NHL 21 will stick to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this holiday

NHL 21, the next game in Electronic Arts’ long-running hockey simulator, will only premiere on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, not next-gen systems. When it comes to EA’s sports franchises, the NHL is not always the one that comes to mind. Much like the competition that inspires it, the NHL series often takes a backseat to games based on Football, Soccer and other, more popular sports.

While NHL 21 hasn’t officially been announced beyond today’s news, fans had reason to worry about an upcoming release. Because of the global pandemic, many games are being delayed past their scheduled ship dates. In addition, the sport of Hockey is currently delayed, with no word on whether teams will start a new season in a few months. Because of this, the updates to the yearly title will be smaller than usual thanks to a static roster from last year’s NHL 20. While there will be some gameplay innovation, the upcoming release will likely feel less essential to anyone but the most diehard fans.

NHL 21 is available for pre-order. There are three versions of NHL 21 that players can choose from: the Standard Edition ($59.99), the Deluxe Edition ($79.99) and the Ultimate Edition ($99.99). The Standard Edition does not come with any pre-order bonuses, but the Deluxe and Ultimate Editions do. The Deluxe Edition includes two unlocked Hockey Bags for the World of CHEL, a HUT Cover Athlete Choice Pack (one of six players) and three days of early access beginning on October 13. The Ultimate Edition includes five unlocked Hockey Bags, a HUT Cover Athlete Choice Pack and three days of early access to NHL 21. And if you want to Buy HUT 21 Coins, visit 5mmo.com, a professional online in-game currency store.

Typically, the cover athlete for the yearly game is announced in late June during the NHL Awards ceremony in Las Vegas. That, however, did not happen this year, as the NHL Awards ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19. EA has yet to name a cover athlete for NHL 21 as of this writing.

Considering how EA Sports has continued to strip tertiary franchises over the years, it’s heartening that there is going to be an NHL 21 on store shelves this holiday. While not everyone’s favorite sport, watching grown men skate on the ice and slam into boards is a fun alternative to more popular competition, and it has inspired wonderful art in many media. Additionally, because the game is focusing on current-gen systems, NHL 21 may avoid the next-gen curse that strips down sports games to their bare essentials whenever a new machine is released. Having a fully-featured hockey game in 2020 would certainly be a goal worth working towards.

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