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NHL 14 dev looking to simplify dekes, tweak skating

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

One of the main gameplay changes EA Canada is making in NHL 14 is simplifying the deke system, and the studio discussed the way it will work in a developer blog and video it released today.

A deke is a move in which a skater attempts to fake out a defender to get past him, and until now, EA's NHL games required players to hold down a shoulder button and use both analog sticks to pull off a deke. The unintuitive controls made it difficult to perform dekes. This year, EA Canada is making things easier: You'll only have to use the left stick (the usual navigation stick) to select a direction, and tap the left trigger or L1 button. These "one-touch dekes" are great for avoiding a big hit or slipping past a defenseman.

EA Canada is also making some defense-minded tweaks to its physics-based skating engine, which the studio introduced in NHL 13 last year. Defensemen will now continue to face forward while skating backward, a key factor in keeping attackers contained, and quicker pivots mean they'll be better able to keep up with forwards.

Watch the video above to see the new features in action. NHL 14 launches Sept. 10 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The first developer diary focused on changes to the game's real-time physics engine.

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