EA and BioWare's Anthem has had no shortage of issues since its release in mid-February of this year. What was easily one of the most heavily-anticipated launches of 2019 quickly spiraled into one of the most loathed, with a combination of hardware and programming problems that sunk any excitement for the title within its debut month. Since then, the game has been struggling to gain any traction, with a slew of updates released that put out some fires but started others, leaving the impression that there's no real way to fix a project in Anthem that still has glimmers of promise and wonder mired in the bogs of disappointing execution.
After remaining relatively quiet about the game for its most recent month, however, EA and BioWare provided an update that said they were still hard at work salvaging Anthem, with the planned Cataclysm content being put on indefinite hold until its quality is satisfactory to the fans who have stuck around. While those kinds of promises have been made by Anthem's team before, the fact that this statement was more realistic—it didn't offer a specific time window—and acknowledged the game's dire state lent it a certain amount of weight. Unfortunately, whatever bridge that may have been slowly built by that newfound transparent communication might be ash by the time E3 2019 rolls around, as it appears EA is prepared to largely ignore Anthem during its EA Play conference on June 9.
When EA announced its livestream playlist for EA Play this year, it contained most of the usual suspects, with a heavy focus on the new Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order game that will likely carry the company's 2019. While the ailing Apex Legends will also get a spot, however, there's no time slot afforded to Anthem. While that's not necessarily a death knell for the game's presence at EA Play, it is extremely concerning. Anthem is in the midst of what will inevitably become its most important change ever in the introduction of the Cataclysm event, something that was promised as a huge selling point for the game well before it ever launched. Delays have hurt it already, but enthusiasm for such an important part of Anthem gameplay and lore hasn't dulled that much. It's already several months late, but fans are still optimistic it will get done before the summer—except, if that were the case, it would definitely be in a state to be a feature of EA Play's livestream, no?
EA and BioWare have promised commitment to Anthem, and that's not reflected in the companies' actions so far. It's especially strange because EA has been up front about how it feels about Anthem—during a shareholders meeting earlier this year, the company acknowledged that Anthem was a disappointment by virtually all metrics, but that it felt it could also improve it as a live service title over time. Fans will be expecting some kind of acknowledgement of what was supposed to be a AAA element of EA's portfolio for years to come, and basically ignoring it exists during its livestream is a poor way of acknowledging those who have stuck with it and those who might be tempted back if the right moves are made.
By all accounts, it appears that Anthem will be present at EA Play—it was announced earlier this year as part of the games lineup—just not as a featured livestream element. That seems like an indicator of how EA views the title and, if that's true, it's problematic for anyone expecting the company to actually stick with the game. With key members of BioWare already gearing up for Dragon Age 4, it's looking increasingly more likely that Anthem's legacy will be that it was so bad at launch it caused EA to reconsider how they handle game releases in the future.