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Final Fantasy 16 development delayed ‘almost half a year’ due to COVID-19

Square Enix plans to show more from FF16 in spring 2022

Clive Rosfield prepares to strike with his sword in a still from Final Fantasy 16 Image: Square Enix
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Final Fantasy 16 producer Naoki Yoshida prepared fans of the franchise for a longer wait for that game in an update on development published Monday. Yoshida, who also serves as producer on Final Fantasy 14 Online and the MMO’s recently released Endwalker expansion, said that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted development of Final Fantasy 16, leading to a delay “by almost half a year.”

Square Enix first announced Final Fantasy 16 in September 2020, but did not provide a release window for the PlayStation 5 and Windows PC game. Yoshida and the Final Fantasy 16 team did pledge to offer an update on the highly anticipated game by the end of this year. That reveal has summarily been delayed.

“I promised I would have more information on Final Fantasy XVI sometime later in 2021,” Yoshida said in a statement posted to the Final Fantasy 16 Twitter account Monday. “However, I regret to inform you that I will be unable to keep that promise as complications stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have delayed the game’s development by almost a half year.”

Yoshida said that Final Fantasy 16 “has amassed a sizable team composed of talented creators from around the world” and that to combat the spread of COVID-19, that team has been working from home.

“This has unfortunately hampered communication from the Tokyo office, which, in turn, has to led to delays in — or in extreme cases, cancellations of — asset deliveries from our outsource partners,” Yoshida said. “That said, we have spent much of 2021 addressing this issue and hope to see its impact to a minimum by the new year, allowing us to better focus on the tasks at hand: increasing graphic resource quality, refining combat mechanics, fleshing out individual battles, putting the finishing touches on cutscenes, and conducting overall graphical optimization. Our primary goal is now to be as hands on with the game as possible in order to see it fully polished.”

Yoshida said that the Final Fantasy 16 team plans “to conduct our next big reveal in spring of 2022 as we seek to build excitement leading up to the game’s eventual release.” Yoshida did not offer any additional clarity as to when the game would be released, but fans probably shouldn’t expect the full game in 2022 at this rate.

Here’s Yoshida’s statement in full:

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