NHL 20 Introduces Battle Royale-Inspired Game Mode

From PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG) to Fortnite, Apex Legends and the like, the battle royale genre took the gaming world by storm and revolutionized the landscape.

Relatively quick matches that create a tournament-style competition which pits players (and in many cases teams) against each other, battle royales gained notoriety both for the fun gameplay mechanics they bring as well as the addictive feeling of being the last player or team standing.

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This popular game mode has typically been exclusive to shooting games given their nature. While the style may change from semi-realistic graphics and gameplay such as in PUBG to less realistic versions like Call of Duty’s Blackout and Apex Legends and even to cartoon-style gameplay like in Fortnite, the idea has always been the same; dozens enter, one leaves victorious.

With NHL’s ONES Eliminator, though, the battle royale genre has made the jump to a sports title and could create a similar addictive feeling to that of its predecessors.

NHL 20 Joining the Battle Royale Party

Though it may not be a shooting game, ONES Eliminator is the closest thing we’ll likely ever have to a battle royale.

“ONES Eliminator is our take on hockey meets battle royale,” said NHL 20 creative director William Ho. “Instead of taking 100 hockey players and dropping them onto an island and having them shoot each other – that’s not the point of our battle royale, we took the best elements which is you can enter a tournament with lots of other people online and you can declare a winner within 20 minutes. It’s very satisfying for you to become a champion in a very short amount of time.”

Pekka Rinne, NHL 20
Pekka Rinne, NHL 20 (Courtesy of EA Sports)

The way ONES Eliminator works is 81 players are entered into the tournament and rather than waiting for 80 players to enter one lobby, the user will quickly be matched up against two other competitors. The two losers are then reset to the first round while the winner advances to the second round, and so-on and so-forth. Winning four rounds in ONES Eliminator wins the tournament.

As Ho would mention, everybody involved in the matches played throughout this tournament have the same thing to win and the same thing to lose, which adds an extra layer of fun and competition to an already competitive and fun game-mode.

It’s also possible to play three-person squads with two random users or with a party of your friends in a similar concept. It takes three wins in a row to win this tournament as opposed to the four it takes in the ONES Eliminator.

There are exclusive vanity items that can only be won in this game mode which will incentivize the hardcore NHL gamers to play this mode time and time again.

While this may not be an exact replica of the format that battle royales usually employ, it’s a very interesting twist that will likely end up making this one of NHL 20’s most popular game modes from the beginning of its cycle to the very end.

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Adding in the ability to squad up with friends and exclusive vanity items should only create more of a buzz around it as fans aim to pile up some wins and earn bragging rights throughout the year.

NHL 20 ONES Available in Local Multiplayer

While NHL 20 looks to create an even more immersive online experience with this ONES Eliminator game mode, there’s something to enjoy for those who just want to play locally with their friends without having to worry about an internet connection.

The ONES mode was very popular in NHL 19. It’s part of the reason NHL 20 features this new Eliminator mode and it’s also the reason behind NHL 20 featuring ONES in a local multiplayer environment as opposed to the strict online capacity it was available in last year.

Sidney Crosby, NHL 20
Sidney Crosby, NHL 20 (Courtesy of EA Sports)

The world of gaming has moved away from the LAN (Local Area Network) setting to that of an almost-exclusive online setting over the last decade-plus. Though gamers enjoy playing together from the comforts of their own home, there’s still a bevy of situations that find friends together in the same room.

Sometimes, friends just want to hang out together and play a quick set of ONES to pass the time as opposed to playing a normal game of NHL 20. This new feature allows them to do so which is a big plus to EA for listening to their users and delivering an easy solution.