Japanese publishers cancel, delay games after quake

Online play temporarily halted for Metal Gear Online, Final Fantasy XI and XIV; Japanese debut of MotorStorm 3, Yakuza: Of the End bumped; Disaster Report 4 canned.

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Many game publishers have opted to err on the side of caution following the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that caused massive destruction in Northern Japan last week. With that portion of the country reeling from devastation, game makers that include Square Enix, Konami, Sony, Sega, Capcom, and Irem have announced game cancellations, delays, or service outages inside and outside of Japan.

Final Fantasy XIV players will receive a free month of play.
Final Fantasy XIV players will receive a free month of play.

As the earthquake has impacted Japan's energy production, Square Enix said that beginning yesterday, it has taken its massively multiplayer online role-playing games Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV, as well as PlayOnline, offline for at least a week. The publisher apologized for the service disruption on its official forums and said that subscribers to these services would not be billed for the month of April.

Konami announced a similar move for Metal Gear Online. Through its Facebook page, the publisher said that MGS Online was being shut down until further notice so as to conserve energy in Japan. The publisher said that gamers can keep abreast of when the game will be brought back online through its official website.

As for game updates for Japan alone, Andria Sang reports that Irem outright canceled Disaster Report 4, which was due for release on the PlayStation 3 this spring. Though the developer reportedly offered no explanation for the cancellation, it likely stemmed from the game's premise, which was to escape a city that had been wrecked by an earthquake.

Game delays were more prevalent. Andria Sang also reported that Sony has pushed back MotorStorm: Apocalypse in Japan, a game that had been set for release in the region on March 17. Whereas previous installments in the series presented eye-catching natural environments, MotorStorm: Apocalypse is set in an earthquake-ravaged metropolis inspired by the US Pacific coast, specifically the San Francisco Bay Area.

Furthermore, the Japan-centric gaming site reported that Sega has delayed the release of Yakuza: Of the End, which had been slated to arrive in Japan later this week. The game also presented a departure for the series, with this installment in the underground crime drama franchise focusing on a town that has been ravaged by zombies.

Capcom also said that it has delayed the release of downloadable content for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 in Japan. Previously slated for release this week, the add-on would have introduced Resident Evil's Jill Valentine as well as Shuma-Gorath into the cross-over fighter.

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