This is Producer & Director Naoki Yoshida. First and foremost: all of you who have been affected by the worldwide spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in any capacity have my deepest sympathies, and I wish those who have taken ill a quick recovery.
Here in Tokyo, where the FFXIV team is located, a state of emergency has been declared, and we have been ordered to take preventative measures to curb further spread of the virus. This of course raises questions as to effects on game service and patch development, so I would like to take this opportunity to address those concerns.
As patch 5.25 was largely completed during the 5.2 patch cycle, we were able to implement the finishing touches and release it on schedule. However, it was by a narrow margin that we did so─only some staff had begun work-from-home prior to the release of patch 5.25, while more were asked to stay home and self-isolate regardless. The patch was finished by those individuals who had the ability to work remotely or to come to the office safely.
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 reasons for this are:
- Delayed delivery of graphical assets due to the lockdown of cities in East Asia, North America, and Europe.
- Delayed voice recording due to the lockdown of cities in Europe.
- Delays to development tasks performed by Tokyo staff due to work-from-home/shelter-in-place limitations.
- Production and QA teams operating well below normal capacity due to work-from-home/shelter-in-place limitations.
Though it is clear that patch 5.3, which was planned for mid-June, will be delayed because of the above, we are at this time undecided as to whether it will be feasible to limit the delay to two or three weeks, or if it will be closer to a month.
We are terribly sorry for the disappointment this may cause our players, as we know you look forward to new patches. However, it is also important to prioritize the physical and mental health of our development team, without whom we would never be able to release the quality updates and features you expect from FFXIV, so we ask for your understanding as we adjust our schedule in accordance with the situation.
Regarding the operation of our servers: we will now be maintaining them from home, myself included. While GM support and replies from the support desk may take longer than usual, you can rest assured that each World will be running as usual, allowing everyone to continue playing.
In some cases, we may have difficulty implementing bug fixes or maintenance for issues that occur. If that happens, we will post a notification of the issue, and implement the fix as soon as we are able, so we ask for your patience in the meantime.
Finally─though this may seem somewhat superfluous─I’d like you to know that myself, the development team, and the production team are all doing fine at present. We’re currently testing remote work environments and applications so that we can resume patch development on all fronts.
While many of us worldwide remain inside our homes, we should remember to let joy and laughter fill them─because in times like these, it’s especially important to find happiness where you can. I certainly hope that in delving into parts of FFXIV that you have yet to try─battles to be won, new jobs with which to hone your skills─connecting with in-game friends, and having fun together, your days will seem a little brighter. (It’s not a bad time to tell people about the free trial, if I do say so myself...)
We do still plan to host live letters if at all possible, and once things have settled down I promise you’ll find me online, so... See you in Eorzea!