After a few poorly-received titles and one straight-up bomb in Mass Effect: Andromeda, BioWare needs a win. But that win just got a little bit further out, as the RPG studio’s next big title has been delayed. According to sources speaking to Kotaku, BioWare’s Anthem has been pushed out into 2019, while the next Dragon Age title is in the works, but has been rebooted.
The sources say Anthem‘s previous “fall 2018” release date was “never realistic.” Instead, the game has been pushed into early 2019. Exactly when that is, though, remains unknown.
BioWare and EA announced Anthem this last summer during E3 2017, revealing a gorgeous, detailed sci-fi world where we play characters who step into large powered armor to take on dangerous missions against other warriors and the game’s open-world environment. Comparisons to Destiny were immediate and bountiful and hard to shake from the very little pre-recorded gameplay were offered.
“Anthem‘s developers must also plan for a beta release, an EA Access launch, and an ongoing schedule of patches and updates,” Kotaku writes, along with the note that publisher Electronic Arts will likely want to see the game out by the end of Fiscal Year 2019, which ends in March 2019. Publicly traded companies like EA tend to hold tight to fiscal year schedules to keep investors happy. It’s worth noting that EA’s 2013 version of SimCity hit when it did to make it in under before the end of its fiscal year, so to hear a delay pushing toward a fiscal year ending is a little distressing to say the least. SimCity‘s release was an unmitigated disaster that became an inescapable albatross for developer Maxis that led to the studio eventually shutting down. Combined with BioWare’s recent struggles, it’s hard not to cringe.
To add a bit more fuel to the fire, Kotaku also notes that the fourth Dragon Age title was also rebooted this year, with the goal of adding “live elements,” to what has historically been a single-player, offline RPG. The game will still reportedly keep characters and story its primary pillars, but inserting online elements in Dragon Age feels more like a publisher (EA) decision than a developer (BioWare) one.
Here’s Mark Darrah, executive producer on both titles confirming that work is moving ahead on both with a focus on Anthem:
Halfway through my trip to Barcelona!
I’m here showing Anthem internally to EA. I am EP of BOTH DA and Anthem working with @Bio_Warner as Game Director
Anthem’s up next but there are people hard at work on both franchises and I look forward to sharing more in the future
— Mark Darrah (@BioMarkDarrah) January 24, 2018
Regardless of what Dragon Age looks like when it hits, BioWare’s Edmonton and Austin studios are both focused fully on Anthem right now, so whenever Dragon Age is coming, it’s going to be a while, as the next year-and-some will be given over entirely to Anthem.