Search For Posters!
  Join the SGN staff!
Help Wanted
Release Dates


About Us

The Sports

Partner Links
Auto Insurance Quote
Irvine Moving Companies
LA Moving Companies
Brand Name Shoes

NHL Faceoff 2000 Interview


We recently had a chance to interview Jody Kelsey of 989 Studios, who works on the NHL FaceOff Series.

1) Could you briefly give us some background info about yourself? What is your role in NHL FaceOff 2000?

    Jody Kelsey, Producer 989 Sports™ – With 989 Studios since mid 1994. Worked on the FaceOff series since the original title in 1995.

2) What's new in NHL FaceOff 2000? In other words, aside from updating rosters, what would compel someone who owns NHL FaceOff 99 to purchase this year's edition?

    This year's NHL FaceOff™ 2000 is an entirely new game. Aside from the new player models and Arena Graphics, this year we have a totally new Artificial Intelligence (A.I). We brought in eight time Stanley Cup™ champion and coach of the Detroit Red Wings®, Scotty Bowman to help us get the offensive and defensive strategies and player decisions locked in. In-game you'll see offensive players camping out in front looking for the redirect or the rebound. You'll see players at the point pinching the boards to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Defensemen will jump up to create odd man rushes and forwards will drop back to help out on defense. While on the penalty kill you'll see players rotating the box. The new A.I. is called I.C.E.™ AI and it stands for Intelligence, Comprehension, Execution, because real players use their intelligence to comprehend situations and then execute accordingly.

      989 Sports added more than 150 new animations to NHL Face Off 2000. This year the goalies make all of the regular saves including the butterfly, glove, blocker and chest saves. You'll also see stick saves and the goalies diving across the goal mouth sprawling out and covering the puck while lying on their backs. The goalie reactions and animations make the game so much more exciting and realistic.

      We've added a new puck halo and all new skating physics. The puck halo makes it easier to see when there is a scramble at the net and gives you a better chance to score second chance goals. The new skating physics gives the gamer a real feel for the ice. The player's ability to turn is in relation to the speed he is skating and of course his overall skating ability. For example, the faster a player is skating, the longer it takes him to turn, just like on real ice. Both the puck and the skaters glide along the ice surface as they do in real life.

      The camera work in NHL FaceOff 2000 is a sight to be seen. We have seven gameplay cameras that players can choose from. Additionally, the new default camera is called the action cam. This camera reacts to the action. For instance, on a breakaway, the camera zooms in to show the action between skater and goalie. The camera also zooms into the corners and pulls back on the breakout in order to show the gamer his teammates.

      Mike Emrick and Darren Pang return for their second year in the booth as the broadcast team for NHL FaceOff 2000. Both were brought back in the studio for 3 day recording sessions to add new commentary to NHL FaceOff 2000. Last year this tandem was called the best two man commentary in sports video game history. This year is sure to raise the bar again.

3) Would you offer us an overview of the general manager and coaching options in the game, as well as the different gameplay modes (seasons, playoffs, etc.)?

    We currently have three different gameplay modes, which are: Season, Exhibition and Playoff. All of these are self-explanatory.

      The general manager options allow the user to Release, Trade, Create and Sign players to his or her team. When creating a player there are various attributes that can be adjusted in order to personalize that player's abilities.

      The coaching options allow the user to adjust the regular lines; the power play and penalty kill lines. On the fly the user can also change his or her style of play both on the offensive and defensive end.

4) Looking back with a year's experience, what was the weakest part of FaceOff 99? How will FaceOff 2000 remedy that weakness?

    Looking back on NHL FaceOff'99, we tried to make a game that reflected the fastest game on Earth, NHL Hockey. In doing so, the gameplay speed was running very fast. Many hard-core gamers loved the challenge of the fast gameplay. Overall it was seen as a bit too fast. With the pace of the game running so quickly, many of the subtleties of the game were not seen. For instance some of the animations went by so quickly that they were not seen or appreciated. It also made setting up in the offensive zone much more difficult. In NHL FaceOff 2000, we performed numerous focus group testing to dial in the speed of the gameplay in order to get it in tune and get the best possible mix of speed and playability. We are confident that the speed of this year's installment is dead on to what the gamer is looking for. Of course, the gamer always has the option to adjust the speed in the options menu to speed up or slowdown gameplay.

5) Some people (including reviewers) posit two different types of sports games--arcade contests and simulations. Others see "arcade" and "simulation" as part of a spectrum in game design and gameplay. How would you characterize FaceOff 2000?

    Currently at 989 Sports we produce only one true arcade-style sports title and that is NFL Xtreme 2. The rest of our titles, including NHL FaceOff 2000 are in the simulation genre. NHL FaceOff 2000 has all of the realistic elements required to be a topnotch simulation game. We have had NHL players in for motion capture sessions where the players performed their moves while on the ice. We were the first and only company to have motion capture performed on ice. We have all of the players, teams, many of the NHL trophies, and authentic personalize goalie masks. While in-game you can perform line-changes and adjust your lines. Players can get injured, they will drop their gloves at times and will be hauled off for various penalties, just like in the NHL.

6) One of the great innovations in FaceOff 99 was the representation of individual NHL arenas (although you underestimate the overhang of the top ring in America West Arena [grin]). What steps will FaceOff 2000 take to build on creating distinct rink environments, with crowd behavior and music, so it feels as if we are in the zoo that is Madison Square Garden versus the polite applause that characterizes fans in Toronto (or the empty chasm that is Nassau Coliseum)?

    The arenas in NHL FaceOff 2000 are designed by using the actual blueprints. This year the arenas have been updated and crowds have been made much more interactive. Crowds will cheer and boo depending on the situation. On hat tricks, fans will throw their hats on the ice. This year, during stoppages of play, you'll hear such stadium favorites as Mony, Mony, Shout and R.E.S.P.E.C.T. among other arena hits. This licensed music adds to the authentic stadium feel.

7) In FaceOff 99 players chose from one of three full units of five skaters at equal strength, one of three offensive and defensive sets, and one of three forechecking and breakout options. Will FaceOff 2000 be any different? For example, will gameplayers get to choose from one of four forward lines and three pairs of defensemen? Will there be new offensive and defensive strategies?

    NHL FaceOff 2000 will still use the 5 player line change.

    Offensive and defensive styles have been changed to reflect the authentic player execution that was shared with us by Scotty Bowman. This way players are executing those styles just as they do in real life.

>> Click here for more...

© 1998-2006 Sports Gaming Network. Entire legal statement. Feedback

Other Links:
[Free Credit Report  |   Car Insurance Quotes  |   Designer Shoes  |   Outdoor Equipment

MVP Baseball 2003
Street Hoops
Mad Catz Xbox Hardware

Inside Pitch 2003
MLB Slugfest 20-04
Tennis Masters Series