NHL 19 Creative Director Leaves Door Open for Return of Online Franchise

NHL 19 Creative Director Leaves Door Open for Return of Online Franchise

Could GM Connected eventually make a return? NHL is at least hearing the requests.

Since vanishing at the beginning of the generation, GM Connected has been an oft-requested feature from fans. The NHL development team has mostly downplayed the possibility of online franchise returning to the series, but creative director William Ho is nevertheless leaving the door open for its eventual return.

In an interview published earlier today on USgamer, Ho said that the team has heard "over and over" from fans that they want the feature back. "I think any time that we hear over and over that fans want a particular feature or mode like GM Connected, we never ignore it, right? We always weigh it against what we have to achieve for a particular year for the audience that we want."

First introduced back in NHL 13, GM Connected allows players to match up against one another in a league setting, complete with free agency and a draft. GM Connected was slow and somewhat broken, but it nevertheless garnered a loyal audience. Sadly, it never made the leap to the Xbox One and PS4, and it remains missing to this day.

The NHL team is at least open to bringing the mode back, but Ho says that there's work to do before that can happen. "I do think that there are a lot of little bits and pieces and atomic parts to something like GM Connected that we have to align if we're going to do it properly."

If GM Connected does make a comeback, it will partly reverse the recent trend of sports sims dropping online league functionality. At present, NBA 2K and Madden are the only sports sims with online franchise modes, with MLB The Show having dropped the feature earlier this year.

Right now NHL is focused on attracting casual players via modes like World of Chel and Ones, which are being introduced in NHL 19. If NHL does return to GM Connected, don't expect it to happen next year, as it sounds like the team needs to lay the groundwork first.

NHL 19 is set to launch September 14 on Xbox One and PS4. The open beta is now available.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Kat Bailey

Editor in Chief

Kat Bailey is a former freelance writer and contributor to publications including 1UP, IGN, GameSpot, GamesRadar, and EGM. Her fondest memories as a journalist are at GamePro, where she hosted RolePlayer's Realm and had legal access to the term "Protip." She is USgamer's resident mecha enthusiast, Pokemon Master, and Minnesota Vikings nut (skol).

Read this next

How the Frostbite Engine Became a Nightmare for EA in General, and BioWare in Particular

DICE's engine finds a rough reception at other EA studios.

NHL 19 Review

EA's hockey sim goes casual with World of Chel, but the gameplay is where it shines this year.

NHL 19 Open Beta Details Revealed, Now Live on PS4 and Xbox One

Download the NHL 19 beta and start shredding the ice.

NHL 19 is Aggressively Doubling Down on Attracting Casual Fans to the Series

INTERVIEW | We talk to the developers about NHL's aggressive pursuit of casual fans, the Winter Classic, GM Connected, and more.

More News

Blizzard Reduces Suspension of Hearthstone Player and Casters Following Community Outcry

Both Blitzchung and the two commentators have had their suspension halved.

Blizzard Gives Gay WoW Classic Guild its Name Back, But Makes No Guarantees That It Won't Change Again

On top of the ongoing Hearthstone controversy, WoW Classic guild "GAY BOYS" is bringing attention to Blizzard meddling with their name.

More on PlayStation 4

A New Fortnite Battle Royale Map May Have Been Leaked on the App Store

Fortnite's map has changed a lot over its 10 seasons. Is it about to be replaced?

Ghost Recon Breakpoint is Still Lacking the One Thing Fans Truly Want

Hardcore fans want Breakpoint to be a harder survival experience.

The Witcher 3 Skellige Gwent Cards - Where to Find the Best Gwent Cards for the Skellige Faction

Here's where you can find the best Skellige Gwent faction cards in The Witcher 3.

The Witcher 3 Bestiary List - Every Monster Weakness

Everything you need to know about monster weaknesses and more in The Witcher 3.

The Witcher 3 Mutations - How to Get and Use Mutations

Here's how to unlock Mutations and use them correctly in The Witcher 3.

The Witcher 3 Sign Magic - How to Cast Signs and Use Magic

Here's how to use Signs to cast magical spells in The Witcher 3.

More Sports Games

FIFA 20 Best Players For Career Mode and Ultimate Team - ST, CB, RB, LB, CM, LW, RW, GK

We’ve broken down FIFA 20's top player to show the best defenders, goalkeepers, midfielders, and strikers in the game.

FIFA Esports Site Data Breach Leaks Players' Personal Info [Update]

If you signed up to compete in the FIFA 20 Global Series, you might want to turn on 2FA.

FIFA 20 Best Young Players: Hidden Gems and Wonderkids With High Potential

Here’s a list of the players that have the most to gain in overall rating.