EA's inclusion of a female alternative in NHL 12's character creation mode may sound trivial on paper, but for hockey fans like 14-year-old Lexi Peters, it's one of the most meaningful features in the entire series. And for good reason; it was her idea. Discouraged by her inability to create a woman player that didn't look like a man in a wig in past NHL versions, Peters successfully lobbied EA to add a gender option to its next NHL iteration, and was rewarded for her efforts with a starring role as the game's female default model.
Recounting her early back and forth with EA brass in a Globe and Mail interview, Peters recalled sending a typewritten letter to the studio imploring developers to add the ability to create women players to its upcoming NHL iteration, writing, “It is unfair to women and girl hockey players around the world, many of them who play and enjoy your game. I have created a character of myself, except I have to be represented by a male and that’s not fun.”
Initially, EA's response was a no, citing legal issues with the NHL. However, Peters' letter quickly found its way to NHL 12's lead producer David Littman, who took up the charge on Peters' behalf and soon acquired the resources and permission to make her request a reality.
“Lexi’s letter was a wake-up call,” admitted Littman to the Canadian news outlet, adding, “Here’s a growing audience playing our NHL game and we hadn’t done anything to capture them.”
In addition to taking her recommendation to heart, EA also asked Peters if they could use her likeness as the default female character model. Naturally, she said yes, recalling, “I was so excited,. My dad called my grandpa immediately, who called my Uncle Chris, like a chain reaction.”
Peters isn't the only female to appear in EA's NHL series. For instance, in NHL 09, Sabrina Ladha won the opportunity to be included as a goalie after her parents placed the top bid for an EA sponsored auction at The Gift of Time Gala charity event. Her addition – specifically, her inflated stats – irked a number of owners who felt it undermined the series fidelity. Who know if the same will be said of NHL 12's female options, but if anything it shows EA has a soft spot for passionate fans.
Sep 12, 2011