With ongoing uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, the upcoming North American Final Fantasy 14 Fan Festival has been cancelled.
With the current climate of uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, numerous major events in the games industry have either been cancelled or postponed throughout most of 2020. So far this has included major events such as E3, Gamescom, and more, alongside several anticipated fan events such as the Final Fantasy 14 Fan Festival. While the upcoming North American fan festival was expected to kick off the event this November, the continuing uncertainty around the pandemic has led to plans shifting for the festival.
In a letter on the game’s official forums, Final Fantasy 14 director and producer Naoki Yoshida provided an update on the North American fan festival and the development of the next FF14 patch. Specifically, Yoshida explained that due to the continuing changes brought by COVID-19, the North American Fan Festival (originally scheduled for November in San Diego) has been cancelled. At this time, plans are still currently in place to hold the Fan Festival events coming to Japan this December and to Europe in February 2021, though that may change according to the situation regarding the pandemic.
After much deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the North American Fan Festival.
— FINAL FANTASY XIV (@FF_XIV_EN) June 5, 2020
According to Yoshida, while the team had been “moving forward with various arrangements to adapt to the unfolding pandemic,” ultimately they felt that trying to produce the North American Fan Festival would not “guarantee the health and safety of the attendees, performers, or company staff members who would be present at the event.”
Despite the cancellation of the North American event in November, Yoshida explained that “plans are already in motion” to potentially hold the event in the first half of 2021, whether at a different city, venue, or date. He added that while the possibility of holding a physical event may be limited by restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Yoshida added that a digital event may also be planned as an alternative. More information on those plans will be announced at a later date.
Alongside these updates regarding the Fan Festival events, Yoshida also provided new details on the next update for Final Fantasy 14, patch 5.3. Further in the letter, Yoshida explained that the majority of game’s development team has fully shifted to working remotely and that the team is now working from “an almost complete halt in development to near-full operation.” However, in regard to patch 5.3, Yoshida explained that the next update “will be delayed by more than a month at the very least,” with the primary causes being production lag and complications from working remotely, especially for the studio’s QA team. More information on the next update and a release date will be announced “in the near future,” according to Yoshida.