Update: There seems to be a bit of confusion here, thanks to two different updates. The panel is canceled, which is being replaced by a stream that takes place later during the day. The developers won’t be flying in from Japan so that signing session is over. The voice actors will be on-hand to sign in their place. The fan gathering is canceled. There will be photo ops, just not in the capacity that was originally planned.
Sadly, it looks like other companies are being impacted by COVID-19/Coronavirus, and have scaled back their PAX East 2020 plans.
Square Enix sends word that the Final Fantasy-themed events have been canceled. This means The Artwork of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Look Behind the Screen panel, the developer signing sessions and photo opp and the fan gathering have all been canceled.
“As the community may be aware, COVID-19 (also known as “novel coronavirus”) is spreading within the East Asia region. Taking into consideration the current situation within the region, sadly SQUARE ENIX has decided to cancel the PAX East attendance of staff who would be travelling from the Japan offices. This difficult decision was based on our desire to prevent any potential spread of the virus and to prioritize the health and safety of our team and our fans.
Since our team will not be in attendance, we are planning to scale down on our planned activities for FINAL FANTASY XIV:
- Panel Session: The Artwork of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Look Behind the Screen
We will be cancelling the on-stage panel session due to the absence of the staff members who were scheduled to attend. However, we will be hosting a livestream live from Japan (in English & Japanese) that our fans can view on Saturday, February 29 at 8:00 PM ET on the FINAL FANTASY XIV Twitch channel.
- Developer Signing Sessions & Photo Opp
We will be cancelling the signing sessions and photo opportunities, scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 29 and Sunday, March 1.
- Fan Gathering
We have also cancelled our planned PAX East fan gathering event, slated for Friday, February 28. We are looking forward to hosting future fan gatherings in North America and we’ll share more details on dates and locations in the future.
Square Enix will still host the FINAL FANTASY XIV booth on the show floor (#15010), and we hope you’ll take part and enjoy the Ruby Weapon battle challenge, the New Player Experience, and photo opportunities.”
As a fan and someone who was looking forward to the panel, this hurts. It seems like more and more companies are canceling or reducing their PAX East 2020 events, for good reason. While it is disappointing that this, along with PlayStation not longer coming to PAX East 2020, health concerns are no joke. I’d rather everyone stay healthy than risking their (and my) lives.
The Coronavirus has impacted PAX East 2020, as you’re aware of, but also other gaming and technology events. Both PlayStation and Facebook have pulled out of GDC 2020, while Nintendo has encountered production issues with its upcoming Animal Crossing special edition Switch, while Facebook hasn’t shipped any new Oculus Quest units since the spread of COVID-19.