Midway Debuts NHL Hitz ProMIDWAY SPORTS™ REINVENTS TOP HOCKEY FRANCHISE WITH DEBUT OF NHL HITZ PRO New NHL Hitz Pro Goes Online with Authentic 5-on-5 Gameplay and Cover Athlete Nicklas Lidstrom, Star Defenseman of the Detroit Red Wings LOS ANGELES - May 14, 2003 (E3 Booth #800, South Hall) - Midway Sports™, the sports brand of leading software industry publisher and developer Midway Games Inc. (NYSE: MWY), announced that it has refocused its league-licensed sports products to appeal to a broader sports gaming audience. NHL Hitz Pro, the reinvented version of the NHL Hitz franchise, is in development and scheduled to ship in fall 2003 for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® and Nintendo GameCube™. Nationwide focus testing of sports videogamers produced a clear message: gamers applaud Midway Sports trademark arcade-style gameplay and intense action but also want to experience their favorite teams, players, and stadiums in an authentic professional sports context. Midway Sports answered the call by taking NHL Hitz in a new direction. Officially licensed by the NHL and the NHLPA and featuring real NHL teams and athletes, NHL Hitz Pro retains the well-known Midway Sports "edge," but with a new emphasis on realistic NHL features such as 5-on-5 gameplay, league rules and penalties, and for the first time, live online head-to-head gameplay on PlayStation 2. "NHL Hitz Pro combines the best of both worlds, delivering a combination of Hitz signature extreme-style hockey gameplay but with added realism hockey fans will respect," said Helene Sheeler, vice president of marketing, Midway. NHL Hitz Pro includes authentic 23-man player rosters that bring together pro players and team lines with real offensive and defensive formations in precise correlation with each NHL team. Also featured in NHL Hitz Pro is an improved AI that is so authentic, gamers will think they are playing with the NHL pros. New goalie animations, logic and behavior are realistically captured and feature everything from stacking the pads to smothering loose pucks to diving headfirst across the crease and saving the game. Adding to the fast pace and excitement, NHL Hitz Pro introduces context-sensitive plays, which give players the ability to score using authentic wraparound shots and set a new benchmark for hockey games. Players will feel the tension and strain of NHL action with a new Player Fatigue System that causes them to tire out after experiencing tough checks. Playing in authentic venues, players will feel like they are really on the ice as the crowd cheers and jeers at missed penalties, rocket goals and shots that ring off the iron. Additionally, an upgraded Franchise Mode allows players to build a Dynasty and manage every aspect of the team; retooled Hockey School Mode teaches players basic--as well as more advanced--aspects of NHL Hitz Pro. In the Pick Up-and-Play Mode, users can visit locations where they first dreamed of playing in the NHL, such as the local pond or roller hockey rink. In addition, Midway Sports has signed an exclusive deal with Nicklas Lidstrom, star defenseman of the Detroit Red Wings . Lidstrom appears on the packaging and cover art for the game and also brings his big hits to NHL Hitz Pros DVD section. Viewed as one of the top defensemen in the NHL , Lidstrom is a four-time finalist and recipient of the coveted Norris Trophy and member of the 2003 Western Conference All-Star team, having led all players in fan votes. NHL Hitz Pro Key Features:
New Online Play - Head-to-head gameplay for PlayStation 2. New 5-on-5 Gameplay - Just the way hockey is played in the NHL , 5-on-5. Every team, every player, and every position. Full NHL Penalties and Violations - From offsides and two-line passing to interference and cross- checking, authentic NHL penalties will get players time in the "sin bin" in NHL Hitz Pro. 23-Man Player Rosters -100% legitimate NHL rosters. All players are available and all authentic team lines - from the scoring to the checking lines - are ready to hit the ice. Real Stadiums -NHL arenas are accurately recreated in NHL Hitz Pro. Real Offensive and Defensive Team Formations - Every teams offensive and defensive scheme in NHL Hitz Pro is in precise correlation with the actual team in the NHL . Player Fatigue System - Just as in a real NHL hockey game, when players dish out the checks or as the player gets checked to the ice, they become more tired. Line Changes - See the line becoming tired or spot a mismatch in the defensive team and switch up the line to have the freshest players on the ice. Legitimate Stick Handling - Just like the real players in the NHL , glide and move the puck back and forth like a yo-yo near the net through the use of the analog stick. NHL Hitz Pro offers the most realistic stick and puck handling of any hockey game to date. Realistic Crowd Reactions - For the first time, a sports videogame will accurately recreate a realistic crowd and player emotion based on the flow of the game. You might get a "ho-hum" reaction from the crowd and your teammates by scoring a goal to go up 8-0 against your opponent, but the crowd will flip out and your teammates will rush you when you score the game-winning goal in overtime. New Commentary -Tim Kitzrow and Harry Tienowitz will be commentating for Midway Sports to give players their take on the game as well as the lowdown on favorite NHL players. The commentators will say what youre thinking without the sugar coating. Upgraded Franchise Mode - The GM Mode option lets you build a Dynasty and manage every aspect of your team. Build your team from a bunch of rookies into an NHL-caliber franchise. Unlock team and hero equipment upgrades, which improve your teams attributes. The ultimate goal: entry into the National Hockey League. Retooled Hockey School Mode - NHL Hitz Pro features an all-new and restructured Hockey School where the game player is taught and the skills tested. Your instructor will introduce an NHL All-Star to tell you a little more about what is important in hockey, as well as provide an NHL Hitz Pro game tip. Score from Anywhere on the Ice - NHL Hitz Pro now has multiple new ways to score, new context-sensitive plays like wraparounds, deflections and flip passes from behind the net. Advanced Options - With different tunable settings and sliders, you can completely customize your gaming experience, from game speed right down to puck friction. Enhanced Fantasy Draft - Choose your favorite team and begin your NHL season from the absolute beginning, when all players become free game and are eligible for the draft. Feel like an NHL owner and all the pressures that come when trying to construct a team from scratch. Improved AI - Smarter players, realistic offensive and defensive behavior. NHL Hitz Pro delivers such realistic AI, youll think youre really playing one of your friends. Improved Goalie Animations - NHL Hitz Pro has gone to great lengths to ensure the best and most realistic goalie animations ever. From stacking the pads to smothering loose pucks and diving headfirst across the crease, if a goalie can make the impossible save in the NHL , he can make it in NHL Hitz Pro. Improved Goalie Logic and Behavior - From slapping the ice with five seconds left in a power play, to sprinting to the bench for the sixth attacker with one minute left in the game to give your team the one-man advantage. Goalies in NHL Hitz Pro behave and react like the real thing in the NHL . Officially Licensed Equipment - Through Franchise Mode, players will be able to gain equipment to better suit their players. There will be five levels of equipment, including many of the biggest brands in hockey: The Hockey Company, Bauer Hockey, Itech and Easton. New Motion Capture Animations - From new checks, slapshots and goalie animations, NHL Hitz Pro improves on more than 1,500 motion-captured animations in the game.