COVID-19 has basically put the world on hold for the last month, and this Summer will look extremely different in every facet of daily life. The entertainment and gaming industries, along with the rest of the global economy, has been beset by delays and cancellations as companies make the decision to put people before profits. The latest game in the video game scene to be hit with a crushing and indefinite delay is The Last of Us Part II. Sony has announced that they will be delaying both that game and Iron Man VR.
The Last of Us Part II has not had an easy time in development, and this isn’t even its first delay. The transition to remote work for the team behind the project can’t be easy, and it’s likely slowed development progress a fair bit. Sony also recognizes that any major AAA release is likely to draw crowds to retail stores, which could be disastrous with COVID-19 actively spreading. Some retailers dragged their feet in closing up shop, like GameStop who refused to shutter until state governors in the US had to threaten them with legal action. Sony clearly does not want to be caught in that kind of controversy.
“The good news is, we’re nearly done with development of The Last of Us Part II,” Naughty Dog said in a statement this afternoon. “However, even with us finishing the game, we were faced with the reality that due to logistics beyond our control, we couldn’t launch The Last of Us Part II to our satisfaction. We want to make sure everyone gets to play The Last of Us Part II around the same time, ensuring that we’re doing everything possible to preserve the best experience for everyone. This meant delaying the game until such a time where we can solve these logistic issues.”
It’s pretty much a guarantee at this point that any physical game release will be delayed if it was due to land on shelves in the next 3-6 months. We simply don’t know how long novel coronavirus will stick around and remain a major threat. Deaths from the COVID-19 disease have now surpassed 50,000, with many countries suffering 1,000 or more deaths a day from the infection.
Earlier this year, various events had been delayed as well. E3 2020 got canned. Other conventions and public eSports events were pushed back or delayed indefinitely as well.
So while it sucks that these things happen, they are absolutely a necessary problem. No video game is worth a human life.