NHL 14, last year's NHL game from EA Sports, didn't make it to Xbox One and PlayStation 4, making the upcoming NHL 15 the series' debut on current-gen consoles. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case with sports games making the transition to new hardware for the first time, not every mode in in the last-gen version will be included--in this case, the GM Connected, Live the Life, NHL 94 Anniversary, and EA Sports Hockey League modes won't make the cut.
The news was revealed in an official blog post from producer from Sean Ramjagsingh, who wrote, "Decisions like this are never easy, nor do we take them lightly. We know that there is a passionate group of fans that loves these modes and is no doubt disappointed with this news; but we also know that this same group of fans expects a high quality gameplay experience above anything else. We're a franchise built on quality, so launching these modes without confidence in their quality wasn't something that we were willing to do."
GM Connected mode is an online version of the Be a GM mode, while EASHL lets you create a hockey player and then play as him in 6v6 online matches. Both of these modes will be available in the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of NHL 15, as will Online Team Play, which won't come to NHL 15 until sometime after launch as part of a free update.
The Live the Life mode (which lets you create and play as a single NHL player while managing off-the-ice aspects of his career) available in the last-gen versions is absent from current-gen; instead, the Xbox One/PS4 version offers the less-involved Be a Pro mode. NHL 94 Anniversary Mode, which offers a nostalgic take on video game hockey, is also last-gen-only.
Ramjagsingh described the omissions as being the result of the developers' focus being on creating new technology (not unlike what we heard from Maxis regarding missing features in The Sims 4). "Our goal from day one was to build from the core out and deliver a truly next-generation gameplay and presentation experience for all our fans to enjoy," he explained.
"From the next-generation hockey player and true hockey physics to the unrivalled in-arena experience and a revolution in broadcast presentation, I couldn't be more proud of what our team has delivered in one year on new technology. The focus on a new gameplay engine was necessary to not only deliver a great game now, but also give us the foundation to deliver a truly next-generation hockey experience to you for the years to come."
It doesn't sound as if there are any plans to release EASHL in a post-release update, like with Online Team Play; Ramjagsingh merely says EA has "huge plans for the mode in future iterations of the game." Part of this will entail creating a group of fans who will help to provide feedback on future versions of the mode, which was first introduced in NHL 09.
NHL 15 launches on Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, and PS3 on September 9.