NHL 13 was released a little less than a month ago and it was greeted with explosive popularity from fans and universal approval from critics.
So to talk about the game's success and other topics relating to this year's title, NHL 13's Line Producer Sean Ramjagsingh took sometime to discuss it all with Examiner.com.
This year's game had record setting sales numbers in its first week, as those totals rose nine percent during the first week in comparison to last year's performance.
Ramjagsingh said the studio set out to deliver a game worthy of sports game of the year honors, and that having the fans support the game the way they have is a testament to all of their hard-work.
"We knew we wanted to go big this year. We wanted to get back into the conversation of best sports game of the year.
"We put features in that we think will put us back into consideration for that award. Being up in sales during a time when the industry is down, is a major achievement for us. To get validation from fans is a big payoff," Ramjagsingh said.
In our review of the game, we discussed the impact of the new system called True Performance Skating. Players will notice an incredible difference in the gameplay realism with this new feature.
Ramjagsingh said the addition of the new skating system was born from both the development team and fans, while the AI adjustments were to help prevent repetitiveness in scoring.
"The skating was a combination of us knowing what we needed to do and what fans said about the previous skating system.
"For us it was about setting a high bar this year. We wanted to get the player differentiation of fast guys going fast and slow guys going slow. This has allowed gamers to have full control over what the player normally does when they see an NHL game on TV.
"The AI changes are more about the players' anticipation. Goalies anticipate what the player may do based on what they have done before," Ramjagsingh said.
In past NHL games, gamers may had figured out certain plays that would nearly guarantee a goal every time, but with the new AI system, they have to continue to evolve and be creative with their offense.
Ramjagsingh said they continue to look for new ways to innovate the franchise by either seeing how the style of play changes from year-to-year in the NHL or by referencing what other franchises may be doing with their systems.
"There are always things we can change. We reassess the game every year and make sure the aspects that are in the each game, still relate to how the hockey is played in the NHL.
"We also look at what other sports games are doing and try to see what has worked for them from a mechanics standpoint. We always share knowledge with other sports games at EA.
"Our team is always trying to come up with features that will raise the bar not only for our series, but for the industry as well," Ramjagsingh said.
EA has already announced that the FIFA and Madden franchises will be ported onto the Wii U once it is released, but that doesn't seem to be the case with NHL.
Ramjagsingh said they haven't made any announcements regarding NHL 13 coming to the Wii U because they are waiting to see what happens with FIFA and Madden on Nintendo's system.
"We haven’t announced anything with the Wii U yet. We’ll be able to see how FIFA and Madden do and then go forward from there," Ramjagsingh said.
In regards to the Wii U, he went on to say he thinks gamers having more ways to play is a good thing, but he hasn't had a chance to take a good look at the system yet.
The NHLPA and the league's owners are still in the midst of a lockout that could start to affect the regular season, but Ramjagsingh knows they can only control the type of game they release to consumers.
"We didn’t know what the effect [of the lockout] would be. Heading into development, we knew all we could control was making the best product possible. We’re all hockey fans and we want to see them back in action as soon as possible," Ramjagsingh said.
Finally, Ramjagsingh, who lives in Vancouver, talked about which New York team is his favorite to play with in NHL 13, as well as who he would like to see in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.
"With NHL 13, my favorite team to play with is the Rangers because they have Henrik Lundqvist, Marian Gaborik and Rick Nash. They are the best team and are really fun to play with.
"I would like to see Philadelphia make a good run. A Philadelphia versus Vancouver Stanley Cup Finals would be great to see," Ramjagsingh said.
NHL 13 is available now on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.