COVID-19 results in mass delays across the film and video game industries

An upcoming action-adventure game developed by the creators of the

Photo courtesy of Sony Interactive Entertainment

An upcoming action-adventure game developed by the creators of the “Infamous” game series, Sucker Punch Productions, “Ghosts of Tsushima” follows Jin Sakai, a samurai of Tsushima island, during the Mongol’s first invasion of Japan. While originally set for a PlayStation exclusive release on June 26, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has delayed it to July 17.

With the advent of COVID-19, the world has been left in a state of disarray. With the disruption of the global economy, both the game and film industries have seen mass delays as a result. Due to China playing a major role in both the virus and the entertainment industry, studios around the world have had to scramble, delaying or even cancelling production. Films like “A Quiet Place Part II” and “Black Widow” have seen multi-month delays, with extreme cases like the X-Men spin-off, “The New Mutants,” not even having a new release date. On the gaming side of things, the long-anticipated “The Last of Us Part II” was unfortunately pushed back to a tentative June 19 release date, which was further exacerbated by a game leak from hackers. Other games, like “Minecraft Dungeons,” “Fallout 76: Wastelanders” and “Ghosts of Tsushima” have also been pushed back. For students at WJ, the delays have been frustrating, to say the least.

“While the games I enjoy haven’t been impacted by the delays, I have friends who are pretty annoyed by them,” senior Damir Pimenov said.

At the same time, like those in many occupations, game developers still have to work at home, which can cause issues when handling live service games, which constantly require maintenance and new content to keep player retention. In the esports scene, many tournaments and competitions have been either postponed or restructured to fit an online format, drastically affecting future schedules later in the year.

Fortunately, games like “Persona 5 Royal” and “Final Fantasy VII Remake” were able to be completed and shipped out before the coronavirus greatly impacted production and shipping, although “Final Fantasy VII Remake” did see staggered releases outside of Japan due to the virus. As a result of the worldwide quarantines and unfortunate layoffs, gamers have had more time to fully enjoy the games they enjoy playing. Player counts across various games and launchers have spiked with every quarantine. In tandem, streaming sites like Twitch have seen more viewers with the target audience, teenagers, being able to spend more time watching. However, with this massive influx of players, servers for popular games like “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” and “Destiny 2” have been bogged down due to the spike in player count, with games like “Destiny 2,” which already had existing connection issues, often seeing players crashing and encountering error codes every few hours or so.

On the film and TV side of things, while the aforementioned delays have become a discouraging inconvenience for investors and Hollywood executives, there have been some unforeseen benefits as well. The widely lauded Disney+ has seen spikes in viewership, with more films being added to the subscription, and the long-awaited final season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” being aired every Friday. Out of nowhere, “Trolls World Tour” shattered expectations, grossing $346 million worldwide against a $90 million investment with a home release.

While times are certainly tough right now, for the foreseeable future, students and their families won’t have to worry about their existing entertainment being disrupted.