EA Sports has announced that Connor McDavid, a center for the Edmonton Oilers, will serve as the cover athlete for NHL 18. They also revealed that a Public Beta for NHL 18 will be available to download beginning July 25 (registration is open at EASports.com now), as well as the first gameplay trailer.
“Representing NHL 18 as the cover athlete is an incredible honor,” said McDavid. “I’ve played EA Sports NHL every year since I was kid. To appear on the cover, something that has been done previously by so many players that I respect and admire, is very exciting. I can’t wait to play NHL 18.”
In addition to the gameplay trailer’s focus on “speed, skill, and creativity,” NHL 18 will also include an Expansion Draft feature to build a custom team for the Vegas Golden Knights, along with an arcade-inspired 3-on-3 mode known as NHL Threes:
New Creative Attack skill moves give players the control to execute jaw-dropping plays. On offense, creative dekes include between-the-legs moves, one-handed dekes, back-handed toe-drags and much more — like the ability to branch moves together for moment-to-moment decision making. On defense, the new Defensive Skill Stick delivers the tools to counter attacks with poke check targeting, extended pokes, and controlled stick sweeps to cover zones of the ice and take away lanes. New Creative A.I. systems mean teammates now leverage the same tools as the player for intelligent decision-making all over the ice, including board passes and through-passing into space.
NHL 18 introduces 3-on-3 hockey in two bold new ways. First, NHL Threes is an arcade-inspired experience with fast-paced, over-the-top action that features faster gameplay, bigger hits and high-scoring action. Players can choose modes between fast-fun couch co-op and fully competitive online team play, or dive into the new NHL Threes circuit-style Campaign Mode to compete against different teams and leagues in a circuit-style journey where they can unlock objective-based rewards as they progress through the campaign. Second, NHL 18 adds an authentic 3-on-3 online team play option to the fan-favorite EA Sports Hockey League mode, allowing for more open ice and strategic, risk-vs-reward multiplayer competition.
NHL 18 will be available for the PS4 and Xbox One on September 15… though players who opt for the Young Stars Edition (with includes a ton of bonus content for Hockey Ultimate Team) will be able start playing on September 12.