The bad news is that the NHL 2K series will take a hiatus from the X-Box 360 and Playstation 3 consoles for the 2010-11 season. The good news, though, is that the series will continue on Nintendo’s Wii console. The 2K series has always struggled to keep up with software giant Electronic Arts’ NHL games when it comes to sales, although they have had the advantage of being the only licensed hockey simulation for Nintendo’s popular system the past few years.
While the series always trailed EA’s games in sales, the 2K series was often a critical darling during the Playstation 2 era. The series hit a serious wall, however, when EA’s series was radically revamped for the “next generation” of consoles. While 2K’s games stagnated with mediocre gameplay, average graphics and weak ideas, the EA games received multiple sports game of the year awards and added numerous well-received innovations.
Take-Two Interactive, the game’s publisher, claims that the series will return to the other consoles stronger than ever with an extra year for development. Their CEO Ben Feder said this about the decision:
“We’re doing that because we’re so committed to competing that the team needs a breather,” explained Feder during the Take-Two first quarter financial results conference call. ” The following year we will come back a lot stronger. We have an intention to win and we’re going to maximize the opportunity.”
I’m a little weary of a game “taking a year off to get better” as it kind of reminds me of the sometimes-dubious practice of a person spending a year away from college to backpack in Europe. (You’re never going back to school, and seriously, your dreadlocks smell horrible.)
Still, as with most things in life, competition forces you to be at your best. Here’s hoping that 2K comes back strong and gives hockey fans and gamers alike two excellent opportunities to enjoy the sport in polygonal form.