As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak spreads throughout the world, delaying movies, cancelling sporting events and closing businesses, it’s inevitable that game production would be impacted as well. Even as states start to resume a level of normalcy with schools reopening, game developers appear to have felt the effects of switching to a work-from-home model
Sony has said that it doesn’t expect coronavirus to impact the planned release of the PS5, though first-party games for the PS4 could yet be affected. Microsoft has warned about manufacturing delays with certain product lines, but has confirmed that the Xbox Series X is still on schedule. Both new consoles are expected to release this year.
A number of games have been delayed as teams have to abide by lockdown and self-isolation, which has slowed development as studios adjust to the new working conditions. That has included some big-name titles. Here’s every delay we know of so far:
Deathloop, the time-bending shooter from Arkane Studios, was delayed into 2021 as well. A statement from the studio said that as it’s adjusted to work-from-home, it is finding that reaching its standard of quality is taking longer than usual.
To the community, an update on DEATHLOOP: pic.twitter.com/XveoG6AgoT
Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe
The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe was delayed indefinitely, citing “development challenges” from the coronavirus. But it did it in a characteristically meta way, imitating the delay announcements of various other delayed games, and one (Spider-Man: Miles Morales) that actually hasn’t had an announced delay.
The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe Development Update pic.twitter.com/rdKzJA7yaf
Another of the highest-profile delays, Microsoft’s flagship title for Xbox Series X, Halo Infinite, was delayed out of the new console’s launch. Instead, it is now coming in 2021. 343 Industries cited multiple factors leading to development challenges, including the ongoing coronavirus. This followed shortly after its gameplay debut, which received some criticism for visual fidelity. It also came not long after 343 announced that its multiplayer will be free-to-play.
Halo Infinite Development Update pic.twitter.com/TFZvXhRN9f
Guilty Gear Strive
The fighting game Guilty Gear Strive was delayed into early 2021, and developer Arc System Works cited COVID as having impacted every phase of the development cycle.
A message from Takeshi Yamanaka, the producer of #GuiltyGearStrive. pic.twitter.com/BbuFT6zKK3
Tales of Arise
The JRPG Tales of Arise was delayed indefinitely. While the statement from developer Bandai Namco didn’t cite COVID specifically as the reason for the delay, it spoke about the work flow changes and then transitioned directly into the delay news, which implicitly ties them together.
Kerbal Space Program 2
Kerbal Space Program 2 was given a lengthy delay into Fall 2021. The dev team issued a statement citing the coronavirus and saying it had created “unique challenges that require more time to safely iterate, create, test, and make KSP2 as great as it can be.” A new release date has not been set.
Heads up Kerbonauts, we’ve a message from mission control for you.#KSP2 pic.twitter.com/aa1aTEloXG
The Last of Us 2
One of the first big games to have been affected by the crisis, Sony pushed the release of the highly-anticipated sequel back due to coronavirus “preventing us from providing the launch experience our players deserve.” Naughty Dog further clarified that logistical issues would impact ideal launch conditions, such as a simultaneous global launch.
Unlike other games that have been delayed, the issue was not development but the final push towards release–likely impacted by the fact that The Last Of Us 2 is such a big title for Sony. The Last of Us 2 ultimately released on June 19, 2020.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR
Sony also pushed back Iron Man VR, announcing the delay at the same time as The Last Of Us 2. Iron Man VR is a PSVR game developed by Camoflaj, having been delayed previously by a few months to give the developers more time to refine it. It released on July 3, 2020.
The Outer Worlds Switch Release
The Switch version of The Outer Worlds was already following after the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC releases. It was one of the earliest delays announced, due tot he impact on the Switch port studio Virtuous, which has offices across China where the virus first hit. The delay was announced in February, and The Outer Worlds released for Switch on June 5, 2020.
Fallout 76 Wastelanders Update
Besthesda’s big update for Fallout 76, designed to bring the game more in line with what players expect from a Fallout game, was also delayed as developers transitioned to working from home. Originally scheduled for April 7, it’s released just a week later on April 14. The Steam launch of Fallout 76 has also been pushed to April 14.
Originally scheduled for release in April, the dungeon-crawling Minecraft spinoff was delayed and released on May 26 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox One.
Earlier in March, an update on the game’s Twitter account warned of potential delays due to changes in workflow, with teams working from home due to coronavirus. The Minecraft Dungeons team were still working towards an April release at that point.
Some other high-profile games have been delayed during the ongoing pandemic and under work-from-home conditions, but the studio has not explicitly tied the delay to coronavirus.
Originally slated for a September release, CD Projekt Red delayed Cyberpunk 2077 to November 19. The studio said that the game was content-complete with all of the quests, cutscenes, and skills finalized. But its massive size meant there were a lot of bugs to fix. Later, CDPR also said it wasn’t completely happy with its melee combat. CDPR never explicitly tied the delay to COVID, but it has been undergoing work-from-home changes like many studios.
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