Anthem is now slated for a 2019 release, according to a new report from Kotaku. The "Fall 2018" release date teased at E3 2017 was apparently "never realistic" according to sources. And that's despite the fact that apparently Bioware is all-in on its upcoming persistent world sci-fi title. So much so that even while BioWare devs are confident about the game, outside pressures continue to weigh on the devs.
According to the report, BioWare is now singularly focused on delivering Anthem, even as the release date supposedly slips in 2019. After the failure of Mass Effect: Andromeda, the pressure to make Anthem a hit is apparently higher than ever, to the point where the studio's future often feels tied to Anthem's success.
There are several elements causing anxiety within BioWare's ranks among the optimism. Particularly, BioWare is still dealing with the fallout from Mass Effect: Andromeda which saw the absorption of BioWare Montreal into EA Motive. Similarly, the departure of studio head Aaryn Flynn a month after Anthem was announced at E3 2017 also shook the team. Even as Mass Effect director Casey Hudson returned to the studio.
What's more, the fallout from Star Wars Battlefront 2's loot box controversy also rattled, not just EA, but the larger video game industry. Sources reportedly say that Anthem's developers are closely watching the anger in the Destiny 2 community regarding the game's "lack of content" and "Bungie's poor communication." It should be noted that Anthem is poised to be Destiny 2's direct competitor in the live-service gamespace.
"Although fans and pundits have suggested that Destiny 2's inability to capture hardcore players may leave an opening for Anthem to grab that crowd, some BioWare developers have expressed worry that their game will face its own growing pains...Most persistent action games have had to recover from rocky launches, including Destiny, Diablo III, and The Division. The question is: how much patience will EA have for Anthem?"
The backlash to the loot box debate has sown anxiety in Anthem developers as they worry that big YouTubers could demonize BioWare developers over monetization practices and make "EA seem like Disney villains."
One thing's clear however. Anthem is BioWare's big bet, and it'll be interesting to see what BioWare can pull out when the entire studio is focused solely on a single game. Even as Dragon Age 4 moves forward, it was revealed this morning that Dragon Age executive producer Evan Mark Darrah is also working on Anthem. This is despite the fact that he previously announced that he wasn't working on the game.
All eyes are on Anthem as sources say that BioWare's future could change depending on the game's performance.