At the recent Camp EA event, we had a chance to check out NHL 2003, which will be released on the GameCube, the PlayStation 2, the Xbox, and the PC. Probably the most notable change in this year's version of NHL is the deke system, which has been altered so you can manually control stick movement with a single press of a button, allowing you to create your own dekes by moving the player's stick around. To help enhance and compensate for this new feature, EA has to redesign the goalie AI so that it will have a greater tendency to get faked out by various dekes. In addition, the goalie has been given a variety of new saves, including desperation saves and one-handed glove saves when the goalie is lying on the ground.
NHL 2003 also features new puck physics, so the puck will respond differently depending on how and what it makes contact with. For example, when the puck hits the goalie in the chest, it won't simply bounce off. Instead, the puck will often simply drop to the ground in front of the goalie, creating an opportunity to score an unintentional goal. The graphics engine has also been slightly refined so development team could get a solid and relatively high frame rate out of the game. Unfortunately, there won't be any online play in the console versions of this year's game.
NHL 2003 is currently scheduled to ship on all platforms this fall.