Microsoft Canada recently provided Game Rant with the opportunity to sit down for a brief interview with Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner. The skilled youngster was front and center for a recent promotional event at the Microsoft Store in Toronto's Yorkdale Mall, as he went head-to-head with one lucky fan in NHL 18. We managed to take him away from the action to briefly discuss whether or not gaming is used by the Maple Leafs to bond, how the forward views his rating in the latest NHL video game, and whether or not Call of Duty going back to its World War II roots is a good call.
GR: I've noticed that you’re rated 84 in NHL 18, is that anywhere near high enough?
[Laughs] "I mean, I just started playing the game last week or so, so, um, I mean, I think it’s a pretty generous rating. I mean, the ratings are pretty strict nowadays, so I think it’s pretty generous, but you know it’s pretty cool just seeing yourself in a video game, I think just in general. You know, being a part of it."
GR: Are you gunning for the cover next year?
[Laughs] "We’ll see. I don’t wanna jump ahead too much, I just want to play hockey and enjoy it."
GR: You’ve mentioned that you’re a gamer in the past, so what have you been playing recently?
“Yeah, I mean, I’m more of a shooter guy. Call of Duty and stuff like that. NBA I’ve gotten into recently and that’s kind of a new game I enjoy a lot, but I don’t play too much NHL or FIFA or anything like that, I mean, I just feel like there are already too many people that can play these games unbelievably, so I kind of stay away from that.”
GR: Well how’s the K/D in CoD then?
“I have a pretty good K/D actually. I haven’t looked at it recently, but I’m excited for the new one to come out. It’s always exciting to play Call of Duty, especially when the new ones come out there’s a lot of hype around it, so I’m excited."
GR: World War II: You think that is a good play by the developers?
“Yeah, I mean, it’s great. I don’t want to say too much, but the old ones I’m not a huge fan of the jumping around and stuff so the remastered is the only one I really played, and this WW2 is pretty exciting and I think more people are going to enjoy it than the last one."
Video games are a huge part of sports teams, especially in regards to bonding. Do the Toronto Maple Leafs use video games to bond or is that kind of a solo thing?
“Oh no, we definitely do. We have a group message with the guys that play. You know, we usually play together a couple of times a week, if not every day, so I’m sure when this new Call of Duty comes out it’s going to be a lot of nights playing together. But, it’s fun. We like to talk to each other and it’s a way to stay in touch with each other.”
GR: Do you have a system of choice that you play on?
“Not really. I mean, I have a lot of buddies that I play PS4 with and the guys on my team this year I play Xbox with, but I’ve got a couple of really good junior buddies that I keep in touch with through PS4 that are kind of far away.”
GR: Thank you very much for your time, Mitch.
“Yeah, no problem."
Fans can catch Mitch Marner in NHL 18 which is available now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.