Predators all-star P.K. Subban will be the cover athlete of NHL 19 when the game hits stores this fall.
The announcement was made Wednesday night, and represents the first time a player from the Predators will be on the cover of the game. It came alongside a debut trailer for NHL 19, which is promising significant changes over past iterations.
Developer EA Sports has been criticized for treating its NHL game with considerably less dedication and resources than larger games like Madden NFL and the FIFA series. However, that could change with NHL 19 thanks to the promise of “Real Player Motion” being added to the series for the first time after launching in FIFA 18, which should helpfully make the game feel more realistic on the ice.
There is also a greater focus on hockey culture with outdoor pickup games being added to represent the humble beginnings of most players’ love of the sport, complete with dozens of items for players to customize their avatars.
Polygon spoke to Will Ho, NHL 19’s creative director, who spoke about the game’s need to do more to make its core fans happy.
“Where we see the highest customer satisfaction, and people coming back to play over and over and over again, really is in online multiplayer,” said Ho. “We’re hearing from our fans that they want more different ways to play online.”
The “Legend” and "Ultimate” editions of the game, which are more directed at “Hockey Ultimate Team” players will both feature Wayne Grezky. The legend edition features Gretzky from the start of his career with the Edmonton Oilers, while the Ultimate will have Gretzky wearing an L.A. Kings jersey.
NHL 19 will be released Sept. 14 in North America.