BioWare's Anthem was the fifth top-selling game in North America of 2019 up until the end of August.
Sales of the troubled game came in at fifth place after Mortal Kombat 11, Kingdom Hearts 3, Madden NFL 20, and Tom Clancy's The Division 2, according to statistics from the NPD Group via industry analyst Mat Piscatella.
And that's likely to surprise many.
It’s no secret that Anthem didn’t get the love that EA and BioWare hoped it would. A longstanding list of core design problems, bugs, server issues and more have kept the game from making more of a dent, and even after the release of the long-promised but poorly received Catalyst update things continued to look pretty grim. Ben Irving, one of Anthem’s biggest champions at BioWare departed the studio, and some have gone as far as calling for the game to simply be put out of its misery.
In September, BioWare head Casey Hudson posted a blog to confirm updates for Anthem are still in development, revealing “a big team” is working on the game in both its Edmonton and Austin studios.
“While it’s been great to see the community response to Cataclysm, I know there’s a lot more work to do to bring out the full potential of the game,” said Hudson. The games veteran also revealed that BioWare is working on addressing Anthem’s fundamental problems, but reiterated that this process will take time. While that work goes on behind the scenes, Anthem will continue to be updated with smaller features and new content.
In May, EA had also confirmed in a conference call that Anthem's sales had been below their expectations. However, the game did break one significant record for the company - Anthem was EA's most successful digital game ever, selling more copies digitally than any other game in company history.
“We continue to invest heavily in Anthem, with developers working on game quality, content, systems and game mechanics. It’s great original IP and we’ve doubled down on the product,” said COO and CFO Blake Jorgensen at the time.
For more on EA's Anthem problems, you can read Sherif's scathing opinion piece: "If recent history is any indication, why should anyone trust EA to turn Anthem’s fate around?"