NHL 22 Cover Athlete Revealed, X-Factors Aim to Bring Elite Strategy to Game

Hockey fans, it’s almost time to lace up your (virtual) skates and hit the rink.

EA revealed NHL 22 today alongside a trailer and a peek at cover athlete Auston Matthews with the Toronto Maple Leafs.


“I’m thrilled to be working with EA SPORTS again and returning to the ice in NHL 22,” said Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs. “This year, Superstar X-Factors bring a whole new level of elite competition and strategy to the game, and you’ll be able to unleash my ‘Shock and Awe’ ability for exciting shots at the net.”

NHL 22 has the power of the Frostbite engine behind it in the latest iteration of the game and is adding something new to the mix with X-Factors and other new features across all game modes.

“Superstars will distinctly feel like their real-life counterparts in NHL 22 with the introduction of Superstar X-Factors, a game-changing system that unleashes unique abilities for the best players in the game, with traits inspired by their individual real-world skills,” developers said. “Superstar X-Factors bring two key elements to help elevate hockey’s elite and break them away from the pack: Zone Abilities and Superstar Abilities. Zone Abilities bring game-breaking enhancements to the best players, while Superstar Abilities represent upper echelon skills reserved for athletes playing at the next level. Players like Edmonton Oilers Forward Leon Draisaitl, whose ‘Tape to Tape’ ability reflects his elite core passing; or Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy’s ‘Contortionist’ X-factor that boosts his ability to make wild, body-twisting saves with ease will make a profound impact on NHL 22 gameplay. Superstar X-Factors not only bring new facets to gameplay but also add new dimensions to Franchise Mode, Be A Pro, Hockey Ultimate Team and World of Chel.”

Developers said that players will come to life with enhanced spatial awareness, overhauled physical likenesses and visual fidelity with cloth animations and uniform microdetails that make every stitch visible.

“Developing NHL 22 with the Frostbite engine is letting us truly bring the series into the next generation,” said Clement Kwong, Producer at EA Vancouver. “The visual upgrade is impressive on its own, but the Frostbite engine is also giving us the power to create a lot of realism that you’ll really notice once you play.”

Developers said they will update players on World of CHEL, Hockey Ultimate Team, Be A Pro and Franchise modes in addition to “some long-requested community features.”

Players also got a peek at the Deluxe “X-Factor” Edition of the game which includes three days of early access, up to 10 HUT Diamond Player Choice Packs, one HUT X-Factor Player Choice Pack, HUT X-Factor Power-Up Starter Pack, up to four HUT X-Factor Power-Up Packs, five World of Chel X-Factor Zone Ability Unlocks, five Unlocked Hockey Bags, two Be A Pro X-Factor Slot Unlocks and XP Boost and Bonus Trait Points.

NHL 22 will launch October 15 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles.

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Managing editor over video games here at Cinelinx. Let me lose myself in Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley for days, thanks. KakeBytes is my podcast adventure through gaming history.