August 27, 2008
Battling the EA Sports juggernaut for hockey gamer affections, 2K Sports' NHL 2K9 has attempted to draw distinctions with some quirky innovations. Like becoming the first NHL-licensed game for the Nintendo Wii and instituting game options like driving the Zamboni a between periods to elevate the fun factor.
In an interview with Planet Xbox 360, NHL 2K9 producer Ben Bishop explained another quirky aspect of the game: The growth of playoff beards on players as your team progresses deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs. When asked how much research 2K Sports had done regarding playoff beards for specific players, Bishop dropped some disappointing news:
Yeah, you know, we tried to take a look and it's definitely an area we want to do more in, but we didn't have the time to do. We were hoping to get different styles like [Sidney] Crosby not having a full beard. He only had a partial beard for awhile. So we wanted to get different stuff like that in but we didn't really have time. We ended up with having different levels depending on how far the team is along in the playoffs.
Damn. Talk about a missed opportunity. We could have had The Sidney Crosby peach fuzz, the Jagr Flavor Saver, The Zetterberg ... basically all the playoff beards Margee covered in her epic post from the playoffs. Sure, you can create a player and follow him from the draft to the Hall of Fame on NHL 09; but only on NHL 2K9 can you make Brian Campbell look like "a strawberry mountain man."
We're holding out hope that the Wii version of NHL 2K9 is an exceptional hockey gaming experience. Because Far Away Leaf's review of the 2K9 demo for the Xbox is a tad on the scathing side.