For a brief golden age between 2004 and 2007, ice hockey fans across the globe could test their management credentials from the comfort of their own homes with the Eastside Hockey Manager series. The game, developed by management simulation specialist Sports Interactive and published by SEGA, appeared in three incarnations over the course of that period and developed a small, but enthusiastic global following.
The trouble was, in those days before mass digital distribution, reaching that small, but dedicated audience proved increasingly difficult and uneconomic so, reluctantly, SEGA and SI shelved the game in January 2007.
However, throughout the intervening years EHM has been kept alive by a dedicated section of the SI crew and now, thanks to the emergence of Steam’s Early Access programme, the game that was loved by so many hockey fans is making a dramatic return.
Eastside Hockey Manager: Early Access offers fans the most realistic, in-depth and immersive simulation of hockey management available, giving them the chance to manage club or country in any one of the world’s top hockey-playing nations.
EHM: EA allows you to take full control of your roster – you decide who to sign, who to trade and who to draft. You assemble the perfect coaching team and then, with everything in place, you can choose to either employ a head coach to guide your team from behind the bench, or take control of the coaching duties yourself. Whichever you choose, you’ll follow the action ‘live’ through the ultra-realistic ‘top down’ 2D match engine.
You’ve always known that you have what it takes to lead your franchise to hockey glory, haven’t you? Now, thanks to the re-emergence of Eastside Hockey Manager you have the chance to prove it all over again.
Eastside Hockey Manager: Early Access will be available from 6:00pm (GMT) today through Steam Early Access.
Eastside Hockey Manager: Early Access – Key Features
- 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.
- Dynamic 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
The intuitive tutorial system takes users through the early stages, there’s an option to hide all visible attributes in the game for added challenge, a nation overview screen to view all the top leagues, clubs and players for each country, player/non-player profiles, option to start the game with a fantasy draft, up-to-date ‘all-star’ game formats with skills competitions and many, many other features.