Sega has released new screenshots from NHL 2K2 for the Dreamcast at its Sega Sport Summit in New York City. The NHL 2K series originated outside of Visual Concepts' development stable, but after the first game received a lukewarm response from critics and consumers alike, Sega moved the development of the game's follow-up to its in-house studio. Visual Concepts retooled the entire game engine, and consequently the series skipped a yearly incarnation.
NHL 2K2 will include several enhancements. Most notably, the game will feature smarter AI, a new franchise mode, and online play. Up to eight players will be able to compete head-to-head online, and in the franchise mode, players will be able to be a virtual GM, signing, trading, and releasing players. Expect these modes to be similar to the ones found in NFL 2K2 and NBA 2K2.
On the ice, the player AI will be improved, and the players will perform more like their real-life counterparts. For example, Dominic Hasek will be more daring in goal and will take more chances by coming out of his box, unlike the more orthodox goalies. Additionally, the game will include more realistic hockey strategy, although specifics regarding this were not discussed. Finally, the game will run at a constant 60fps, which is becoming essential for any substantial hockey product.
Naturally, NHL 2K2 will include all the updated rosters, teams, and stadiums from the 2001-2002 NHL season. GameSpot will have more on NHL 2K2 as further information becomes available.