Earlier today EA released a gameplay trailer for NHL 20. Among the 'innovations' shown were: RPM tech 2.0, Signature shots, Contextual shots, Explosive transitions, & finally Goalie intelligence. Of the five innovations, around 2.5 have been already been loosely shown off by EA previously in the reveal a few weeks ago, namely the new signature / contextual shots, as well as some improvements made to the RPM tech which debuted last year. Anyway, the trailer in question is available just below so let's get straight into that...
Per EA, here is the rundown for the RPM Tech Speed & Shooting as shown in the trailer:
SPEED AND SHOOTING FUELED BY RPM TECH
With the introduction of RPM Tech in NHL 19, we delivered a revolutionary new skating engine that overhauled control and responsiveness. In NHL 20, we are building on that cutting-edge technology to deliver unprecedented improvements to how players interact with the puck to further increase the fluidity and authenticity of the game.
Last year the new RPM Tech skating system gave players a higher level of control over skaters, however there were moments when the player was pulled out of skating animations during actions such as shooting, passing or pickups. With new advancements in NHL 20, we have now integrated skating with those actions, allowing players to keep their stride and speed with control of the puck.
SIGNATURE SHOOTING STYLES
NHL 20 introduces the next major innovation in RPM Tech-powered gameplay with signature shots. Your favorite NHL stars now look and feel truly authentic with the trademark shooting-styles you recognize from the real world. Additionally, over 45 new contextual shot animations make shooting more lifelike as players use new tools to get the puck on net.
Every licensed player will be assigned their own shooting style to better match the real world look of their shot. Created players will also have that same option, giving you another level of customization to showcase your unique personality and style on the ice. Shooting styles have nuanced differences that take into account different windups, follow throughs, leg kicks, release points, and more to give each shooting style their own unique look.
In situations where you are coming in on 1-on-1, players now have multiple positions available to shoot while dekeing around defenders and goalies. As you drive down the ice, RPM total body tech will now understand if the puck is moving forehand to backhand, or backhand to forehand before a shot is executed. it will also take into consideration how close you are to the net and your skaters entry angle, giving you a suite of new shots in your arsenal to beat defenders and goalies.
POSSESSED AND LOOSE PUCK SHOTS
This year player shots will change based on your distance from the net and the difference in power vs quickness that would be required to hit the net. Deke past defenders and drive closer to the net for quicker and snappier shots. Alternatively, utilize your power from the top of the circles by leaning into your wrist shots with more impact shots to stun the goalie.
NHL 20 is also redefining the way players can attack loose pucks. This year each shot is unique based on the incoming angle of the puck relative to the players position, you will now see a player position their hips, legs and stick differently if the puck is coming to their forehand or backhand side.
On the forehand, skaters will move to positions of strength to get behind the shot when the puck is not in an ideal position, resulting in stronger snap shots that come from redirects, rebound or loose pucks opportunities. On the backhand, skaters will now better utilize redirects in situations where they cannot angle themselves for a strong forehand shot.
One-timers have also been revamped as RPM Tech has made one-timer shooting more fluid, connected and realistic. New animations capture the differences when players are shooting high or low, and players will now position their hands and follow through based on the power, angle, and height of the shot.
Taking a full stop before shooting a one-timer will allow you to set up your shot with a higher degree of power and accuracy, while skating at full speed into a one-timer will impact your ability to accurately send the puck on net. A poor one timer pass or a player taking a shot too quickly from a poor position can lead to low quality shots that will be visible through new animations.
In NHL 20, new explosive transitions allow you to take the puck in stride, anticipate a turn before receiving the puck, and retain your speed allowing every player to make plays in motion. When receiving a pass players will change their angles and stick position when picking up the puck, giving you more control to seamlessly move into the next play and allow you to experience give-and-go’s without breaking a stride. Just like in real life the perfect feed will make it easier for a player to keep skating at top speed, whereas an mistimed pass will slow down your teams transition.
Passing locations have also been reworked - passing the puck up the wing will no longer send it into your teammates skates, but will now utilize angles where they can receive it on their forehand or backhand. Human players should feel less locked into pickups and should have the ability to adjust their speed or angle as a pass is coming. Adjust your speed and angle to open up lanes against opponents, slow down to avoid an offside or accelerate onto a puck and drive up the ice.
In addition to the RPM tech, they also released a "deep-dive" regarding Goalie Intelligence. Once again, this is per EA.
In EA SPORTS NHL 20 goaltenders now have the tools they need to take control of the game.
