NHL 2K8: Create-a-Team Q&A

We chat with Kush Games' Scott Krager about the new create-a-team options in NHL 2K8.


While they might not have been fans of the individual teams, most NHL fans will say they miss some of the league's relatively recent departures. Teams like the Hartford Whalers, Winnipeg Jets, and Quebec Nordiques aren't on the ice anymore, but they can always exist in video games. The upcoming NHL 2K8 will be bringing hockey fans a host of customization options that will let them create not just their dearly departed organizations, but also brand-new teams entirely of their own making. To get the scoop on 2K8's beefed-up customization tools, we spoke with Scott Krager, project manager with NHL 2K8 developer Kush Games.

Miss the Jets? Relive the glory days with NHL 2K8's team creation tools.
Miss the Jets? Relive the glory days with NHL 2K8's team creation tools.

GameSpot: Why the big leap in customization options? Is this a result of fan demand or just something the development team was interested in?

Scott Krager: I would say some of both. With the power of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, we're now able to do a lot more graphically, and Create Team was an area that we could apply this to. The mode as a whole is something we've wanted to build on for a couple of years now, so it really made sense to give the end user the ability to customize some of the things we were already doing for the NHL teams.

In fact, a lot of this applies to more than just Create Team, as Create/Edit Player has been enhanced quite a bit as well. The two features together really give you a wide range of customization on both large and small scales. The NBA 2K and MLB 2K series have had quite a bit of success with Signature Style, and these enhancements fit nicely within that category in NHL 2K8. We really wanted to make players stand out on the ice both visually and with their abilities, and we feel both areas are well represented in the game.

One of the more unique aspects of the NHL is the wide variety of equipment available, so making a player like Alex Ovechkin a great stickhandler with good speed and a deadly shot is one thing, but doing that and giving him his own custom pair of CCM skates with yellow laces, his trademark tinted visor, and the exact glove model and color pattern really takes it to the next level.

So to sum up, we knew from the beginning that this was something that fans wanted to see and would really appreciate. At the same time, it also seemed like a natural addition to our feature set based on what we were doing, and it was something that we really felt would add a lot to the overall experience.

GS: Big, open-ended question here, but tell us about the new create-a-team options. What kinds of things can you customize?

SK: All of the basics are still there, like choosing your team name and city (many of which are supported in the commentary), selecting a logo, and customizing the details of your arena. Much of the new functionality comes in the ability to customize uniforms and equipment on a much deeper level.

You can create home, away, and alternate uniforms this year, and all three can be quite different from each other. For example, you can create more traditional-looking home and away uniforms, and then get a little creative with the alternate, much like some of the NHL teams have done in the past. On a smaller level, you have control over everything from sleeve-number placement, to helmet color, to uniform style, to the color of the outline around the numbers on the back of the jersey. This flexibility really allows for some unique, yet realistic jerseys to be created.

Additionally, after you've created your team, you can use Edit Player to customize details like glove pattern and goalie pad design for individual players on your team, which really brings the whole package together and gives you the ability to make your team appear as authentic to the NHL as you want.

GS: What kind of options are there for equipment customization? What real-life brands are in the game?

SK: There are really too many to list, but here are some of the more interesting new options:

  • Tucked or untucked jerseys
  • Shorts length
  • Undershirt color
  • Knob size at the end of the stick
  • Tape length on both the stick blade and shaft
  • Tape color
  • Leg-tape type and pattern
  • Stick curve
  • Skate blade holder style

Additionally, we have dozens and dozens of sticks, skates, helmets, gloves, and other pieces of equipment, including several that are specific to individual players such as Sidney Crosby's RBK 9K gloves and Jason Spezza's Sher-Wood SOP wood stick.

As far as real-life brands, we basically licensed every significant hockey-equipment manufacturer in the sport, including:

  • Nike Bauer
  • RBK
  • Mission/I-TECH
  • Sher-Wood
  • TPS
  • Warrior
  • Easton
  • Montreal
  • Eagle
  • MIA
  • Vaughn
  • Brian's
  • TUUK

GS: Is there a cap to the number of teams you can create?

SK: You can create up to 5 teams in NHL 2K8.

GS: Can you play with your created team online?

SK: No, created teams are not available online this year.

If Oakland had a hockey team, they might look something like this.
If Oakland had a hockey team, they might look something like this.

GS: Describe your favorite created team that you've seen so far during development.

SK: We have almost all of the old NHL logos available in Create Team, so one of the coolest things you can do is recreate some of the old NHL franchises like the Winnipeg Jets, Quebec Nordiques, or Minnesota North Stars. You can then take these teams into franchise. So, if you're a die-hard North Stars fan who feels they shouldn't have moved to Dallas in the first place, it's completely within your ability to change it back.

It's always interesting to see some of the nontraditional teams that people come up with as well. Using our new color picker, you can create pretty much any possible color, so teams can end up looking super cool to rather horrific if that's what you choose to do. Overall, that's really one of the best things about the enhancements to Create Team and Create Player. There are tons of options with a wider range of customizability than we've ever had before, and it's up to you how far you want to go with it.

