NHL 12 is the twentieth annual product in the EA Sports NHL franchise. It is the successor to NHL 11 and will be available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
On May 20, 2011, the first screenshot of the game was released on Facebook. It showed Marc-Andre Fleury, goaltender for the Pittsburgh Penguins, being pushed by Brooks Laich of the Washington Capitals.
The game features a huge selection of brand new features including:
The 2012 Winter Classic at Heinz Field between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins is featured in NHL 12, marking outdoor games a first in the series. This mode is still playable with other teams within the game, although, Heinz Field will be the only playable outdoor arena.
Building on the innovations from NHL 11 and earlier, the real-time physics interactions of NHL 12 have been expanded even further. According to producers, practically everything will be physics-based in NHL 12. Players will be able to be upended into the benches and even checked through the glass. Of course, pucks can now go through glass as well and, after an odd absence from an otherwise realistic franchise, nets may now be pushed off of their moorings.
Player helmets and goalie masks can also be knocked off and will react appropriately when on the ice. Pucks will also be able to roll on end when goalies give them up as rebounds. Players will also break towards the neutral zone in a more fluid and natural motion.
Size and strength of each individual player will also play a more dynamic role in this years game. Larger players will be able to control the ice much easier. Smaller players will tend to bounce off others when the game gets more physical.
A big improvement to NHL 12's on-ice gameplay will be deeper battles in front of the net. A new jostling system has been alluded to and it will focus on creating (or defending from) screens, deflections, and general chaos in front of the net, which is a key factor in today's NHL.
For years, fans have pleaded for the ability to engage in the rare but spectacular goalie fight. NHL 12 will allow players to drop the glove and blocker to fight. This was in previous NHL games including NHL 2004. However, it will be the first time this feature has appeared on current generation consoles including the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
NHL 12 will feature a completely new sim engine when using the Be A GM mode. NHL 12 will implement the new "Actions Sports Tracker" which will allow players to observe where shots are taking place while simming the game. They will also be able to pull up how various players are performing, etc. At any point, the player can jump directly into the game. Players will no longer be forced to jump into a game at the start of periods.
Jersey numbers can also be retired now for the first time in the NHL Franchise. The game will now know which numbers can not be used for various teams. It will then give a player a different number if their usual number is already retired by their new team.
Trade logic has also been revamped in the Be A GM mode. The CPU will now make more logical trades based on this new system. The CPU will also propose trades to the user that are much more based on logic to help both teams. They will also know when to accept trades that are obviously more in their favor.
In NHL 12, Be A Pro returns with significant improvements. Coaches will give their players specific tasks to complete and players have to earn playing time. Playing this mode will become much less tedious, as there will now be an option to simulate to your next shift after your player comes off of the ice. The scope of Be A Pro will also be expanded, as players can begin their careers as early as age 15 and play a complete junior career in the CHL. Players will be allowed to play a full four years in the CHL. Afterwards, they will be drafted to an NHL team and most likely be assigned to the AHL team for a fair bit of "seasoning." This is a bit different then NHL 11 because it was fairly simple to stick with the NHL team after your draft.
The growth up of your player will also be different, as you progress through 18 separate ranks. Your player's growth will also be informed by your pro from NHL 11. You can earn boosts based on your NHL 11 player's statistics, as well as start at a higher rank if you had earned one of the higher player cards like Superstar or Legend.
Be a Pro is also a perfect stage for NHL 12's new simulation engine. You can sim through the game while you're on the bench, with or without text summaries of the action you're missing.
How much simulating you'll do is dependent on how well you perform on-ice, and this year there are more specific objectives for players to meet. Your coach will give you specific tasks in response to the way the game is going, and you'll earn more ice time if you accomplish these goals.
There will be a number of enhancements to the game's presentation. One of them is an Action Tracker, which specifically logs shots and hits by location and time. These events can then be brought up for instant replay on demand. Another improvement is the inclusion of an entire team's roster on the bench, which was not present in previous games.
The artificial intelligence in NHL 12 has been greatly improved, giving computer-controlled players the ability to anticipate plays rather than simply react to them. Producer David Littman gave the example of Alex Ovechkin moving up the ice before his defenseman gained possession in the defensive zone, and Henrik Zetterberg predicting and intercepting a pass.
It was announced at the 2011 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada that Steven Stamkos will be the cover athlete for NHL 12. The German language version of NHL12, available in Germany, Switzerland and Austria will feature Jonas Hiller as the cover athlete.
There will also be more player types integrated into the game.
For NHL '12, EA Sports has introduced a new "Legends Team" that will incorporate past greats as well as today's current stars onto one dynamic team. These legends will also be available in the Hockey Ultimate Team mode as well. Players can also pick these legends and try to recreate their record breaking accomplishments. The legends team roster was revealed over time on EA sports official twitter feed. The final Legends lineup is as follows; Wayne Gretzky, Chris Chelios, Steve Yzerman, Ray Bourque, Mario Lemieux, Jeremy Roenick, Borje Salming, Patrick Roy and Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe.