Bioware and Electronic Arts are betting big on their spin on the shared world shooter with Anthem. However, a new report Wednesday suggests the game’s 2018 release window was overly ambitious and may not hit the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC until 2019.
Anonymous sources at the developer told Kotaku the 2018 release for Anthem was “never realistic” given the amount of work left on the title. In addition to building out the content and features for the game, the developers must plan for a beta testing period, an EA Access launch, and develop a plan to support the game after launch.
Coincidentally, Electronic Arts recently posted a job listing for a Live Service Executive Producer. This is the individual who will lead the game’s Live team to support the game’s systems, features, and in-game economy. Destiny and Destiny 2 both have had a similar structure where the team of developers who built the game passes the baton on to the team supporting the game post-launch.
While Kotaku’s sources claim Anthem is unlikely to hit its 2018 release date, it also appears unlikely Electronic Arts will allow the game to slip further than the end of its 2019 fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2019. Investors and analysts have already baked in the game’s release later this year into fiscal expectations. Unsurprisingly, this report has caused the publisher’s stock price to dip 2.5 percent since it means Anthem will miss the all-important holiday shopping season launch.
Another interesting note is the focus BioWare is putting on Anthem during the final year of development. The studio reportedly has put all of its staff on the new game while skeleton crews support Star Wars: The Old Republic and the upcoming Dragon Age reboot.
It is not unusual for a studio to pull more resources over to support the development of a game during crunch time. However, Kotaku’s sources claim it feels as if there is extra pressure with Anthem given the failure of Mass Effect: Andromeda last year coupled with the huge microtransaction controversy with Star Wars: Battlefront 2 that is causing many studios to reexamine their approach for future games.
BioWare has not announced any microtransaction plans for Anthem yet. However, the latest rumors are the studio plans to make any in-game microtransactions be cosmetic only due to the Battlefront 2 backlash.
Electronic Arts have an earnings call for its 2018 third fiscal quarter scheduled for January 30. The publisher may officially announce a delay for Anthem then if one is indeed coming, or wait until its fiscal year end call later in April or May. BioWare has been very active in the community of late with early information on flight mechanics plus area size and social space. However, fans should not necessarily expect a delay announcement in a Reddit forum post.