This year and last weren’t just the years of gaming reboots, remakes, and remasters, but also years of significant development and release delays, mostly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic really dealt a huge blow to the gaming industry, and not just when it comes to games and their release dates — hardware also suffered massively. Gaming consoles were nowhere to be found, and their scarcity on the market slowly pushes people to frantic attempts to find the cutting-edge gaming equipment; and now the PS5 gaming title, the highly-anticipated Final Fantasy 16, is following the footsteps of its native console — it’s nowhere to be found since it got delayed.
As reported by GamesRadar+, Square Enix decided to push the game’s release to the springtime of 2022, and Final Fantasy 16 producer Naoki Yoshida has apologized to the fandom who has been expecting to hear more about the action RPG game this year. Yoshida, who’s also a producer on Final Fantasy 14, which has been pulled from sales for being awesome, said that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic severely affected the development of Final Fantasy 16, leading to the 6-month delay in development.
Square Enix announced Final Fantasy 16 in September 2020 at a PlayStation showcase, designating the game as a PlayStation 5 exclusive. After that, the company and the aforementioned producer promised fans that more news would follow in early 2021. Still, the information about the game has pretty much been non-existent ever since, and a major no-show at the Tokyo Game Show (TGS), even though the English dub of the game has been recorded, and all scenarios had been written and approved at the time.
It’ll be interesting to see how Final Fantasy 16 fares as a PlayStation 5 exclusive in a market that lacks PlayStation 5s to begin with, and especially now when Sony finally decided to distance itself from exclusive gaming titles. Even the critically acclaimed PlayStation series God of War is coming to the PC. Of course, it’s highly unlikely PlayStation will renounce its exclusiveness so easily, especially since it has been one of the company’s profit drivers. Still, timed exclusives are a good way to reward brand loyalty and make money in other markets as well.
According to Yoshida, Final Fantasy 16 has amassed a sizable team of incredible talent worldwide, which has been working in “at home” conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has hampered communications with the office in Tokyo, which has led to delays and even cancellations of asset deliveries from outsourcing partners. As things currently are, the creative team behind Final Fantasy 16 plans on revealing additional information about the game and perhaps even a gameplay showcase in the spring of 2022.
This means that the game isn’t likely to appear until the second half of 2022 but more likely towards the end of the following year or the beginning of 2023 — at best. Though many would disagree, this is actually good news, as it will allow Yoshida and his team to complete optimizations of the game and improve its visual fidelity and combat mechanics.