If your plans for PAX East hinged upon seeing the nice people from Square Enix at the Final Fantasy XIV Art panel, then I am afraid I have some bad news for you. It’s been canceled.
According to an update provided by Square Enix:
“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 traveling 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.”
At present, everyone at Square HQ is still ok. They will just be doing a live stream from Japan now (in both English and Japanese) in place of the panel. In addition to the loss of the panel, Square will also be canceling the developer signing and the fan gathering. The Final Fantasy XIV booth will still be there, where attendees will have the opportunity to battle the new Ruby Weapon and win a t-shirt for their troubles along with a small variety of other PAX friendly activities. All other Square Enix events at PAX East will remain unaffected.
Square pulling their developers out of the event might seem a little overkill to some, but to those nearer the source of the outbreak, the Coronavirus is becoming a legitimate threat and concern. Between rising cases in South Korea and the Japanese government suspending all current large gatherings, things are beginning to get pretty scary on the other side of the globe.
If you’ve got loved ones anywhere in Asia, maybe consider giving them a call if you haven’t already. Stay safe out there, everybody.