Looking out my window today at the two feet of snow that is falling on top of the one foot of snow that was already there, there is no question that it's winter. With the Olympics set to open on Friday night in Vancouver (that's in Canada, by the way), there are probably quite a few people out there with winter sports on the brain. Apparently, game developer NaturalMotion has been thinking about the season, as a report on superannuation this morning has let us know that the company has filed a trademark for a game called IceBreaker Hockey.
If NaturalMotion doesn't sound familiar, it's likely you have heard of their physics engine Euphoria. Euphoria is the dynamic human modelling software which debuted in Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto IV, and has since been seen in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and will be utilized in Red Dead Redemption, as well as NaturalMotion's debut football game BackBreaker. It's probably safe to assume that, much like BackBreaker, IceBreaker Hockey will incorporate Euphoria to create a hockey experience where every hit, check, and punch will be rendered with true, realtime physics. However I will point out that since this is just the report of a trademark filing, there is no real substantive information about what the game will look like, how it will play, what systems it will be coming to, or any kind of release window.
So, as with most of these trademark stories, it's time for the speculation to begin. First of all, I think that the game's name tells us that NaturalMotion did not secure the rights to use NHL players, teams, arenas, etc. Secondly, if we can use the model of BackBreaker as a tool for predicting what will happen with IceBreaker, we may well see a scaled-down iPhone/iPad version of the game before it comes to the current gen consoles. Only time will tell.