One of the biggest new features NHL 19 is bringing to the table is the ability for hockey to come home, where it started for a lot of people: on the pond. That’s why the studio created Carter Lake, a fictional pond hockey tournament location.
Carter Lake is an inspired combination of The Rockies, Whistler, The Red Bull Crashed Ice Event, and the US Pond Hockey Championship. Gamers will get a few good looks at it in NHL Ones, which takes them across four different locations in Cart Lake depending on how far they progress in daily tournaments.
It’s clear that EA Sports put a lot of thought into all four locations at Carter Lake, and it’s also clear that the studio expects to get a lot of use out of it. As it turns out, Carter Lake may be just the beginning:
If we come up with our own locations and our own tournaments, and there are modes that we set on the pond, then there’s a lot more life in them for our players to live in them.
John: “So is there potential for another Carter Lake in the future?”
Oh, absolutely. I think enough fans are going to want more outdoor ones than they play in NHL 19. We’ve already brainstormed a number of inspiring locations for the future.
Will didn’t elaborate on what these other potential locations are, but it’s clear that he sees a bright future ahead for outdoor pond action. Of course, this isn’t the first time EA Sports has covered outdoor bouts of hockey. The studio has done Winter Classics in the past, but prefers to spend time developing locations that offer more re-use:
We prefer to have events that people can really live with. If we recreate this baseball park or that football stadium, it would probably be one-and-done, right? If we come up with our own locations and our own tournaments, and there are modes that we set on the pond, then there’s a lot more life in them for our players to live in them.
Of course, the future of pond hockey and outdoor action in the NHL series depends on how fans react to it in NHL 19. The developers have invested plenty of time and effort into World of CHEL, and come September fans will have the final say on if this was time well spent. Will thinks it was, and he’s got a clear message for the masses:
If our fans love outdoor in NHL 19, we’ve got the supply if you have the demand!
NHL 19 will release on September 14, 2018 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
You can find John on Twitter at @Makelevi. One time, his friend Joey set up an entire pond for them to play hockey on…and he just never visited in that time. John is a great friend.