Xbox to hit the ice with NHL Rivals 2004New Hockey Title Equipped with Xbox Live to Energize the Category Historic hockey rivals will face-off this week as the quest for the coveted Stanley Cup begins. With intense NHL Playoff battles opening throughout the league, Microsoft Game Studios announced today its first hockey title for the Xbox video game system, "NHL RivalsTM 2004." The game is scheduled to "go top shelf" in stores this fall. "NHL Rivals 2004" will have all the modes of play that hockey fans want including single game, playoff mode, season mode and online play. In addition, "NHL Rivals 2004" will showcase a variety of features including: An advanced stick-placement system with unique moves and countermoves to make the face-off as important in the game as it is in the NHL. An in-depth Tournament Mode allowing gamers to set up an 8, 10, 12, or 16 team round-robin knockout tournament. A challenging Rivalry Mode that instantly puts gamers into a grudge match between historic rival teams like the Habs vs. Leafs. Unique player roles including Snipers, Enforcers and Agitators offer gamers a chance to experience different aspects of the NHL game. Each player will have special moves indicative of their role on the ice. "The popularity of NHL hockey is based on the intense rivalries that teams and fans have with each other," said Kevin Browne, sports studio manager at Microsoft Game Studios. "NHL Rivals 2004 has captured the thrill and excitement of those rivalries. Gamers will be able to experience their own hockey rivalries through intense, competitive play, whether that be in single-player mode or with others around the world via Xbox Live." Hockey fans will be able to settle old grudge matches and create new rivalries online using Xbox Live. Gamers will be able to track individual and team stats, leader boards and win/loss records as well as support cooperative, team, ranked and non-ranked play. With Xbox Live, gamers will be able to download quarterly roster updates, All-Star game rosters and updated player ratings. "NHL Rivals 2004" is scheduled to hit store shelves in the Fall and will be Xbox Live enabled.