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NHL 15 will patch in some — but not all — missing features after launch

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EA Sports' NHL development team responded last night to fans' unhappiness that a wide array of features from NHL 14 have not carried over to NHL 15. Taken one way, the news shows developers always meant for some things to be included. Taken another, they've admitted they're releasing an incomplete product tomorrow.

Online team play — in which all 12 players on the ice may be controlled by individual human players — and a full amateur draft in the game's Be A GM career mode will be patched into NHL 15 in October, producer Sean Ramjagsingh wrote in a post on Operation Sports.

Neither are present in the game launching tomorrow. At launch, a draft is simulated in the background of the Be A GM career mode, and online play is strictly a 1-versus-1 affair.

Ramjagsingh said the draft in Be A GM will change from what it was in NHL 14. Each pick will have to be made within three minutes (with some exceptions allowing the clock to stop) to simulate the pressure of making a draft choice or attempting to negotiate a trade with other teams.

Back in August, Ramjagsingh admitted that Online Team Play would not be present in the game at launch and would be patched in later. Still, the GM Connected and EA Sports Hockey League online modes will not be present in the game and don't appear to be scheduled for inclusion later.

Hockey fans playing NHL 15 during the preview window offered through the EA Access program on Xbox One wrote a long list of features, ranging from small details to whole modes, that have not carried over as NHL makes its debut on the new console generation. Some of these are being addressed. Offline tournaments will return under a "Playoff Mode" to be patched in post release this month.

Also in September, NHL 15's Be A Pro career mode will incorporate coach feedback grading your performance and advising you on what to do better, to make the time spent on the bench between shifts more meaningful. The Three Stars of the Game, a tradition in hockey arenas at all levels of professional play in North America, also will be named at the end of a game once that feature is patched in this month.

Hockey Ultimate Team will receive some changes to its layout and menu navigation but the main modes of play for it appear to be set at launch. Hockey Ultimate Team will comprise online and offline matches, and online seasons only; there are no online tournaments nor ways to play a friend, both of which were features in NHL 14.

Last night's announcement addresses some major modes of play but there still is a long list of details present in NHL 14 that appear not to be making the transition to NHL 15, from preseason games and the option of beginning a GM career with a fantasy draft, to the "Action Tracker" highlights package that auto-saved important moments at the end of each period.

For a full list of what is missing in NHL 15 at launch tomorrow, see the sidebar in this post.