One of the most exciting game announcements from E3 2017, EA and Bioware’s Anthem, may be coming later than originally planned, according to a report by Jason Schreier of Kotaku.
The looter-shooter was originally planned for release in fall 2018, but a source close to the game’s development says that window was “never realistic,” according to Schreier. An exact date for the game is still up in the air, but the team is said to be aiming for early 2019 now.
EA’s 2019 fiscal year comes to an end in March of 2019, which is the latest that the game will be allowed to be delayed to, according to Schreier. It’s quite clear that Anthem is hugely important to the studio moving forward, and the developers want to get it right.
Bioware is basically a “single-game studio” now, Schreier added. All of its focus is shifting to Anthem, with small teams inside of the company focusing on the next Dragon Age title. The future of Bioware is now “tied’ to Anthem, according to his sources.
EA can ill-afford another Star Wars: Battlefront II situation, where gamers revolted en masse due to the game’s loot box system and pay-to-win schemes. Bioware itself is coming off of a disappointing title in Mass Effect: Andromeda, which had a cold reception from fans and critics alike and has led to the series being put on the backburner indefinitely. For both EA and Bioware, Anthem needs to be a hit.
With the recent well-documented struggles of Destiny 2, there’s definitely a hole in the looter-shooter genre right now, and it’s something that Anthem could take a hold of if the game is received well. But the development of the game has been somewhat turbulent, according to Schreier.
He says that development has improved over the last year, but issues with the Frostbite engine have made making the title quite difficult. Couple that with a leadership shake-up last summer as studio head Aaryn Flynn was replaced by studio alumnus Casey Hudson, and it creates for something of a turbulent situation behind the scenes.
The hype for Anthem is palpable, but it seems like it’s deserving of a “wait-and-see” approach while the game is still seemingly at least a year away. For the hard-working people at Bioware, the pressure mounts to deliver a smash hit for both the studio and its publisher at EA.