EA Sports Ships NHL 2003Electronic Arts drops the puck, kicking off the 2002-03 NHL season with the release of NHL 2003 under the EA SPORTS brand. The number one selling interactive NHL video game franchise ships its latest in the series this week on the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, the Nintendo GameCube and PC-CD. NHL 2003 for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft ships October 8. NHL 2003 offers users new gameplay, stunning graphics, four different game modes and an edgy soundtrack for a heart pounding hockey experience. Among its new features, NHL 2003 introduces `Dynamic Dekes and the EA SPORTS(TM) Freestyle Control, giving the user total control over the player and hockey stick in order to deke past an opposing player or goalie. With the EA SPORTS Freestyle Control, the user can skate from side-to-side, play the puck off a teammates skates, fish the puck between his legs, or deke one-handed. Other enhancements include new enhanced goalie AI and goalie animations captured with state of the art motion capture technology with professional goalies. Also, new and improved puck collision detection makes the virtual puck move like an actual puck. When it comes in contact with players, boards, glass or ice, it will react accordingly. New game strategies enable NHL 2003 users to choose one of three different offensive strategies for each of their four lines. `On the Ice Sound takes authenticity to the next level including sounds of collisions, skates and sticks scraping the ice, the puck gliding along the ices frozen surface, crowd reaction, and players communicating things such as "dump it" and "man on!" Part of the recently announced EA SPORTS TRAX initiative, NHL 2003 includes music by artists such as Jimmy Eat World ("Sweetness"), Papa Roach ("She Loves Me Not"), Queens of the Stone Age ("No One Knows"), Gob ("Sick with You"), Default ("Deny"), Greenwheel ("Strong"), Dragpipe ("Simple Minded") and others. EA SPORTS TRAX musicians including members of Papa Roach, Greenwheel, Default, Gob and Treble Charger make their hockey debut in this years game as selectable hockey stars available through `Create Player on the main menu. NHL 2003 is an official game of the NHL® and NHLPA, and includes all 30 NHL franchises, 20 of the worlds top International teams, over 700 face-mapped models of active NHL players. Developed by EA Canada, NHL 2003 carries an ESRB rating of "E" for Everyone with descriptors of Comic Mischief and Violence, and a MSRP of US$39.99 for PC-CD, US$49.99 for the PlayStation 2, US$49.99 for the Xbox and US$49.99 for the Nintendo GameCube. Consumers may purchase the game directly by going online at www.eastore.ea.com or by calling toll free at 877/EA GAMES (877/324-2637).