In NHL 19, goalies did not have an expansive tool set to control the puck - too often resulting in soft rebounds and scoring chances. In NHL 20, goalies in position and in control, will have the ability to take over the game with all-new controlled saves, redirects and a whole new suite of covers. Additionally, AI controlled goalies are more aware of threats on the ice, impacting their positioning and how they handle the puck.
NEW CONTROLLED SAVES AND REDIRECTS
In the past goalies would play blocking saves with their body regardless of how easy the puck was to handle or how prepared they were. Now based on a goalie’s skill (attributes), how in control/position they are before a shot arrives and the reaction time they have (speed/distance of the shot) they can make controlled saves to hang on to a puck, pinning it against their chest, collapsing in to hang on in their mid-section or making a more controlled glove save so that they can avoid giving up a rebound and control the play. Goalies can then choose to hang on or play the puck if they have enough control and it’s viable from where/how they pinned/hung onto the puck.
In addition to controlled saves, goalies now have the ability to control the outcome and redirect a puck depending on the situation. The ability to redirect the puck with control will be based on a goalies attributes, how in control they are, and the reaction time they have in each situation. In the past goalies could kick out juicy rebounds, even on pucks that were slower on net that they could have controlled. You will now see goalies use their sticks, leg pads and blocker to control and send the rebound away from danger (i.e. a stick redirect up into the corner glass, a blocker punching the puck out away from danger, or a leg pad kicking the puck out to the corner or out in front depending on where the incoming opponent threat is).
With these new tools, goalie differentiation by skill will be even more apparent. Some of the best goalies will be able to hang on to or direct harder shots with little reaction time away while weaker goalies may still give up juicy rebounds on shots they could have handled.
NEW COVER SYSTEM
NHL 20 introduces a whole new suite of covers for goalies, adding to their overall coverage by giving them the ability to cover the puck out of more positions. Goalies can also now resolve covers without having to reset and start again, making them more responsive in the mechanic. They are more authentic and responsive in their animations by being increasingly direct to the puck, and in the postures they use to protect the puck and themselves.
Goalies also have unique covers from butterfly, dropping down from standing set positions, reverse VH on both sides, VH from both sides, hug post from both sides, and new covers from various desperation saves. Additionally, goalies can cover the puck with their glove or pin the puck against the side of the net with their stick or blocker.
AI goaltenders in NHL 20 are more aware of threats around them, impacting their positioning and their ability to deal with different scenarios. AI goalies will be more aware of the threat of the puck carrier to score, impacting when and how they challenge the shooter vs. stay deeper in their net. This will lessen the chance of over-committing when the only threat is a pass or shot for a rebound. As the puck carrier becomes more dangerous, getting in closer to the middle of the ice and the net, especially if the player is on their forehand, you will see goalies challenge them more aggressively, increasing the need for the puck carrier to move the puck to open up a better scoring chance.
Goalies positioning and aggressiveness to track the puck and cut down on shooting angles will also be impacted by their teammates defensive positioning. Defensive AI has been updated to add more logic to identify the threat of the puck carrier to have a good chance to score with a shot. This may change their defensive positioning to stay closer to goal side than the direct passing lane. This allows them to gauge whether a rebound threat is more dangerous than a pass to a player with a weaker one-timer. As the one timer threat becomes more viable, the defensive players position will be tighter and heavily favor the direct passing lane.
These improvements will narrow the windows in which the offense has to make choices and will increase the need to work for good shooting positions and passing lanes, ultimately leading to more earned goals.
NHLGamer SHORT TAKE
The puck pickups have been one of the most debated subjects in recent years, although almost annually promised to have been improved, very little has actually happened on that front. RPM tech was an exciting and positive overhaul of the skating in NHL 19 and can be expected to greatly increase the flow and speed of the game now that it's being implemented in shooting and puck pickups too. Goaltenders will also receive some new tools to combat rebounds and crease bounces too - a much welcomed addition. In the end, it comes down to how well these animations respond to surprising in-game events. We'd expect nothing less than for our community to work out these kinks and provide some valuable feedback in order to fine-tune the end product eventually.
Finally, we'd like to provide you guys an opportunity to ask some gameplay related questions. Eight of the EA Game Changers had an opportunity for a hands-on experience with the game in the development phase at the EA HQ in Vancouver. @Kenu as our inside man made the trip in late April and might have some insight to your questions. Shoot your thoughts and questions in the comments section below!