Square Enix Announces That Final Fantasy 14’s Development Schedule Faces Significant Delays

Square Enix Announces That Final Fantasy 14’s Development Schedule Faces Significant Delays
Credit: Final Fantasy XIV Via Youtube

The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the gaming world, absolutely decimating much of the events and production. Obviously, this is only one of the many ways that it’s affected the world, but it’s certainly interesting to look at how much as hanged.

It feels like we don’t go more than a few days at a time without COVID-19 being something that needs to be written about, but here we are again. Square Enix announced earlier today that the pandemic has greatly impacted their productivity, making it so that their MMORPG, Final Fantasy 14, is facing significant delays in development.

“Here in Tokyo, where the FFXIV team is located, a state of emergency has been declared, and we have been ordered to take preventative measures to curb further spread of the virus,” producer and director Naoki Yoshida wrote in the announcement. “This of course raises questions as to effects on game service and patch development, so I would like to take this opportunity to address these concerns.”

Much of the latest patch, patch 5.25, had been largely completed during the 5.2 patch cycle, which allowed the team to release it on schedule by only needing to add the finishing touches. However, even this relatively-simple finish was only done by a narrow margin, as only a few of the team members were working from home at this point. As isolation continued, the team now dominantly works remotely, which is a drastic blow to productivity.

Yoshida names four primary reasons for the significant impact, which are as follows:

  • Delayed delivery of graphical assets due to lockdowns in East Asia, North America, and Europe
  • Delayed voice recording due to European lockdowns
  • Delays to development tasks in Tokyo due to shelter-in-place and work-from-home limitations
  • Production and QA teams are operating at an intensely-reduced rate due to limitations

According to Yoshida, the team is unsure on how much of a delay is needed. The patch in question, 5.3, was originally planned for mid-June, but it’s now unknown if it’ll be a delay of two to three weeks or if the team will need closer to a month.

“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,” Yoshida stated, apologizing for the disappointment but admitting the unavoidable nature of it.

It’s a shame to see it delayed, but Yoshida is right – safety comes before anything else.