Electronic Arts has finally confirmed the worst kept secret in the world of video games: BioWare’s Anthem has officially been delayed into early 2019.
Previous rumors had pointed to the game being scheduled to release in March of 2019 to pad Electronic Arts’ fiscal year, but EA was coy to confirm the news after some BioWare employees let the news slip to some gaming media (under anonymity of course).
Well, Wall Street Journal reporter Sarah E. Needleman confirmed the news after a conference call, and did so via a tweet.
— Sarah E. Needleman (@saraheneedleman) January 30, 2018
If you’re unable to read the tweet, the note basically states…
“Electronic Arts says it is now planning to release “Anthem”, an online multiplayer action game from its BioWare studio, in early 2019 instead of fall 2018 as originally planned. The company denies a report in videogame site Kotaku earlier this month claiming the change is due to development being behind schedule. Instead, EA is planning to release a new Battlefield game in October and it determined that Anthem, the new intellectual property, would get more attention if [it] came out in a quieter quarter.
‘It’s not a delay,’ EA’s finance chief Blake Jorgensen tells the WSJ. ‘People are trying to create a story.’”
Well, if it was originally intended to launch in fall of 2018 and now it’s pushed back to March, 2019… it is a delay.
What’s interesting is that EA is denying Kotaku’s report, which means either Kotaku published fake news or Electronic Arts is lying. Which one is it?
The report originally indicated that things were drastically behind schedule and that the team was still having a hard time getting a handle on the Frostbite, which only seems to be properly understood by Swedish engineers. They also mentioned that the core game was still trying to come together and that there was no way they could meet the fall deadline.
BioWare also recently sent out notice that they’re hiring for a number of critical development positions, indicating that the crunch is real.
Anyway, the real story here is that EA has confirmed the news after the story originally broke, which seems to further confirm what the developers had mentioned in the original rumor story. If that’s true then the game really is in messy situation that may require more than four additional months of development time.
To make matters worse is that the studio was visited by Anita Sarkeesian, who is known for stirring up controversy wherever she goes.
It’s the equivalent of a divorce lawyer showing up after you took that trip to Bangkok, Thailand and brought back a case of seafood you usually don’t share with your wife.
Just knowing that Sarkeesian visited BioWare during the principal development cycle of Anthem led a lot of gamers to believe that she was there to inject more third-wave feminism into the ears of the writers and developers to influence the game in a negative way.
EA will likely need to spend the next year trying to find ways to re-brand and re-introduce gamers to Anthem to help them forget about BioWare’s connection to Sarkeesian, and memories of the SJW-laden Mass Effect: Andromeda from creeping back into the conversation.