This September will be a big month for sports games, as two iconic titles bear down on goal together. FIFA 14 arrives in time for the World Cup festivities, looking every bit the champion franchise of the footballing world, while its hockey-playing counterpart continues to scrap it out for the Stanley Cup in NHL 14.
Series publisher EA has been busy demonstrating both brands at this year’s Gamescom event in Germany; home to Europe’s largest collection of ex-pat North American hockey pros, as well as its reigning, defending ‘soccer’ champs Bayern Munich.
Much like Munich’s own fans, FIFA 14 has plenty to celebrate this season. The game’s latest trailer, titled ‘Living Worlds,’ highlights the entries’ increasingly authentic and immersive stadium atmospheres. Gone are the cardboard waves of humanity glimpsed in past titles, replaced here by a more nuanced and fluid approach to crowd dynamics – all rendered in real-time on the game’s next-gen platforms.
With fans being asked to wait for an additional two months to get their hands on FIFA 14‘s 8th gen outings, – the game is confirmed be bundled with all European Xbox One consoles - EA has unveiled a small-scale incentivizing effort, allowing cross-generation transfers between the likes of Xbox 360 & Xbox One. Players who opt to buy both the current and next-gen iterations will be able to continue their progress – as regards save games, purchased items & ‘Ultimate Team’ decks – without issue, though the likelihood of many gamers choosing to do so remains relatively slim.
EA has also announced the release date for FIFA 14‘s long-awaited demo edition, which is set to go live on September 10th worldwide (European PS3 owners can pick up the taster one day later) – For an idea of what to expect, check out Game Rant’s FIFA 14 preview from this year’s E3. In anticipation of the upcoming Brazilian World Cup (likely to be covered in a summertime DLC update) the game has expanded its roster of South American teams, with new Argentinean, Chilean and Brazilian sides rounding up the total number of clubs included to a whopping 600.
In an almighty display of bad timing, NHL 14‘s latest trailer details the game’s expanded suite of punch-up options. Taking the form of a quick tutorial video, the trailer shows gamers just how and where to take control of the title’s myriad on-ice tussles. Powered by EA Vancouver’s new ‘Enforcer engine,’ the tech allows players to seamlessly enter into fisticuffs, echoing the developer’s commitment to an authentic, upscaled sense of aggression. NHL 14 producer Sean Ramjagsingh recently told CBC:
“For us this year it was all about capturing the big hits, the real fights and unbelievable speed and skill of hockey…Fighting is a little bit controversial to some people but for hockey fans out there, and casual hockey fans, it’s an important part of the sport.”
Interestingly, the game’s new third-person fighting system was co-developed by EA Canada, veterans of the celebrated Fight Night series of boxing titles, whose work has also previously been utilized in EA’s UFC series. In addition to borrowing from other franchises, NHL 14 will also be heading back into its own storied history, when the game ships with an NHL ’94 20th anniversary mode.
Sadly, for those fans holding out for a next-gen ice-hockey extravaganza, EA confirmed to us back in May that the franchise would not be coming to the 8th-gen – at least not this year.
“NHL 14 will not be available for Xbox One or PlayStation 4 this year. Our team is laser-focused on delivering the greatest hockey experience to-date on the Xbox 360 and PS3, grounded in the speed, skill, and aggression of the sport. We look forward to developing a best-in-class hockey experience for new platforms in the future.”
Given the collapse of 2K’s own hockey franchise, you might’ve expected EA to push their title with even greater intensity – though perhaps this sudden lack of publisher interest signals a sharp drop-off in sales. Are you excited for FIFA 14 and/or NHL 14? Where else should EA franchises be sharing their mechanics? Would you purchase current and next-gen editions of the same game? Let us know in the comments below.
FIFA 14 releases September 24, 2013 (North America) & September 27, 2013 (Worldwide), for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, PS2, 3DS, PSP, Vita, iOS & Android platforms. Xbox One & PlayStation 4 editions will debut alongside their respective consoles. NHL 14 releases September 10, 2013 (North America) & September 13, 2013 (Worldwide), on PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360 platforms.
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