Last week, the long-awaited news of The Outer Worlds’ Nintendo Switch release date finally broke.
The emphatic and colourful Obsidian Entertainment title was slated to hit the virtual shelves of the Nintendo eShop on 6 March – the same day as the next big Pokémon release. However, that date has now been pushed back.
Via an announcement on Twitter, publishers Private Division say that the development of the Nintendo Switch port of The Outer Worlds has come to a halt due to the coronavirus. Other video game companies are also set to experience delays in production due to the outbreak.
Private Division announces The Outer Worlds delay
On 6 February, Private Division states that the presence of the coronavirus in the East Asian region has resulted in the studio in charge of developing the port, Virtuos, needing to close their office.
Video game developers Virtuos are based in Singapore and have co-developed games like Spyro: Reignited Trilogy, Horizon Zero Dawn, Jurassic World: Evolution, and two parts of the most recent Tomb Raider trilogy. They are also behind other Switch versions of games, such as Final Fantasy X, Starlink: Battle for Atlas, and Dark Souls Remastered.
As it stands, per CNBC, the city-state of Singapore has confirmed 30 cases of coronavirus. As such, closing the Virtuos offices is a necessary step to help try to slow down the spread of the virus.
To avoid crunch and forcing the Vituos team to go into work in such a situation, Private Division made the right call to delay the release of The Outer Worlds on Nintendo Switch. The publishers did clarify that the team itself is “ok,” and that a new launch date will be announced shortly.
In a dose of good news for Nintendo Switch players, they’ll also be able to get a physical, cartridge copy of the game at launch. Due to the sheer size of The Outer Worlds on other consoles, many Switch players requested that Private Division brought the game to cartridge as well as the eShop.
The extended development window rightfully gives Virtuos more time, allows the publishers to get a cartridge copy underway, and it’ll push The Outer Worlds back from coming out on the same day as a Pokémon game.
Coronavirus set to cause more gaming delays
Japanese company Nintendo relies heavily on China as a part of its supply chain, warning that delays caused by the coronavirus will hit the production of the Joy-Con controllers and Ring Fit Adventure accessories.
As relayed by the Financial Times, demand for Ring Fit Adventure is already much greater than expected, with customers in Asia having to sign-up to long waiting lists to get the product even before this announcement of delays.
Nintendo did, however, shift its console production from China to Vietnam to help limit the company’s exposure to the US-China trade war. That said, China is still a core component of Nintendo’s production, with the Animal Crossing-themed variant of the Nintendo Switch console now seeing its pre-order availability delayed.
Nintendo isn’t the only video game company hit by the coronavirus outbreak, however, with Sony and Microsoft manufacturing their upcoming next-gen consoles and accessories in China. Due to China being hit the hardest by the outbreak, with over 28,000 people reported as infected to date, both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X could experience delays.
While the world tries to get the coronavirus under control, video game developers, publishers, and players are going to have to except that delays will occur.
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