Last week brought news that Electronic Arts and BioWare’s ambitious multiplayer action title Anthem was being pushed back until 2019. Now, EA has confirmed that the game won’t launch until next year, but this isn’t a delay, it’s a scheduling matter, apparently.
A Kotaku report citing three people close to the development of Anthem said the team was facing immense pressure following the failure of Mass Effect: Andromeda and the Star Wars: Battlefront 2 loot box controversy. Anthem had been scheduled for release this fall—a date that was listed on the game’s YouTube channel—but this was supposedly “never realistic.”
Blake Jorgensen, Electronic Arts’ chief financial officer, has now said the game would arrive in 2019 but denied that there had been a delay. “People are trying to create a story,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
The official line is that EA has chosen to launch Anthem early next year because it will be releasing a new Battlefield game in October. The company doesn’t want Anthem overshadowed by the next entry in its long-running franchise, or any of the other big games that arrive during this period, so an early 2019 release date makes sense.
“Regardless of how it’s being portrayed, we’re not looking at that as a delay, we’ve chosen to launch Anthem in [the fourth quarter]. The date is chosen by by portfolio balance, not product readiness,” Wilson said in a call with investors. “And we’re really excited by the way the new Battlefield is shaping up. It probably doesn’t make too much sense to launch Anthem right by it. As a new IP, it probably makes sense to give [Anthem] its own launch window.”
Apart from the fact it is once again being developed by DICE, Wilson offered no other details on the next Battlefield game.
EA did not mention the recent rumors that claim Microsoft could acquire the company, though it did reveal it lost $186 million in Q3, compared to a $1 million loss in the same quarter a year earlier.