NHL 14 devs drop gloves, unveil new fighting engine

NHL 14 boasts a new fighting engine, the Enforcer Engine, and in addition to providing new ways to fight on the ice, it's based more in the realities of hockey, said developer EA Canada in a trailer and blog post today.

The studio debuted a gimmicky first-person fighting system in NHL 10, but this year's new engine shifts to the third-person perspective with technology from EA Canada's Fight Night series. More importantly, the Enforcer Engine keeps all other players on the ice "live" during a fight, whereas the old system zoomed in to concentrate on you and your opponent alone after making everyone else vanish from the rink for the duration of the bout.

And instead of having to manually initiate a fight by pressing a button, you'll see fights arise organically from players breaking the unwritten rules of hockey — laying a guy out after the whistle blows or going after a team's goalie, for example. Once a fight begins, you'll see punches connect much more realistically, even when there's a notable height mismatch between the combatants. According to EA Canada, fights are also more strategic encounters in NHL 14, with players being able to jostle for the upper hand, dodge blows and counter-punch their way to victory.

If you manage to win a fight, you can rile up the crowd with a user-controlled celebration. And fighters will now show evidence of their battles, with real-time facial damage modeling during fights that results in bruises and black eyes that remain for the duration of a game.

NHL 14 will be released Sept. 10 in North America on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and on Sept. 13 in Europe, although it will not be available on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Pre-order customers will receive 24 weeks' worth of Hockey Ultimate Team card packs. EA Canada's previous developer blogs focused on other new elements like Collision Physics and a revamped deke system.

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