Do you remember Eastside Hockey Manager? Between 2004 and 2007 Sports Interactive (makers of Football Manager) released a deep ice hockey management game that had a lot of similarities with their football franchise. However, the game only found modest success and so it was abandoned. Until now that is.
"At that time we were not only badly affected by piracy, we were also hit by the way retail used to work, particularly in the US. Boxed copies of the game would fly off the shelves in places where hockey was popular, but would languish in places where it wasn't - and there was no system in place for those boxes to be shifted from one State to another. Steam wasn't anywhere near as popular back then as it is now, so we didn't have a digital solution to this problem like we do now."
Interestingly the game has been maintained as a hobby project by some at the studio.
"Getting the game into its current state has been very much a ‘hobby project' for a few of us at the studio. Up until now we've worked on EHM in what little spare time we have (Football Manager keeps us all very busy) but now, using Early Access will give us some budget to be able to put more resources into EHM, whilst not losing any from FM. We're doing it now because we've hired some of the people we need to cover the extra work."
Sports Interactive wants to use Early Access on Steam as a means to gage the interest in the game and hopefully build from there.
Here's a handy list of bullet points that details what features are included in the Early Access version:
- Contemporary League Structures
EHM: EA includes 11 playable leagues (with more planned to be added during early access), each one featuring the up-to-date structure and rules from the current season.
- Advanced 2D Game Engine
Follow the action through the top-down game engine, which incorporates state-of-the-art physics modelling (including realistic deflections and shot-blocking) and convincing player AI. There's even a zoom mode for those who want to get closer to the action.
- Lifelike Trade Negotiations
Managers can gauge interest to trade proposals from their opposite numbers as well as getting feedback from their own assistant. Each team has their own needs and some are ready to offload prospects for that key veteran that makes them a true contender whilst others can be looking to move high-wage veterans in order to rebuild through the draft.
- Intuitive User Interface
The centralized navigation bar makes management easier and more intuitive with all key management controls incorporated into the main menu bar.
- Improved Player Progression
Players develop and age naturally, while the role-based attribute modelling makes players more realistic and more varied.
- International Management
EHM EA: includes 13 international tournaments for senior and U20 national teams, with tournaments hosted in a variety of nations and cities.
- Database Import
The database format allows the importing of user-generated up-to-date rosters and even historical starting databases (created for earlier versions of EHM).
- And Much, Much More...
Eastside Hockey Manager is available now via Steam Early Access for the rather affordable sum of £9.99 (€14.99).