SPORTS

2K returns to hockey with new mobile title, Ryan Kesler back on the cover

10/23/2014 08:00 EDT | Updated 12/23/2014 05:59 EST
After a four-year absence, NHL 2K is back and looking to fill a void in the hockey game mobile market.

The title has been in hiatus since "NHL 2K11," which was available for the Wii and iOS.

"It's just a good time to be out there because I think the market is starved," Chris Snyder, 2K's vice-president of marketing, said in an interview. "It needs a hockey sim in a bad way."

While EA Sports is the reigning console hockey heavyweight with its made-in-Vancouver "NHL 15," 2K saw a void to be filled in the mobile market.

Available for iOS and Android devices, "NHL 2K" is developed by Visual Concepts, a 2K Studio, in partnership with Virtuos.

The new mobile title comes with various modes including the new "My Career," which allows gamers to shape the career of a custom character. Gamers can play through a full season with their favourite NHL team or opt to take part in a Winter Classic.

In addition to the normal game, a Mini-Rink option offers a three-on-three format. A multiplayer mode allows fans to go head-to-head in a turn-based shootout.

There are live roster updates and the game can be paired with a controller.

Fans of the NHL 2K series have been after the developer to bring the franchise back but so far it is only set for a mobile version.

"We love the fact that they're asking for us to come back on console but there's no plans for that right now," said Snyder.

The company has listened to its fans when it comes to the D-pad touch screen controller. Some gamers complained that the D-pad was too big. So on this version, it comes in several different sizes.

One constant is Ryan Kesler, who is the cover athlete for both the new and "NHL 2K11" games. He has changed jerseys, moving from Vancouver to Anaheim, in the interim but remains part of the 2K fold.

"He is definitely a friend of the brand and lends a lot to the design and what he wants to see," said Snyder. "We are always listening and he's very vocal just like he is on the ice. So when he talks, we certainly listen."

Kesler likes what he sees.

"It's amazing. What they can do now and how much you control the game is pretty impressive.," he said. "It's unbelievable."

The 30-year-old centre says he never dreamed about being on the cover of a video game.

"For them to offer me this opportunity again, I can't be thankful enough."

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