If the Mighty Ducks trilogy taught me nothing else growing up, it’s that ice hockey movies love a good comeback story. As far as videogame comebacks go, Eastside Hockey Manager [official site] has a similar story to tell: it was a boxed retail game in 2004 and 2006, went on indefinite hiatus thereafter, and then came out of early retirement and onto Steam’s Early Access initiative in March of this year. Only now has it made its way back to centre ice and launched as a full release.
The makers of Eastside Hockey Manager, Sports Interactive, are also the guys behind Football Manager, thus you can expect a similarly realistic, stat-heavy simulation of the dugout, the dressing room and the boardroom as you take control of either club or country in search of silverware. If digging deep into the management of squads, tactics, systems and formations is your thing, then EHM might be for you. I get this in relation to football, but how this relates to the idiosyncrasies of ice hockey? You’re probably best asking native Canadian Emily.
To mark its full release, Eastside Hockey Manager has been treated to a host of new and updated features such as new leagues and cup competitions, Steam Workshop integration and a multiplayer option that allows up to 30 players to compete on the rink. These patch notes detailed what changed in the final update taking it out of Early Access.
In reference to the journey so far, Sports Interactive studio director Miles Jacobson said:
With Eastside having been in hiatus for such a long time, Steam’s Early Access programme provided exactly the platform we needed to get it up and running again and test it out on a global audience. Now, with nine months of invaluable user feedback and extra development time under our belts we’re ready to launch a game that we’re really very proud of. We hope the world’s hockey fans like it as much as we do.
Eastside Hockey Manager is on Steam for £14.99.