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NHL 20 open beta offers first look at gameplay, Gritty

Let’s focus on what’s important, OK?

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Fans can get their first look at NHL 20 through an open beta kicking off today, but, more importantly, it’s the World Premiere Video Game Debut of Gritty.

Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers’ mascot and true NHL rookie of the year (sorry, Elias Pettersson), made his first public appearance on Sept. 24, 2018, 10 days after NHL 19 launched. But the hirsute 7-footer was not included in subsequent roster updates, and was thus unavailable for play in NHL Threes with fellow googly-eyed cheerleaders Youppi, Iceburgh, Stormy, or Thunderbug.

Well, that changes for NHL 20. EA Sports seems fixated on telling folks about the World of Chel in the Open Beta, but we think it buried the lede, with the lede being Gritty. Anyway, World of Chel is the big online suite where folks create and customize players, play outdoor hockey and other variants, and generally have a good time, if you’re into that sort of thing more than Gritty.

World of Chel (not a tribute to 11-time NHL all-star Chris Chelios) this year adds a mode called Eliminator that, yes, is inspired by battles royale. But it’s basically an 81-player single-elimination tournament, with a three-on-three division where players try to win four straight rounds.

You can also check out some other global changes and upgrades, including a “next-generation broadcast” that features an updated presentation style and new commentators James Cybulski and Ray Ferraro. The NHL 20 open beta is available now in the Xbox and PlayStation stores, and it’s free. It will run through Wednesday, July 31. NHL 20 launches on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on Sept. 13.

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