Following Sony's recent announcement that they are pulling completely out of PAX East and GDC this year due to rising coronavirus health concerns, Square Enix has made their own statement about the majority of their planned events being canned as well.
While the Final Fantasy booth will still remain on the showroom floor, the rest of their planned PAX East activities have been laid to rest. For those that were looking forward to some of the itinerary that Square offered, here's what they have confirmed about what's been cancelled:
- Panel Session: The Artwork of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Look Behind the Screen
We will be cancelling the on-stage panel session due to the absence of the staff members who were scheduled to attend. However, we will be hosting a livestream live from Japan (in English & Japanese) that our fans can view on Saturday, February 29 at 8:00 PM ET on the FINAL FANTASY XIV Twitch channel.
- Developer Signing Sessions & Photo Opp
We will be cancelling the signing sessions and photo opportunities, scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 29 and Sunday, March 1.
- Fan Gathering
We have also cancelled our planned PAX East fan gathering event, slated for Friday, February 28. We are looking forward to hosting future fan gatherings in North America and we’ll share more details on dates and locations in the future.
For those wanting to scoop up merch and experience a more retail Final Fantasy experience, the Final Fantasy XIV booth (#15010) will still be available with photo opportunities and a Ruby Weapon Battle Challenge.
Square's cancellation comes hot on the heels of Sony's announcement, with their earlier statement citing similar concerns for the reasons behind their withdrawal. According to their statement, "Today, Sony Interactive Entertainment made the decision to cancel its participation at PAX East in Boston this year due to increasing concerns related to COVID-19 (also known as “novel coronavirus”). We felt this was the safest option as the situation is changing daily. We are disappointed to cancel our participation in this event, but the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern."
While the news would bum anyone out, it's good to see the company taking whatever measures they see fit to make sure that their people are taken care in terms of safety. While in the US it hasn't been as big of an issue with isolated breakouts that were caught in time, that doesn't stop the fact that internationally the death toll is staggering and when traveling internationally, that exposure increases exponentially.
As for PAX East, sans PlayStation, the celebration begins on February 28th in Boston.