Square Enix has some bad news for fans of their flagship MMO, Final Fantasy XIV. The next patch for the game, Final Fantasy XIV patch 5.3, has been shuffled further into 2020 as COVID-19 disrupts development progress. This is of course just one of many different delays and problems have been encountered in the gaming industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The director Naoki Yoshida broke the news this week, saying that the update has been delayed past mid-June to an indeterminate date.
“FFXIV relies heavily on our development and QA partners across the world, and at this point, we must accept that the situation will significantly impact our development schedule.” The director went on to highlight a variety of problems with getting assets for the patch delivered on time from various sources. With the lockdown of cities in East Asia, North America, and Europe, many studios that supported the game’s development have been put on hiatus. Staff at studios in Tokyo also experienced problems due to shelter-in-place orders.
This comes as no surprise as projects on this scale require tons of support across multiple studios. Graphical assets are developed across East Asia, North America, and Europe. The majority of the English voice actors are in the United Kingdom (with other language VAs being in other European countries). All of this has to come together somehow, and COVID-19 has made that process much harder.
The newest Final Fantasy XIV patch has a few new plans and gameplay mechanics due to release, like how patch 5.25 brought in Relic weapons. The details are a little sparse though. Many players are expecting changes to gathering and crafting, as well as some new story content. We now have no idea when exactly this could release. Yoshida states patch 5.3 is currently anywhere between two weeks or a month behind schedule. That is, of course, subject to change.
And don’t worry about stability, the GMs and other support staff have said that they will now be maintaining the game from home via remote tools. Just expect a bit of a delay in support for non-critical tickets due to these staffing issues for a few weeks.
If you want to jump in and try out the story-driven MMO titan that is Final Fantasy XIV the free trial lets you play up to level 30, so you can check it out at no cost.