Users Online Now: 1210  |  February 28, 2015
Wiggy's Blog
Fighting in Modern Hockey Games Stuck
Posted on March 28, 2013 at 10:55 AM.
While playing NHL '94 recently (to pay tribute to its 20th anniversary), I was reminded how that was the one year where EA removed fighting from the game. Some of the decisions that year were at the behest of the NHL, including the removal of blood on injuries, but it's interesting to note that version of EA's product is remembered more fondly than any NHL game of the '90s. With that in mind, it begs the question: do hockey games still need to include fighting at all?

At this point the NHL itself is at a bit of a crossroads with fighting, as the mixed messaging from the league has never been more apparent. Violence is a selling point for the game -- no doubt -- but the league still insists on championing the instigator rule, suspending fighters who fight multiple times, and fining teams who send out goons late in games. The rub becomes that players overwhelmingly want fighting to stay, but they do support the instigator rule. However, to counter that, a recent poll shows that two-thirds of fans want fighting gone from the game. For what it's worth, put me in the camp of people that want it to stay. With these conflicted numbers, what are developers to do in regards to fighting in hockey games?

NHL '94 aside, fighting has been in hockey videogames for quite some time now. Its's been presented from top-down, side view, third person, first person and just about every other way you can think of. It's been done in a serious way, where EA brought in actual NHL tough guys to help with the first-person fighting, and it's been done in silly ways, like the stuff found in Ice Hockey and Blades of Steel. I personally always loved that your guy got dragged off for a penalty when he lost a fight in Blades of Steel.

Modern hockey games, obviously, have gone for a more realistic treatment. The NHL 2K series actually presented hockey fights really well in its last few iterations, with helmets flying off, various flailing punches being thrown, and the players awkwardly spinning around as they chucked the knuckles. As for EA, their fight engine has been pretty much garbage for a while now, whether the action is being presented in first person or third person. The fact that every player on the ice (and bench) has to disappear for the fight to even work is a bizarre technical hurdle, and the event itself doesn't look great -- and plays even worse.

If fights are going to stick around in hockey games, it would be nice if the development team would stick a couple of people on the job and make the fights more organic to the flow of play on the ice. There obviously need to be some checks and balances under the hood so that fights don't happen all the time, but the way EA does it now (first person, goalie fights, bad controls) isn't getting it done. I know many users don't seem to care about fights in hockey games, but if they're going to take up space in new products going forward, it would be nice if they were reflective of the actual nature of how they play out in real life.

What do you think, OS? Should fighting still be in hockey games? If so, how can it be better? If not, why should it be gone?
# 1 Storm12 @ Mar 28
I agree with this, the fighting in NHL 2K5 was better than the fighting in the current EA games, and there was a reason for starting a fight with the tension meter. Now anyone can do it and there is no good reason why a fight has to be done, I'd love to see the third person view and have actual reasons for sending a enforcer out. Let's say someone like martin st louis is checking guys left and right, the game could recommend you send out an enforcer to check him or something, and in response the other team could send out an enforcer to drop the gloves with... EA has failed to simulate this in their games, oddly enough in NHL 04 although fights happened at command I never understood why it happened. I just wish it could happen for the reasons it happens for in real life.
# 2 tril @ Mar 28
for authenticity purposes they need to stay. The option to have fights on or off is the ebst option. havent bought a hockey game since NHL11. I still play 2k10and nhl11 every now and then,
and 2k's fighting engine always felt more organic.
# 3 Cardot @ Mar 28
I enjoy a real hockey fight as much as the next guy....but have always felt that their video game counterparts are pretty weak. So I always turn them off. But I have no objection to fights being in the long as I have the option.
# 4 buckeyedawgtribe @ Mar 28
If it's in the game..then it should be in the game. EA Sports
# 5 garyjr33 @ Mar 28
Fighting needs to stay. It is more about a tactic in hockey, a form of strategy then just straight violence. It can shift the momentum in a game. But the fighting needs to be more intuitive in hockey video games.
# 6 Simple Mathematics @ Mar 28
Fighting needs to stay, and it needs to be done like 2K did it.
# 7 savoie2006 @ Mar 28
I'm with most here, if EA can find a way to replicate and or improve on what 2K did on 2K10 they would be slot closer to having fighting right.
# 8 DustinOverbay @ Mar 28
If fighting goes, a large amount of fans leave, some players lose jobs, and the league loses money, Fighting is the only way in hockey that you can protect yourself from cheap-shots and dirty play.

In video games as well, it keeps the realism intact and more importantly, it adds a bit of fun from a slow game.

Bottom line, Keep fighting.
# 9 GlennN @ Mar 29
I'll side with the majority - fighting needs to stay - both in the NHL and in videogaming
# 10 Storm12 @ Mar 29
I just saw a video of a fight in 2k10... Amazingly realistic! Not like in EA at all. I want fights like that.
# 11 bigbob @ Mar 30
Fighting needs to stay, but I think I blame this more on the sports themselves and not the game developers. Look at the NFL. They made EA remove tattoos, helmets popping off, late hits out of bounds etc. because they didn't want the younger viewers seeing it. I'm sure the NHL may do the same.
# 12 13whitebread @ Mar 31
First of all a lot of people always object to hockey fights. But what about baseball when a pitcher throws a ball 90 to 100 mph and either hits a batter or throws at its head what could be more violent than that?
# 13 [Icy] @ Apr 1
Right now it's almost non existent in EA's NHL if you play solo, as the CPU never starts a fight.
# 14 Storm12 @ Apr 3
Like I said before there needs to be some indicator where you can let out an enforcer for a fight, in the nhl games guys who aren't supposed to be physical players check everyone left and right. There needs to be an indication or a notice to let the 4th line out and either check the offending player, harass him so someone else fights, or check him then fight later in the game when the other teams enforcer or someone who is willing to fight is on ice. It would function like it used to do in the actual NHL.
# 15 fmedges @ May 6
I disagree with an indicator. I don't want the game flashing or beeping or whatever at me to tell me when to use my enforcer. I do wish that fights had meaning and that you could use them strategically instead of how it is now. I'm glad they are getting rid of the goofy first person system. As someone who enjoys a good hockey scrap they have to stay in the league and in the games, however I wish that the virtual version mirrored the reason for fighting and the mechanics of it as well.
Wiggy's Blog Categories
Wiggy's Xbox 360 Gamercard
Wiggy's Friends
Recent Visitors
The last 10 visitor(s) to this Arena were:

Wiggy's Arena has had 371,924 visits