GS: Thanks for your time, Scott.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for PIKA740

No way man, they are both good.

Avatar image for guitar_27

2K8 looks much better than 08

Avatar image for PIKA740

That fake Oakland jersey plus pads is what I would love to play in :wink: All though I play in stupid Yellow,Black and White Ahhhhh!

Avatar image for PIKA740

Dude what are you talking about it was. Oakland Seals California Golden Seals (San Francisco) Cleveland Barons (Folded, players move to Vancouver)

Avatar image for vanhalendlrband

Oaklands team wasn't recent tho. Are you talking about the California Golden Seals of 1967 that went under without relocation? The one difference between that team and the ones above is they're still in existance but in other cities. Hartford Whaler ---> Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets ----> Phoenix Coyotes, Minnesota North Stars ---> Dallas Stars, Kansas City Scouts --->Colorado Rockies ----> New Jersey Devils, Atlanta Flames ----> Calgary Flames

Avatar image for mrsparkle8549

"Next-Gen"...and that's all??

Avatar image for LoneStranger

This is the kind of Create a Team type stuff that all sports games should have.

Avatar image for bwsweet519

Oakland had a NHL team Gamespot.

Avatar image for wyndall2004

The create-a-team feature looks fleshed out enough to allow plenty of creativity! I can't wait to finally try it out!

Avatar image for BajenVaNamnet

"I hope 2K Sports doesn't abandon PS3 owners like EA sports does. Actually, I'm sure they won't." Agree!

Avatar image for osxgp

I hope 2K Sports doesn't abandon PS3 owners like EA sports does. Actually, I'm sure they won't.

Avatar image for nathris

Yea the Canucks are chumps, but this looks pretty cool. I've always been into customization, I've loved it ever since NHL '98 and this just looks awesome! As for the graphics, the last NHL game I owned was NHL '05 for the gamecube so it looks good. And I don't trust EA, I don't want to lose control of Sidney Crosby on a breakaway and have him skate through the crowd or something.

Avatar image for pairunoyd

you guys need to remember something about EA's graphics: They cheat! They either dont show in-game graphics or they enhance them. Wait till you play the game and then youll realize EA fooled you!!!

Avatar image for monsterbater4

nhl 08 is way more fun to play. pulling a dangle on some chump from the canucks is just to fun!

Avatar image for APOLLOCJD

The graphics for 2k Sports are very weak compared to EA's. I won't be purchasing this game

Avatar image for GamersNightmare

Ya baby. Bringing back the Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques. Sure hope you can do this not only in Franchise Mode which is nice but also while running a Fantasy Draft. That would just be cool.

Avatar image for Speuj

Funny. It was the deep creation options available on NHL 08 that made it seem more interesting to me. I'm quite elated to see these kind of options available in 2k. Seems to be a lot of improvements this year! I can't wait!

Avatar image for jonzilla_basic

this is an awesome option that should have been put back into games years ago.

Avatar image for VenDaler

I want the crazy teams from NHL HITZ, with knight helmets and stuff... Actually, i just want a new Hitz.

Avatar image for niteofthehalo

damn u guys...all EA fanboys...this game is going to PWN EA this year... weaknesses for 2k last year: Horrible Player models Easy Goals Improvements? Yes, Look at those sweet goalie saves on youtube and look at how they are made! Beautiful! weaknesses for EA last year: Bad Skating Horrible Defense Improvements? Skating? Yes, believe it or not yes and this is coming from a man who prefers 2K more. Defense? It is getting to be really good, but it is hard to say anything now because 2K dominated with defense last year. Conclusion: Well it seems to be that 1up(AKA EGM) hate 2K(or 2KSports) they keep on degrading it because they said it has wacky controls. What did people think of 07 last year with skill stick? Well for those crappy reviewers there, there is a thing called controller configuration. Anyways I would not look at any reviews from there for 2K or pretty much anything else although they gave 08 a fairly good review. I would either wait for a review from here or from IGN or GI. 2K has proved themselves that they may have a upper hand this year with improved graphics and way better gameplay. NHL 08 seemed that they have shown off all their good features and now it is hard to decide. Now is the time to see which one you like more or just get both like me. They are both worthy competitors and teh fight has just started.

Avatar image for devilzrule27

These player models look terrible again. i never did like the look of the game but you just couldn't get the depth found in this game anywhere else. Looks like another year I'll be dropping 120 bucks on hockey games!

Avatar image for waza000

"Scott Krager: I would say some of both. With the power of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, we're now able to do a lot more graphically" let's say ... : cool colors, but what about nice looking colors ... those graphics are awefull

Avatar image for kevin634

why do those pictures look so bad?

Avatar image for ssjdagas

I can't decide if I should get NHL 2K8 or NHL 08...still some time left to decide though.

Avatar image for disappeared

[Weakerthans] "...the Jets were lousy anyway." [/Weakerthans]

Avatar image for cf2012

is it me or did 2k and ea spy on each other this year? i already ordered nhl08 but i was with 2k for the past 5 years.