The Operation Sports community recently had a chance to ask Ben Bishop, Producer at Visual Concepts, some questions about NHL 2K10. This is part one of two.
Operation Sports: Will Playoff beards and Zamboni come back this year?
Ben Bishop: Yes, both playoff beards and Zambonis are back this year. The Zamboni mini-game will be available separately now too, so you won’t need to play through a period to access it.
OS: Any new playable camera angles and/or changes to the ones from last year? I'm particularly interested in the broadcast cam.
Ben Bishop: The main addition here is that we have a new camera this year called “Overhead”, which is similar to the current default 3/4 camera, except it’s higher up to give you a better view of the entire offensive and defensive zones. The other cameras available are very similar to what was in NHL 2K9.
OS: Does "signature style" go beyond equipment? With the exception of Ovechkin, will we see any signature celebrations or authentic skating/shooting/goaltending animations for notable NHL'ers?
Ben Bishop: Signature style is definitely more of a visual thing in our case. We do have some unique celebrations and other motions we’ve been able to capture when we’ve had players like Ovechkin and Rick Nash suit up to do motion capture for us, but it’s certainly an area we hope to expand on more in the future.
ONLINE / MULTIPLAYER
OS: How in deep is the create-a-player and create-a-team?
Ben Bishop: Create Player and Create Team have both gotten overhauls this year, and Create Team in particular is significantly deeper than anything we’ve ever done before. The amount of customization available is huge, and you can create some really authentic looking uniforms if you feel like putting the time into it. And of course, this year you can take your created teams online to play with your friends against other created teams out there to see who’s the best. Stay tuned for quite a bit more info on Create Team in one of our upcoming Developer Insights on 2ksports.com.
OS: Will NHL2k(10) give us the option of playing on line leagues with injuries "on?" If the answer is "no," then has this option ever been considered?
Ben Bishop: Not this year. This is definitely something we would like to do, but just haven’t had the resources to implement yet. Hopefully we’ll be able to include it in next year’s game.
OS: Will 2k10 feature post release support (roster updates, patches if needed, etc)? For both systems (360 & PS3)?
Ben Bishop: We will have regular roster updates, and title update support is possible if needed.
OS: Is Online Franchise in? How many users can play in an online franchise?
Ben Bishop: Users this year will have the ability to invite online friends and other players into their franchise games. You can potentially play with a total of 8 human players in an online franchise game – 4 on each console.
OS: Will the franchise mode generate a new schedule every season? In 2k9 we had to play the same schedule every season.
Ben Bishop: Schedules after the first year will now be randomly assigned season to season so you indeed do get some variety.
OS: Will there be an All-Star game in franchise/season mode?
Ben Bishop: Due to the Olympic games this year, and lack of venue, there will be no All-Star game in franchise this year. You will however still be able to play with the All-Star teams that played in Montreal this past season.
OS: Has the franchise sim stats been fixed? Last year was very low compared to real life.
Ben Bishop: A lot of work was done this year to produce more accurate results from simming, so you will see better results across the board.
OS: Will there be a separate playoff mode from Franchise?
Ben Bishop: Yes, new to NHL 2K10 is a separate “Playoff Mode” which allows you to create an NHL Playoff or an International Tournament.
OS: How have contracts/free agency been improved?
Ben Bishop: The biggest change is that players now have ambitions, so they won’t have the exact same salary expectations for every team. Some players prefer a prestigious team, and others will be more strongly affected by motivations such as loyalty, fan base, and the team’s ability to win a Cup.
OS: Are the stick Handling Dekes mapped to the right stick or are they dial a deke (A+B+Right Bumper)
Ben Bishop: You can stick handle with the R-stick to bring the puck forehand or backhand, as well as roll it farther out or even behind the player. There are 1 on 1 Moves and Ovi dekes available, as well, which include several contextual animations, but that is a completely separate feature.
OS: What has been done to make the skating engine more realistic?
Ben Bishop: The biggest change to the skating engine was the addition of the new backwards skating model. The animations in general look much smoother now, and you will see more crossovers and better looking turns. You will also have the ability to position yourself more accurately, which is key for things like setting up at the point on the power play and angling players off towards the boards on defense.
OS: Will Stick Lifts result in High Sticking and Hooking?
Ben Bishop: Stick Lifts can result in Hooking, Slashing, and occasionally Tripping penalties. Stick Lifts can be a very powerful tool, but you have to know where you are on the ice and who you are controlling if you want to be successful with them. If you don’t think you are in the right spot to cleanly get to the opponent’s stick, or if your player has a low Discipline rating, you should either try to get in better position first, or attempt another defensive action. Otherwise, there’s a decent chance you’ll be spending some time in the penalty box.
OS: Will all NHL Penalties be present in NHL 2k10(Delay of game, High Sticking)
Ben Bishop: We don’t quite support every possible penalty in the NHL, but we did a lot of work on the getting the ones we do have to be called in the right situations and with the proper frequency.
OS: What new sliders have been added?
Ben Bishop: Here’s a full list of the gameplay sliders that are available in NHL 2K10:
Speed Burst Length
Speed Burst Recovery
User Speed Burst Effect
CPU Speed Burst Effect
User Fatigue Effect
CPU Fatigue Effect
User Checking Effectiveness
CPU Checking Effectiveness
User Shot Accuracy
CPU Shot Accuracy
User Pass Accuracy
CPU Pass Accuracy
User Team Goalie Skill
CPU Team Goalie Skill
User Stick Lift Success
CPU Stick Lift Success
User Pass Interceptions
CPU Pass Interceptions
CPU Shot Frequency
CPU Pass Frequency
CPU One Timer Frequency
CPU Dumping Frequency
User Stick Lift Frequency
CPU Stick Lift Frequency
User Team Shot Block Frequency
CPU Team Shot Block Frequency
User Teammate Body Check Frequency
CPU Body Check Frequency
User Teammate Poke Check Frequency
CPU Poke Check Frequency
User Teammate Def. Aggressiveness
CPU Def. Aggressiveness
OS: Will there be custom soundtracks for PS3, or even the ability to play music from the XMB during gameplay?
Ben Bishop: We do not support custom soundtracks on the PS3 this year.