Sony has publicly pulled the plug on The Last of Us Part II’s May 29, 2020 release date, via the official PlayStation Twitter account. Naughty Dog’s long-awaited sequel to their 2013 beloved title, The Last of Us, is the first major video game domino to fall in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Also, Sony has cited Marvel’s Iron Man VR as a second title receiving an indefinite delay.
Sony’s Delays were Unavoidable
The reality of the situation is, delays and production stoppages are to be expected across most industries. Our beloved video game industry is not immune to this. That said, fans’ widespread surprise at the news is, at least to an extent, somewhat justified. The Last of Us Part II has already been delayed once. Many believed the added development time was allocated to work out some of the game’s final kinks.
This news is upsetting. 2020 was shaping up to be a landmark year for video games, yet delays before and after the initial COVID-19 outbreak have been detrimental. The industry has already seen delays affect Marvel’s Avengers and CD Projekt RED’s Cyberpunk 2077, not to mention smaller delays in Final Fantasy VII Remake and March’s Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
Difficult Times Birth Difficult Decisions
Putting all of the frustration aside, this news was visible from miles away. Extenuating challenges have arisen across all industries, and right now, they are the new normal. Logistical issues in the development side of gaming have been ablaze, and show no sign of a ceasefire. Given current group-gathering restrictions and social distancing policies, assembling appropriate teams has been a challenge for developers.
Additionally, distribution is also taking a hit. With the rise of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the increase of homebodies, a Nintendo Switch console is nearly impossible to come by. On the games side, Square Enix has initiated early releases for Final Fantasy VII Remake in Europe and Australia in hopes of preventing anticipated shipping delays.
Sony, as expected, cited the global crisis and logistic issues as the main reasons for the delay. The gaming juggernaut wants to give its players the best experience possible. However, the fact of the matter is, right now, they can’t.
The Last of Us Part II will come…eventually
There’s no way to know how the state of things will look by the end of May. Truth be told, it was in Sony’s best interest to get ahead of this and announce the delay earlier rather than later. We, as gamers and fans, must remember that this is out of Sony and Naughty Dog’s control. I know the delay is a tough pill to swallow, but employee safety is more important right now.
Going forward, more games are sure to face similar adversities and delays. Remember, these decisions are prioritizing safety and product quality. The best we can all do right now is get a digital copy of Final Fantasy VII Remake, and take our time riding out the storm.