NEWS - Monday, September 22, 2003

Midway Sports Gets Big Assist

New NHL(R) Hitz(R) Pro, Which Offers Online Play and Authentic 5-on-5 Gameplay, to Feature Star Defenseman and Legendary Coach Midway Sports(TM), the sports brand of leading software industry publisher and developer Midway Games Inc., announced today that NHL(R) Hitz(R) Pro will feature cover athlete Nicklas Lidstrom, star defenseman of the Detroit Red Wings(R), as well as coaching legend Scotty Bowman. NHL(R) Hitz Pro, the reinvented version of the successful NHL(R) Hitz videogame franchise, is in development and scheduled to ship September 25, 2003 for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(R) video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube(TM). Lidstrom consults on the game as well as appears on the packaging and cover art for NHL(R) Hitz Pro while bringing his big hits to the game’s DVD section. The 33-year-old Swede is viewed as one of the top defensemen in the NHL(R). He is a four-time finalist and recipient of the coveted Norris Trophy and most recently, a member of the 2003 Western Conference All-Star team. Bowman, the winningest coach in NHL(R) history, retired in 2002 following his ninth championship season. Today the Detroit Red Wings(R) continue to benefit from his consulting expertise. Midway’s NHL(R) Hitz Pro also tapped into Bowman’s vast knowledge for insight on audio game tips in the Hockey School Mode. "We are naturally ecstatic to have two Stanley Cup veterans in Lidstrom and Bowman," said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway. "Their expertise helped tremendously in delivering the added realism that will be the staple of the reinvented NHL(R) Hitz Pro." Officially licensed by the NHL(R) and the NHLPA and featuring real NHL(R) teams and athletes, NHL(R) Hitz Pro retains the well-known Midway Sports "edge," but with a new emphasis on realistic NHL(R) features such as 5-on-5 gameplay, league penalties and violations, and live online gameplay for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system. The head-to-head online play in NHL(R) Hitz Pro features online player rankings and tournaments. NHL(R) Hitz Pro also includes 100 percent NHL(R) legitimate, 23-man player rosters that bring together pro players and authentic team lines with real offensive and defensive team formations in precise correlation with each NHL(R) team. Additionally, new gameplay flexibility is built into NHL(R) Hitz Pro to give gamers more control in order to experience hockey the way they like it. Gamers can dial-in the exact gameplay that they enjoy with the new "slider" capabilities. With just a few quick adjustments in the game set-up menu, gamers can change the rules of the game, the speed of the players on the ice and the frequency of checks and fights can be increased or decreased. NHL(R) Hitz Pro includes an improved AI so authentic that gamers will think they are playing with the NHL(R) pros. Goalie animations feature logic and behavior that realistically capture and feature everything from stick saves to stoning a knee-buckling 5-hole shot to slapping the ice with five seconds left in a power play. Gamers also have the ability to score from anywhere on the ice and will feel the tension and strain of NHL(R) action with a new hit-based Player Fatigue System that causes them to tire out after experiencing tough checks. Playing on accurately diagrammed rinks, players will get cheers and jeers from the realistic crowd that reacts to the action on the ice. Additionally, an upgraded Franchise Mode allows players to build a Dynasty and lead their team into the NHL; a re-tooled Hockey School Mode teaches and tests gamers’ hockey skills; and a Multiplayer Tournament Mode allows a virtually unlimited number of online gamers to challenge each other for dominance in multiple tournament tiers.


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