Reports last week of a delay to BioWare’s Anthem came about Tuesday following Electronic Arts sharing results from its 2018 fiscal third quarter. However, the publisher states that the push to the first quarter of 2019 is out of a desire to launch the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, And PC multiplayer sci-fi shooter in a less crowded launch window.
As previously covered, anonymous sources at BioWare claimed Anthem‘s 2018 release was never realistic given the amount of work left to do to complete the title. Additionally, the studio is said to be pulling in resources from other games like Star Wars: The Old Republic and a still-to-be-revealed Dragon Age.
Electronic Arts finance chief Blake Jorgensen denied the report in response while still admitting Anthem will not be released until the first quarter of 2019.
“It’s not a delay. People are trying to create a story,” Jorgensen told the Wall Street Journal (via Twitter).
Jorgensen reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that the non-delay is due to the release of a new Battlefield game scheduled for October. Releasing Anthem in February or March 2019 would give the game “more attention” during a “quieter quarter.”
— Sarah E. Needleman (@saraheneedleman) January 30, 2018
If that is EA’s motivation for waiting to release Anthem until next year, it is likely the correct choice. The publisher released Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1 within a week of each other in October 2016. The result of both first-person shooters being released at nearly the exact same time combined with Activision’s release of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare immediately afterward meant something had to give.
That something was disappointing sales of Titanfall 2 even though it received near-universal praise for its single-player campaign and multiplayer modes. Electronic Arts forecasted 9 to 10 million units sold for the game but its first week’s sales were behind sales for Titanfall 1. The publisher later admitted that the game underperformed, and it appears the company learned its lesson.
If nothing else, Anthem will earn some extra time for BioWare to polish and refine the gameplay and live services for launch. The game’s developers have been very active in the Anthem Reddit community providing some hints and insights on what gamers can expect such as flight mechanics, area size, and social space.