It's become a familiar refrain in the last six months. Big events are impressive feats of logistics and community management, as well as crowd control within the confines of a venue, getting canceled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's already taken out big trade events like E3, Tokyo Games Show, and Gamescom.
And it's been cutting down less prominent but still significant events like Blizzcon. Now, the Final Fantasy XIV North American Fan Festival has joined the ranks.
Naoki Yoshida, the director for Final Fantasy XIV took to the game's forums to announce the cancellation.
The North American Fan Festival was scheduled to be held in San Diego half a year from now in November, but after much deliberation we have made the difficult decision to cancel proceedings.
Although we have been moving forward with various arrangements to adapt to the unfolding pandemic, we ultimately feel that we cannot guarantee the health and safety of the attendees, performers, or company staff members who would be present at the event. Thus it is with great regret that we arrive at this conclusion, and I offer my sincere apologies to all who were looking forward to enjoying the festivities.
Despite the cancellation of the San Diego event in November, however, we have not given up on holding our next Fan Festival in North America. Plans are already in motion as we examine possible dates, cities, and venues for a festival in the first half of 2021.
In adhering to the safety guidelines and requirements set forth by national and local governments, it is likely that future events will experience a number of restrictions. As such, we are not only exploring a physical event, but also looking into alternative ways to realize the event digitally. We will share news of our progress as things start to take shape, so please stay tuned for more information.
Additionally, Yoshida addressed the current status of Final Fantasy XIV's next update patch, 5.3, and indicated that the original June 16 release date was likely going to be pushed back at least a month.
"If you consider our usual, pre-pandemic development production to be at 100%, we are currently sitting at around 85-90% capability," he wrote. Yoshida closed out the post wishing a speedy recovery for any who'd fallen ill from COVID-19.