The latest company to join Sony in pulling its PAX East 2020 attendance is Square Enix. Though, it will not be completely skipping the show in its entirety. Instead, the Japanese company has pulled many of its Final Fantasy XIV-related events from the show, due to concerns over COVID-19 (colloquially referred to as coronavirus). Specifically, the FFXIV staff who had planned to travel to Boston for PAX East from Japan will not be attending.
Square Enix issued a statement on the official Final Fantasy XIV page:
As the community may be aware, COVID-19 (also known as “novel coronavirus”) is spreading within the East Asia region. Taking into consideration the current situation within the region, sadly SQUARE ENIX has decided to cancel the PAX East attendance of staff who would be travelling from the Japan offices. This difficult decision was based on our desire to prevent any potential spread of the virus and to prioritize the health and safety of our team and our fans.
Here are the FFXIV activities that have been altered/canceled, as noted by Square Enix:
- 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.
Those attending PAX East 2020 can still get their hands on a playable version of Final Fantasy VII Remake, with photo ops, giveaways, and other activities to participate in. The company’s upcoming Outriders will also make an appearance via a panel featuring the game’s lead writer and other members of People Can Fly.
It’s unknown if Square Enix also plans to limit its attendance at GDC 2020 due to coronavirus. Sony announced yesterday that PlayStation would not be at the developer-focused event in March, though no other big names have pulled out of that conference just yet.
PAX East 2020 is scheduled to run from February 27 – March 1, 2020.