that’s the Friday before the start of the season), that only gives us about 70 days until the game’s launch. Realistically, that’s plenty of time for a sports game to do its marketing push. I think I’ve written here before that sports games don’t need more than three months to market their next game. 90 days is more than enough time to release weekly or bi-weekly content around the game that will satisfy the existing community and potentially catch the eyes of those who aren’t in the know.
But for the NHL series, NHL 22 is an important transition for the series. Unless something drastic happened, this is the first year on Xbox Series X|S and Sony PlayStation 5. At the same time, the long rumor that the NHL series is finally getting off the Ignite Engine and using Frostbite should finally come true.