EA has officially stated that Anthem is set to release in March 2019.
For a game of which we’ve seen so little, this means that there ought to be plenty of coverage for Anthem at E3 next month, especially as EA tries to climb out of the loot-box shaped hole it buried itself in. And if there’s one studio in EA’s portfolio that can save them, surely it must be BioWare, right? I certainly used to think so. I haven’t totally given up hope that the Western RPG Master’s of Yore might rise up from their own ashes, but I am nonetheless concerned. Anthem seems to have become intrinsically tied to the livelihood of BioWare, as we know it. And the assumptions of what the project is, and the little we’ve seen of it is, perhaps, cause for caution.
Is EA Gambling with BioWare?
So what the hell is Anthem, exactly? This question has been running through my mind for better part of two years. Is it basically Third-Person Destiny? Is it Monster Hunter with guns and mech-armor? Is it some completely novel idea we just haven’t seen yet? The point is, I don’t know. No one does.
If March is the date for Anthem, E3 is EA’s last chance to show it to us. Any word of mouth I’ve heard on the topic of Anthem has been, at best, tepid. With Destiny itself seeming to lose favor among its constituents, this spells trouble for Anthem if our assumptions are correct. If Anthem is essentially Destiny with a BioWare RPG progression, I’m afraid that formulae will prove too little, too late. I am willing to trust that BioWare has something special here, but they need to show us. The hype-train needs to start moving for a March release on a title of this caliber.
I almost wonder if EA is gambling with BioWare, putting pressure on them in order to bank on the cache of their name while EA Proper is, itself, under scrutiny from the public. This is a dangerous space for BioWare to be, given the Mass Effect: Andromeda debacle. The future of BioWare has become tied directly to Anthem and I fear for what might become of them if things go wrong with this new IP. The only other hope is a new rumored Dragon Age title, which they would be wise to showcase at E3 as well. But Dragon Age has always had a bit of Terrence Malick effect – loved by critics, but mixed reviews from the audience. Unless Dragon Age manages to innovate at the deepest of levels, the brunt of the responsibility still falls to Anthem.