Update January 30, 2018: Following EA’s latest earnings call, Anthem has indeed been delayed to Q1 2019 (via IGN). But don’t call it a delay, apparently. Original story follows.
If true, you can file this under “u” for “unsurprising.” According to a report (via GameIndustry.biz) sources from within EA’s BioWare studio have claimed that Anthem has been pushed back to 2019, after being announced as a fall 2018 title.
The same report claims that BioWare is feeling intense pressure due to events revolving around Mass Effect Andromeda and Star Wars Battlefront II, both of which were notorious for disappointment.
Mass Effect Andromeda launched in a semi-playable state owing to various bugs viciously impacting its gameplay and storytelling. Mass Effect is a legendary series, known for its branching narrative, impactful story decisions, and rich sci-fi worlds. While Andromeda did have really great combat mechanics, the story delivery was underwhelming, and the overall quality felt like a step backward when compared to previous efforts. The studio handling Andromeda was eventually shut down, and folded into other EA studios.
And of course, EA hit the negative headlines again with Star Wars Battlefront II due to its aggressive and predatory loot crate mechanics that rewarded richer players with more power in competitive multiplayer modes. The backlash led to the removal of the crates, but the controversy has had a chilling effect on the whole notion of loot crates in games, which has shone a spotlight on Anthem.
At least a couple of sources are reported to have expressed concern about how YouTubers and other gaming personalities have cast EA as a “villain” due to the publisher’s handling of Battlefront II, and that it heaps extra pressure on the team. Some sources have concerns BioWare could even be restructured in its entirety if Anthem fails, too.
Anthem undoubtedly has a huge cross hairs on it after EA’s behavior, but if it leads to a better game, so be it. EA has rightfully earned itself a pile of bad will throughout 2017, and if it even vaguely wants to win back any trust, or even cares, they will ensure Anthem launches in a truly great, pro-consumer state. Otherwise, BioWare will probably be the next studio on EA’s chopping block, following Visceral.
As with most rumors, take it with a pinch of salt, but this one in particular is probably true. Hopefully, EA will confirm one way or the other soon.