Why is every big game releasing on February 15?

After producing comprehensive coverage of the shooters, Battles Royale, RPGs, and broader games of 2019 over the past few weeks, the PC Gamer team has made an important discovery: it appears that everyone has decided to release their games on February 15.

Far Cry New Dawn, Metro Exodus, Crackdown 3, and Jump Force all arrive on the same day. They'll form probably the highest-profile single day of releases since October 27, 2017, when Assassin's Creed: Origins, Super Mario Odyssey, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus dropped.

Oh, and Anthem, EA's answer to Destiny 2 and the PvE "shared world" shooter, will be available on the 15th too.

"Hold on," I hear you thinking, "Doesn't Anthem come out on February 22?" Technically we're both right, because Anthem wouldn't be a modern, big-publisher game if it didn't have multiple, staggered release dates based on a complicated payment scheme. As with Battlefield 5 last year, Origin Access Premier (EA's premium-tier subscription on Origin) members can play Anthem a whole week earlier on February 15, while Origin Access Basic (the $30/year tier) subscribers can get a head start on the first 10 hours. Here's a spreadsheet that conveys this information:

What's the logic of so many games piling themselves into into the same calendar square? Are the stars aligning in a way that particularly favors day-one DLC? It's especially peculiar because games almost never release on a Friday. 

I'm not a publishing executive, but we know based on GDC talks and other reporting that a significant amount of a game's sales are made in the first weeks of its release. It seems inevitable that one or more of these games are going to underperform and get buried by the buzz and enthusiasm of whichever one earns the most attention in the days that follow. 

There are some major games coming in March like Sekiro and The Division 2, which I'm sure Anthem is eager to avoid, but there's plenty of space on the calendar for these games to have their moment in the sun.

With one month to prepare, here's the most recent footage we have of each of these games:

Far Cry New Dawn

A $40 standalone spin-off continuation of Far Cry 5, set partly in a vibrant, post-apocalyptic version of the Montana we played last year.

Metro Exodus

A more open-world continuation of 4A Games' atmospheric shooter, Exodus sticks its head out of the dank subways and barren snowpiles of its predecessors somewhat.

Crackdown 3

Announced all the way back in 2014, Crackdown 3 is set in a sprawling megacity that both contains a smoldering volcano and is home to a nefarious megacorp called TerraNova Worldwide, the ideal setting for a supercop sandbox.

Jump Force

Japanese manga characters from series including Dragon Ball, Rurouni Kenshin, Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece collide in this fan service fighting game mash-up that coincides with  Shonen Jump’s 50th anniversary.

Anthem

Fight through story missions and dungeon-style "Strongholds" with up to three other exosuited friends in EA's take on the PvE sci-fi shooter. Being a BioWare game, it will have a branching story to a lesser degree, but not the romanceable characters and rich, singleplayer sandbox you've played in games like Dragon Age.

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