NHL 21 Release Date, Next-Gen Console Updates Arrive Via EA

Over the past several months, there’s been plenty of attention on EA’s upcoming Madden 21 and FIFA 21 games. Both games were part of the EA Play event. In the past several weeks, EA also debuted UFC 4 details along with a beta for the game. Noticeably missing from all the EA events and promotions has been NHL 21. That changed on Monday, as we finally got an announcement that the game will happen, with the NHL 21 release date a bit later than usual.

EA reveals NHL 21 release date window

While EA didn’t provide an official NHL 21 release date, they let everyone know the game is going to be coming out later than expected. EA tweeted out a development update via their Twitter page with a link to EA’s NHL portion of the website. On that webpage, they note that the game will be released in October of this year. Traditionally, the NHL games arrive in September.

EA’s announcement cites a year full of “extraordinary circumstances” and indicates they needed “to make major adjustments in developing the game from home.” While they mention the game is basically done, they also need several weeks to polish it up the final product.

The NHL 20 video game officially arrived on Sept. 13, 2019. The NHL 19 game had a release date of Sept. 14, 2018. So the NHL 21 release date will be over two weeks later than that in 2020.

Will the game be on PS5 and Xbox Series X?

Another major detail revealed in EA’s announcement is with regards to the game’s availability for the next-generation consoles. Based on their statements, the game will be playable on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. However, that will be due to “forward compatibility” that the PS4 and Xbox One versions will have on the next-gen consoles.

Here’s what they specifically said in their EA update:

For NHL 21, we made the decision to focus on adding innovation and new features rather than the resource-heavy task of porting the game to new console technology. You’ll still be able to play NHL 21 on the next-gen consoles through forward compatibility but we are fully focused on launching NHL 21 on the Xbox One and PS4 and look forward to the opportunities the next-gen systems will bring in the future.

So unlike Madden 21 and FIFA 21 gamers won’t be able to get a free upgrade of NHL 21 for the PS5 and Xbox Series X. That’s because there won’t be any versions specifically made for the next-gen consoles. Instead, gamers will need to play the current-gen version of the game on the new systems.

The Sony PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Xbox Series X will arrive in time for the holidays later this year.

See our NHL 21 cover athlete predictions for an idea of who might be on the front of the new game when EA reveals it.

Visit our NHL news page to get more of the latest updates for the game.