BioWare Reportedly Has Everything Riding On 'Anthem,' Now A 2019 Release
Everyone in the industry has clamoring for info about Anthem, EA’s big-budget entry into the loot-shooter genre, and it’s taken another Jason Schreier deep dive to get some.
While his reporting for Kotaku does not reveal specific details about the story or gameplay, it focuses heavily on the development of the game itself. I highly suggest you read the article here, as I will not be bullet pointing the entire thing as that would be lame.
What I will highlight is the fact that two major things stand out in this report:
The game will be out in 2019, as 2018 was “never realistic,” but probably not after March 2019 when EA’s fiscal year ends
After a huge miss with Mass Effect Andromeda, BioWare has a lot riding on the success of Anthem, and it could dictate the entire future of the studio, one way or another
The first point, I mean, who didn’t predict that? It seemed absurd that BioWare would have Anthem ready by the end of this year, given both the scale and what they were able to show off last year. But uh, three extra months for a March release isn’t exactly a long runway either.
As for number two, I got a general sense of dread and unease reading this piece. ME: Andromeda’s relative failure shelved Mass Effect indefinitely. Support for SWTOR is probably going to be phased out. Dragon Age 4 has been rebooted and has had major personnel hop over to Anthem. The game really does seem like it’s going to be all or nothing for BioWare, and if it’s a bomb, despite their history, they may join a string of other developers in EA’s graveyard, as unthinkable as that notion may have been a few years ago.
Still, there seems to be some optimism that they’re figuring it out and getting past hurdles such as the Frostbite engine, which has been a thorn in every EA game’s side for ages now.
In the wake of this report, I’ve seen a lot of people wondering if EA has the patience for a game like Anthem. Whether they’ll give it enough time before launch (again, March 2019 will be here quickly), and enough time after, as all major games in this genre, Destiny, The Division and Diablo 3, took a good long while to find their footing and be the best versions of themselves. Years, for most. Will EA be able to wait that long if Anthem has a rocky start?
Everyone’s favorite topic, microtransactions, are only briefly mentioned here, as Schreier says he’s heard they may be cosmetic only, and yet that hasn’t stopped Destiny 2fans from lambasting that game’s developer for selling those in favor of making the items accessible in-game. Given EA’s history, how they handle the monetization of Anthem could very well dictate its entire launch, so hopefully they’re thinking long and hard about that.
I’ve been a big BioWare supporter over the years, and I love the loot shooter genre, so I hope and for now, believe, that Anthem will turn out well. But it’s still nerve-wracking to read a report like this and realize just how much is riding on this game.