Minecraft Caves & Cliffs Update Split Into Two, First Part Coming This Summer

Mojang chalks the delay up to quality control, technical hurdles, and the health of the team.

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Minecraft's big Caves & Cliffs update that had been planned for summer has instead been split into two separate updates. The first part will still arrive in the summer, but the much bigger changes will come in a second update planned for the holiday season. Mojang explained the move, saying that the ambition of the update has made it difficult to stick to the original timeline.

"We know this news is disappointing to many of you, but there are several reasons for this change," Mojang said in a statement. "Firstly, we strive to deliver the most polished experience possible, and including all the Caves & Cliffs features in the summer update would have meant compromising on quality. And even though occasional bugs are a reality of game development, we want this update to be an amazing experience, not wreak havoc on your meticulously crafted worlds."

In particular, Mojang said, the update is slated to introduce a complete overhaul to the overworld generation, which also naturally impacts caves and mountains. "Not only do we have to consider every effect this can have on the world but also how it will affect performance. Basically, having more stuff in the game also slows it down and we want to avoid that."

Finally, it said that finishing the update by this summer would require very long hours, suggesting that part of the decision was to avoid crunch. And of course, the pandemic compounds these problems, both in terms of morale and hindering teamwork. The studio said that not having the ability to talk with coworkers "makes everything take longer."

The team promised to feature deep dives on the Caves & Cliffs update in the coming weeks. In a video accompanying the announcement, the team said the first update will focus more on blocks and mobs instead of world generation, including some adjustments to resources like copper and geodes.

As originally described, the Caves & Cliffs update was to feature more varied cave interiors and smarter mountain generation. There will be more to do inside those caves, like using archeology tools to dig for ruins and artifacts. Now for example, with the update being split in two, mobs like the mountain goats will appear in the summer update, while the improved mountains themselves will be saved for the winter update.

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