Bungie has chosen to close its offices, resulting from the spread of coronavirus into the country and a “particular density of cases” confirmed in the greater Seattle area (via DualShockers).
COVID-19 is a new form of a coronavirus, and it emerged in Wuhan, China, in December. Since then, the outbreak has been confirmed in South Korea, Italy, Iran, Japan, the United States, and other countries across the globe. At the time of writing, there are almost 100,000 cases and over 3,000 deaths, with 55,000 people recovering from their condition. The mode of transmission is through droplets from coughing, sneezing, and talking, hence the quarantines and travel restrictions that have been enacted in numerous places to contain the spread of the virus. Though research is underway, there is no vaccine or antiviral treatment for COVID-19.
“While health and safety are our top priority, we also recognize the importance of maintaining the continuity of our regular Bungie business operations and have rapidly built a remote work infrastructure to best support this,” announced the developer in a blog post. “This includes delivering on our current content plans, the maintenance and upkeep of Destiny 2, as well as continuing development of the game.”
The “fully remote work infrastructure” is now live to balance “prioritizing the safety of our employees and continuing to develop and deliver on a game we love for our community.” Of course, these plans may “affect our patching cadence in the short term,” but Season of the Worth and Trials of Osiris are on track for March 10 and March 13, respectively. Bungie also stated that, should the Seattle situation improve, developers will be brought back to the office posthaste with little to no hassle. It admits that this is “a big change,” but it views it as “an opportunity to stretch our ability to create and deliver the same kind of quality gaming experiences we always have in a new way.” In its closing sentence, it told the Destiny community to “be well, take care of yourself, and see you online.”
Niantic, the developer of Pokémon Go, has also reacted to the spread of coronavirus and attempted to reduce risk posed to players. The March Community Day has been cancelled in Italy, Japan, and South Korea, and the game will offer discounts on Incense (an item that boosts spawns of Pokémon around the player’s location) and increased encounters for legendaries in the Battle League.