The Coronavirus that is gripping the world right now is hurting almost all businesses, and that includes the video game industry. Granted, video games are now a refuge for those stuck at home, but, if certain people are stuck at home, they can’t be making video games, right? In a column for Famitsu (translated by Nintendo Everything), Masahiro Sakurai noted that the epidemic for the sickness has affected the upcoming Super Smash Bros Ultimate Fighter Pack 2 DLC in at least one significant way:
Restrictions are also being put on business travel. It’s particularly difficult to meet with partners who are faraway. For example, Nintendo is headquartered in Kyoto, right? In this regard, it’s quite difficult for us to visit other companies. In my case, specifically, I was scheduled to give a presentation to a publisher on our plans for a certain new fighter; however the key parties were not able to get together, so it’s been postponed indefinitely. That’s not something I could fix even if I could be in the office the whole time.
He also noted the “worst-case scenario” that could come with this epidemic:
And if we were to find out someone in the office has the virus, I presume all of our buildings would be shut down. If that happens, development would have to be halted entirely. There’s a high probability of development not proceeding as scheduled, even if a new fighter were tentatively announced.
There is no doubt that Super Smash Bros Ultimate fans are hoping that this is not going to be the case, but in truth, with the randomness that people are getting infected via contact and other measures, it’s safe to say that this COULD happen, even if we wish it wouldn’t.
However, should this pass over like many hope, development may only be down or delayed for a certain period of time. And as of right now, no such delays or restrictions of work have been done by Nintendo.