A new report states that BioWare's Anthem, the game that big names from the Mass Effect trilogy are working on, won't make its original release window. According to Kotaku, an unnamed source is citing the negative reaction to Mass Effect: Andromeda and work on several big projects, such as the new Dragon Age, as a big contributing factor.
A big issue with Andromeda was that a lot of the staff working on it were new and inexperienced with the engine. Pair that with much of the staff being ported over to work on Anthem, and the intense time constraints and budget cuts that the latest Mass Effect received - the results were met with a huge negative backlash from fans. When it came to light just how much of the game's resources were stripped to focus on Anthem, many were angry to see the big reveal during E3 of last year. The online action RPG was called a "Destiny clone" by many, though it does bear many similarities to the Mass Effect franchise (no, not saying it looks like Mass Effect, stating similarities).
When Anthem was first announced, it was given a 2018 release window, though many called that goal unrealistic. According to Kotaku:
"The "fall 2018" window mentioned during that E3 announcement was "never realistic," one source said. Exact dates remain in flux—and Anthem's developers must also plan for a beta release, an EA Access launch, and an ongoing schedule of patches and updates—but it appears unlikely to developers that publisher EA will allow BioWare to delay the game any further than March 2019, when the company's 2019 fiscal year comes to an end. (EA, like most publicly traded companies, uses the fiscal calendar as a basis for all of its decisions, as those dates determine how investors will behave.)"
Though it is not uncommon for developers to move studios to accommodate big releases, the way Anthem was handled was much different, "...the studio's first new franchise in eight years and EA's first big stab at a Destiny-style persistent online world, feels different. To BioWare staff, the stakes feel higher than they ever have. As one developer told me, there's a belief that if Anthem doesn't live up to EA's expectations, BioWare will look very different in the future, especially after the disappointment of Mass Effect Andromeda led to EA absorbing BioWare Montreal into the studio EA Motive."
Anthem has seen many rotating members to its team, including Mass Effect's Casey Hudson who came back to the company after leaving in 2014. With production on Anthem at an all time high now that Andromeda is suspended, one "unnamed" source told Kotaku that the game felt screwed at this point. Though that is just one opinion, others are hopeful that the aggressive fan feedback to EA regarding many areas seen as shortcomings will caution the mega-publisher to listen to its people, to its investors, and take the time needed to do their big franchises right. That, and many Anthem heavy hitters are being completely transparent with the community about the game, even taking to popular social forums to answer fan questions. Because of this, hope isn't lost - it just might be a little late. Quality over quantity, as they say.