According to the Wall Street Journal, Electronic Arts made the decision to delay Anthem because it didn’t want to compete with the unannounced Battlefield game arriving in October 2018. Developer DICE develops the latter series, as well as the Star Wars: Battlefront games, and it appears the two franchises will alternate releases each year from here on out.
“It’s not a delay,” Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen told the paper in a statement. “People are trying to create a story.”
Rumors of the delay (it’s totally a delay) began last week, with Kotaku reporting that nearly all of BioWare’s staff at both its Edmonton and Austin studios were currently working on Anthem, though a fourth Dragon Age game is also in development. Anthem development is apparently progressing well at this stage, but BioWare has more riding on it than it did with past releases.
Electronic Arts’ reputation was sullied considerably in 2017, first with the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda. The long-awaited role-playing epic received much lower reviews than any of its predecessors, with critics taking issue with the story, combat streamlining, animations, and convoluted user interface.
Star Wars: Battlefront II generated even more controversy in November with its implementation and eventual removal of microtransactions that gave those who paid extra a much easier progression system. The publisher recently acquired developer Respawn Entertainment, which is currently working on a Star Wars game and presumably Titanfall 3, and we can only hope its mistakes aren’t repeated with those projects.
Anthem has drawn comparisons to Bungie’s Destiny series, but its movement and gorgeous environments have the opportunity to make it stand out from the pack. Its combat system is more action-focused than previous BioWare games, though it does appear to still focus on world-building. When the game does launch, it will be on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.