Typically, EA Sports' NHL video game changes just slightly each year, to the point where if you skip buying the game for a year or two, you might not miss much. But this year, as EA debuts NHL 15, there are a whole slew of differences.
For starters, the commentary crew is changing for the first time in nearly a decade. NBC Sports will take over the game presentation, with the in-game graphics we've become familiar with over the last several years on national game broadcasts in the United States. Hall of Fame broadcaster Doc Emrick will be the new voice of NHL 15, joined by color commentator Eddie Olczyk. On PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, TSN's Ray Ferraro will provide ice-level commentary as well -- that's right, no Pierre McGuire!
There are other huge changes on Playstation 4 and Xbox One as well. EA Sports says that the realism of arenas in the new game is unlike anything that we've seen in the past thanks to new the new gaming consoles, and that "the power of the next-gen consoles finally allows the NHL franchise to capture every detail of an NHL arena."
Check our friends at Polygon for more on the new edition of NHL 15, including new physics and more-realistic faces for the players. But most importantly, the announcement of the new game this Monday also coincides with what's become an annual May tradition: the NHL 15 cover vote.
Eight players have chance to grace NHL 15 cover
Unlike in previous years, EA Sports will limit the group of players eligible to win the 2015 cover vote down to just eight:
- Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators
- Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks
- T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues
- P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens
- Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings
- Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs
- Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche
- Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins
Voting, as usual, takes place at NHL.com/CoverVote. The quarterfinals begin May 5 and end May 18, the semifinals run until May 25, and the final ends June 1. Twitter and Instagram posts with hashtags corresponding to each player -- #NHL15Oshie, for example -- will be added to the vote tally as well.
In previous years, players from each NHL team were eligible to win the vote, meaning that fans of every team had a stake in the voting. It'll be interesting to see if narrowing the pool has an impact on the overall voting numbers this year, or if it takes away from the hype in some cities.
Martin Brodeur won the cover of NHL 14. Claude Giroux won the cover of NHL 13. None of the eight players eligible to win this year have ever been on the worldwide cover of the game, although Subban has been on a localized version of the game that was sold in Quebec.