It's time to solve a mystery, or at least come up with a viable theory. Yesterday, executives at mega-publisher Electronic Arts announce a bunch of financial numbers. They also say that they've delayed a "key game" from fiscal year 13 to fiscal year 14, which, for those who prefer to speak English, means they've delayed a "key game" from coming out by March 31, 2013 to some time after.
Which game could it be?
Dragon Age III is the favorite candidate of one Michael Pachter, financial analyst who is sometimes right, sometimes a master of research and math and sometimes—let's be honest—just educated-guessin'.
His theory has a delicious wrinkle in it, to mix metaphors. The Dragon Age III delay would be happening so that BioWare developers working on the game could help out on BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic.
In a note to financial-minded folks this morning, Pachter explains his theory:
"When we spoke with the [EA] CEO, he added the color that the game was expected to slip because the team had been pulled away to work on another important project. While we don't know what the game is, the only game that makes sense is Dragon Age 3, as it is developed by BioWare, the same studio that produced the Star Wars MMO. It seems obvious to us that the BioWare team responsible for Dragon Age 3 was asked to place development of that game on hold and work on Star Wars, to ensure that the latter game launched before the holidays."
We've got a second fact in there indicating that the team of the mystery delayed game was pulled off to help another game.
Who has a better solution to this mystery?
The best devil's-advocate alternate theory I could cook up for this was a possible Dead Space 3 team being yanked to help with the new Medal of Honor, but that doesn't seem as likely. Or maybe Pachter's only half-right. Maybe DAIII is the delayed game, but was delayed so the devs could help with Mass Effect 3. At least in that theory, we'd be talking about one BioWare
Montreal Edmonton team helping another, rather than an Edmonton Dragon Age team pitching in on a BioWare Austin Star Wars project.
A BioWare rep did not return a request for comment by press time. I'll update this story if and when I hear back. UPDATE: The BioWare rep has reminded me that EA doesn't comment on rumors or speculation.
For the record, BioWare was trying to hire for Dragon Age III as far back as last May and has publicly discussed the future of the Dragon Age series with fans as recently as April's PAX East expo.
Considering that one of the chief complaints fans had about Dragon Age II was that it felt rushed and was full of recycled content, maybe a delay wouldn't be the worst thing.