BioWare’s Anthem is being pushed back to early 2019 as the studio now feels this game is a make-or-break situation for them. BioWare is a studio known for producing fan-favorite and critically-acclaimed titles such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age, among others. While their success has allowed them to expand over the years, the quality of their games has arguably declined as a result. And so, they have one more chance to redeem themselves before potentially shutting down permanently.
After indefinitely shelving Mass Effect, BioWare began working on a new Dragon Age title as well as a brand-new multiplayer IP: Anthem. EA first revealed the title at E3 2017, and the first batch of gameplay footage – captured on an Xbox One X – was showcased during Microsoft’s pre-E3 briefing. Anthem is an ambitious, action-RPG title that emphasizes cooperative multiplayer. In the game, players take control of avatars, known as Freelancers, who wear customizable exosuits called Javelins, which enable them to explore the surrounding environment. Anthem is the studio’s first new IP since Dragon Age: Origins in 2009. And to make sure it’s the best it can possibly be, they’ve lured KOTOR writer Drew Karpyshyn out of retirement to write the story. But it may just be BioWare’s final game.
A new report from Kotaku indicates that Anthem is being delayed to early 2019. One of their sources says the planned late 2018 release frame was unrealistic from the start. Considering the release dates for BioWare’s previous games, a March 2019 release is the most likely option. In fact, the same report says that EA is unlikely to allow the studio to delay the game beyond that frame (which also marks the end of their fiscal year).
Fans may find it ridiculous that a studio as large and prominent as BioWare could be closed down, but they needn’t look too far back to see that studios, no matter how big, can cease operations at any moment. A recent case of this happening was when EA closed Visceral Games in October 2017. The developer, which was primarily known for producing the Dead Space series, was working on a linear, story-driven Star Wars game that is now being reworked into something akin to Star Wars Battlefront (i.e. live service). If BioWare doesn’t knock Anthem out of the park, they may suffer the same fate as Visceral and several other prominent game developers.
It’s worth noting that EA’s supposed refusal to allow BioWare to delay Mass Effect: Andromeda beyond March 2017 is what resulted in the game being delivered in poor shape. So, EA potentially not allowing BioWare to delay Anthem beyond March 2019 may also result in the same fate. Hopefully, though, it turns out alright.
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