Stevivor sat down with EA’s Clement Kwong at Gamescom last month to discuss NHL 17‘s new Franchise mode.
In short, it’s a simulator’s dream.
Expanding control far beyond the likes of Be A GM, Kwong explained that most every aspect of a team and its associated day-to-days are under your control in Franchise mode. In addition to actual on-ice gameplay, you’re taking the centre seat to build, upgrade and repair your hockey rink at the same time you’ll be setting costs for concessions, organising special fan events and more.
In the end, the amount of work you put in off the ice leads to happy, spending fans — and that money means an increased budget so you can continue to invest in your team.
Different club owners have different goals for their franchises, and that means you’ll have to work accordingly. Said goals come in three tiers: primary, secondary and stretch. Kwong explained that some team owners are hell-bent on winning at any cost, while others are looking to make a profit and nothing more. If you don’t work to the goals of the owners, you’ll quite literally lose their patience — that’s the time you basically have to turn things around.
You have to spend money to make money, and that’s done by upgrading concessions, your team’s store, club seats and rink parking to a maximum of level 5 facilities. With better facilities come higher ticket prices; you’ll be able to get at-a-glance stats of your spending and of patron happiness to ensure you’ve found the right balance. If things are looking a bit sketchy, perhaps a well-timed player bobblehead day might win fans over. For events of that nature, Kwong explained that you’ll get a choice of three players to highlight with a bobblehead or jersey giveaway. Sadly, you’re not able to set the players that are highlighted but can merely select from the options offered.
In the end, if fans aren’t happy, you do have the option of moving your franchise to a different city — providing you can make your owners happy with the deal, Kwong said. While you can take a team like the Detroit Red Wings and move them to New Orleans, Kwong confirmed, you won’t be able to pull the Wings from Joe Louis Arena and into a new (real-life) facility like Little Caesar’s Arena.
Failing all of the above, if you’re far in the red and thinking of pulling the plug on your gameplay entirely, you can automate some processes too, Kwong also told Stevivor.
NHL 17 heads to Xbox One and PS4 next week. Those with EA Access on Xbox One can trial the game five days ahead of launch.
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