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Minecraft’s Caves & Cliffs delayed, will be split into two updates

Smaller update coming this summer, remainder by the holidays, Mojang says

Minecraft - a spooky Warden shows up in a cave underground.
The Warden is a new, hostile mob that will join Minecraft with the Caves & Cliffs expansion
Image: Mojang/Xbox Game Studios

Minecraft’s much-requested, long-anticipated Caves & Cliffs expansion is delayed. Mojang says the project needs more time, so that it won’t “wreak havoc on your meticulously crafted worlds.” As such, it’s going to be split into two parts.

The first is still coming this summer, the second “around the holiday season,” Mojang said on Wednesday. Hustling to get the full expansion out the door this summer, as the studio originally announced in October, “would have meant compromising on quality.”

“Because of the magnitude of this update and the dramatic changes it brings to the Overworld as a whole, there are also significant technical challenges we need to overcome before certain parts of the update are ready to ship,” the studio said. For example, the overhaul to world generation dramatically affects the game’s build height.

“Not only do we have to consider every effect this can have on the world but also how it will affect performance,” Mojang said. “Basically, having more stuff in the game also slows it down, and we want to avoid that.”

Development on Caves & Cliffs was also slowed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, with work-from-home measures hindering developers’ teamwork and adding a lot more time to collaborative efforts, according to Mojang.

“This was not an easy decision, and we’re also disappointed that some really exciting features are only coming later,” Mojang said. “Still, it’s the best possible choice to keep our team healthy, happy, and able to deliver awesome updates for many years to come,” Mojang said.

More information is available in an FAQ the studio posted on Wednesday.

Cliffs & Caves was announced during Minecraft Live about six months ago. The update promises to generate caves with greater variances and more features, like waterfalls, interior lakes, and large caverns, as well as new mobs to populate them.

The most recent major update to the nearly 10-year-old game and franchise, which Microsoft acquired in 2014, added ray-traced lighting capabilities to the PC version. That update rolled out in early December.

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