Final Fantasy XIV becomes one of many games disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Players of the massively multiplayer online roleplaying game Final Fantasy XIV will be disappointed to know that patch 5.3 is being delayed. Naoki Yoshida of Square Enix made the announcement on the game’s official website citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the delay.
COVID-19 preventative measures
Yoshida explains that the Tokyo team has transitioned to working from home due to the declaration of a state of emergency in the city. Some members of the team were able to continue working on the update from a remote setup but many key members couldn’t.
The situation does call for the development of patch 5.3 to be put on hold.
“By a narrow margin”
Luckily, prior to the change in work setup, Square Enix says they were able to complete most of the work on the 5.25 update. Developers who were able to work from home only had to add the finishing touches and they were able to release it on the scheduled date (April 7).
However, the stay-at-home protocols had definitely made things complicated leading Yoshida to say that finishing patch 5.25 was accomplished by a narrow margin. With that being said the prospect of releasing patch 5.3 looks bleak.
How COVID-19 is affecting the development of patch 5.3
Apart from the Tokyo team still adapting to working from home, Yoshida provides further details on how development for patch 5.3 is affected by the pandemic. Because the novel coronavirus has spread throughout the world and many other key regions have shutdown business operations indefinitely, Square Enix is unable to get vital in-game details from their partners in Asia, Europe, and North America.
According to Yoshida, their teams are working below their normal capacity due to the limitations imposed by their work from home setup.
So delaying the patch 5.3 is not a question of if but how long. There is maintenance scheduled for mid-June for patch 5.3 but now that it’s being pushed back, Square Enix is still undecided as to how long the delay would be. Depending on the situation, the patch could be delayed for up to a month.
Final Fantasy XIV will still be operational as the servers will be maintained from the team’s homes and there will also still be GM support but Square Enix says that they may not be able to respond as quickly as before.
This is because, above all else, Square Enix is prioritizing the safety of its staff. “We are terribly sorry for the disappointment this may cause our players, as we know you look forward to new patches. However, it is also important to prioritize the physical and mental health of our development team, without whom we would never be able to release the quality updates and features you expect from FFXIV, so we ask for your understanding as we adjust our schedule in accordance with the situation,” Square Enix says on their website.
Not the only one
Final Fantasy XIV is the most recent MMORPG that has been affected by the pandemic. Just like Square Enix, Amazon had to delay the release of its new MMORPG New World due to the developmental challenges that come with working remotely.
The Last of Us Part II, which is one of the most anticipated games of the year, had also been pushed back along with Marvel’s Iron Man VR. Despite being officially released on April 10, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Square Enix had to make an early shipment of the game to Europe and Australia back in March in order to avoid shipping delays.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has affected every industry in the world and unfortunately, it sees no sign of slowing down. Until a cure is developed, the world can only wait it out.
Images courtesy of Final Fantasy XIV/Facebook