The latest, and largest, expansion to the critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV, Endwalker, has been delayed. It was initially expected to launch on November 23rd but will now drop on December 7th, with early access being granted on the 3rd to those who preordered it. The slight delay was announced by game director Naoki Yoshida today in the latest Letter from the Producer broadcast, causing a wave of support and some disappointment across social media.
Yoshida-san, who was visibly upset over the announcement, explained that Endwalker‘s size had caused longer than anticipated QA time and that if they wanted to do it right, they needed the extra two weeks. Endwalker is being touted as not only the largest of the game’s several expansions (its word count is reportedly 1.5x the size of Shadowbringers before it) but also the subtlest, concluding countless narrative threads. Yoshida-san noted that while the content of the expansion is on track, the team want to be sure that Endwalker‘s smallest details feel polished also.
While the announcement is undoubtedly disappointing, in the grand scheme of 2021’s gaming delays, it isn’t the end of the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered the production timeline of much of the industry as it adapts to work from home setups and the new reality we’ve all had to abide by. In a time when crunch is never far from anyone’s mind in the AAA space, Yoshida-san and the team acknowledging that they simply need to take the time to get this right should be applauded.
My personal journey with Final Fantasy XIV feels like it started a lifetime ago; the humble begins of which have now fully transformed into a staggering adoration of the game. Speaking just for myself, this delay will allow me just enough time to fully catch up to other plays in the story. This is a thrilling concept for someone who has had naught but annoying people in DMs as his only outlet for his Dragonsong tears. Look out for my wordy, emotional thoughts on that truncated experience soon.
For others, this delay has come as a bit of sore news in an already exhausting year. Several of my mates had planned time off work to play Endwalker, and if Twitter is any indication they were not alone in this plan. Amid these frustrated Tweets though there is an unprecedented amount of support for Yoshida-san and the team, a relationship between creators and fans built off years of good faith and trust. It’s touching stuff, the kind of empathy more Gamers™ could do with when it comes to treating developers as people first and foremost.
Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker launches on December 7th, keep an eye on PowerUp! for our rolling coverage of the game.