Capcom and Square Enix are the latest companies to revise their PAX East plans amid coronavirus fears.
While there will be some representatives from both companies at the convention, developers and staff that had been intending to fly in from Asia will no longer be attending.
“Unfortunately, our guests from the [Monster Hunter] dev team will no longer be able to attend the event,” Capcom tweeted. “We will no longer have an autograph session but are still planning to share Iceborne news. Our sincere apologies for [the] inconvenience!”
An update on MH Festa: Boston 2020:
Unfortunately, our guests from the MH dev team will no longer be able to attend the event. We will no longer have an autograph session but are still planning to share #Iceborne news.
Our sincere apologies for inconvenience! pic.twitter.com/DVpQugYieS
— Capcom USA (@CapcomUSA_) February 20, 2020
Square Enix posted an update on its Final Fantasy 14 subsite, stating that because “the coronavirus is spreading within the East Asia region”, a planned panel, developer signing, and fan gathering have now all been cancelled.
“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.”
Sony pulled out of PAX East last week, just a few days after confirming the company would be at the convention with several of its upcoming games, including Naughty Dog’s highly anticipated The Last of Us Part 2. Sony revealed “the safest option” was to “cancel its participation”, adding “the health and safety of our global workforce is our highest concern”.
Consequently, Marty Walsh, the mayor of Boston – which is the US city that hosts PAX East – sent a letter to Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida stating that the decision to pull out of the convention only served to reinforce “harmful stereotypes that generations of Asians have worked hard to dismantle”, stating it was going ahead with the show in order to “dispel these harmful and misguided fears”.
The world’s biggest mobile phone show, Mobile World Congress (MWC), was cancelled after organiser GSMA said that fears concerning the coronavirus outbreak had made it “impossible” for the event to proceed.
At the time of writing, GDC – which is scheduled to run next month – is still going ahead, stating “based on the strict U.S. quarantine around coronavirus and a large number of enhanced on-site measures, we are confident we can execute a safe and successful event for our community”. However, Kojima Productions, Sony, EA, and Facebook – which owns Oculus – have all pulled out of GDC.