Coronavirus Concerns Lead Kojima Productions to Also Back Out of GDC

The studio responsible for Death Stranding joins Sony and Facebook in the group that has backed out because of the viral outbreak.

February 24, 2020

Coronavirus concerns have caused another major name to stay away from this year’s Game Developers Conference.

Kojima Productions, in a statement released Monday morning, announced that it has canceled its plans to attend this year’s GDC, joining Sony and Facebook in the group that have backed out because of the viral outbreak.

The developer had two talks scheduled for this year’s event — one on Death Stranding’s design philosophy from director and studio founder Hideo Kojma, and the other a postmortem on creating the game’s artificial intelligence from AI programmer Eric Johnson — both have been axed as a result of this decision.

“Kojima Productions has made the difficult decision to cancel our participation at the 2020 Game Developers Conference due to increasing concerns related to novel coronavirus,” the statement reads. “Although much-anticipated, unfortunately this cancellation also includes Hideo Kojima’s session on the 19th and Eric Johnson’s session on the 16th.”

The coronavirus has plagued mainland China, with confirmed cases having increased to more than 76,000, while more and more diagnoses are being reported in other parts of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Events like GDC routinely bring in thousands of people from all parts of the world, and attendees catching illnesses afterward is a common occurrence. So the apprehension from Kojima Productions — and Sony and Facebook before it — is understandable.

The aforementioned companies may not be the only ones that will opt to stay home either. Should the outbreak continue to get worse, it wouldn’t be surprising to see other developers and publishers elect to avoid the risk and back out.

Coronavirus concerns have also led Sony to cancel its participation at PAX East this week in Boston, and at this rate, could cause uncertainty all around for exhibitors at E3 in June (a show that really can’t afford anymore uncertainty right now).

The outbreak has hit the video game industry in other areas too, affecting manufacturing and distribution for companies like Nintendo and Valve.

The 2020 GDC runs from March 16-20 in San Francisco.


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