EA’s latest hockey game, NHL 21, won’t be out until October this year, and it’s not going to have a special version for the PS5 or Xbox Series X consoles, the publisher announced in an update its website today.
“For NHL 21, we made the decision to focus on adding innovation and new features rather than the resource-heavy task of porting the game to new console technology,” the developers wrote. “You’ll still be able to play NHL 21 on the next-gen consoles through forward compatibility but we are fully focused on launching NHL 21 on the Xbox One and PS4 and look forward to the opportunities the next-gen systems will bring in the future.”
NHL 21 has also traditionally always come out in September, a few weeks after Madden and a couple weeks before FIFA, EA’s other major annualized sports series. But this year the game isn’t arriving until October, due to the ongoing work from home requirements companies across the video game industry are dealing with during the covid-19 pandemic. “We just need a few extra weeks to do the polish, fine tuning and bug fixing,” the development team wrote.
While Madden NFL 21 was revealed back at Microsoft’s Xbox Series X showcase in May, EA hasn’t shared much about FIFA 21, and even less about NHL 21, which was missing from EA’s June Play Live event entirely. It’s also apparently the only one of the three that won’t have a next-gen version. Maybe it’s time NHL, and EA’s other sports series, just took a year off altogether and followed the Pro Evolution Soccer annual update path.