Through deciphering retail game descriptions and analyzing the achievement lists, NHL fans have been speculating about the absence of two popular game modes, the EA Sports Hockey League and Connected GM, for more than a week. Today EA confirmed fans' worst suspicions – both modes will be absent from the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, on the other hand, will still feature both modes.

This marks the first time since NHL 09 that the series won’t be offering EASHL, a popular six-on-six competitive mode.

“Decisions like this are never easy, nor do we take them lightly,” says producer Sean Ramjagsingh. “We know that there is a passionate group of fans that loves these modes and is no doubt disappointed with this news; but we also know that this same group of fans expects a high quality gameplay experience above anything else. We’re a franchise built on quality, so launching these modes without confidence in their quality wasn’t something that we were willing to do.”

When the title launches on September 9, the following modes will be available on Xbox One and PS4: Play Now, Be a Pro, Be a GM, Online Vs., Hockey Ultimate Team, and NHL Moments Live. EA plans to add Online Team Play via a content update at a later date.

[Source: EA Sports]


Our Take
Once again the new-gen transition is proving to be a bitter pill to swallow when it comes to an EA Sports franchise. During the last transition it took years to even recapture regular commentary in Madden (as an example). Diehards love the EASHL mode, and its absence is going to be felt. The exclusion of these modes is more significant considering that both FIFA and Madden shipped new-generation versions with full feature sets last year. While the explanation of not launching the modes unless they are great makes sense, I expect that it will fall on deaf ears.