Quake Knocks Japanese Games Offline, Delays Release of Others

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The ongoing earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan’s eastern regions have video games companies temporarily shuttering online game servers and delaying imminent releases.

Final Fantasy publisher Square Enix said it would shut down online roleplaying games Final Fantasy XIV and Final Fantasy XI, as well as its PlayOnline service, to help conserve power. The company plans to suspend the games for “at least a week,” from March 13 at 3:00 PDT, and said players would not be billed for any PlayOnline services through the April billing cycle.

In a statement on Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO)’s homepage, the power utility noted that its facilities had been “seriously damaged” and that “power shortage[s] may occur.” TEPCO is urging customers to reduce electricity consumption by “avoiding using unnecessary lighting and electrical equipment.”

TEPCO is Japan’s largest electric utility and services the country’s Kantō region, Yamanashi Prefecture, and the eastern portion of Shizuoka Prefecture. The company runs both the Fukushima I and II nuclear power plants, both of which were damaged (Fukushima I, severely) by a tsunami following the March 11 earthquake.

Japan’s prime minster has called the earthquake the country’s “worst disaster since World War II.”

It’s also causing serious game delays, and according to Japan gaming news-watcher Andriasang, in at least one case it’s led to a full-on cancellation.

A couple of character content downloads for Capcom’s Marvel vs. Capcom 3 fighting game have been delayed from their scheduled March 15 release, though it’s not yet clear if the delay includes regions other than Japan.

Sony’s Motorstorm Apocalypse, a racing game due on March 17 was delayed indefinitely. The game had already been delayed in New Zealand, following the magnitude 6.3 quake that occurred in that country on February 22.

Sega’s Yakuza Of the End, a zombie-themed fighting game in the Yakuza series, was bumped from its March 17 release to TBA status.

Microsoft said it would cancel its “Kinect Experience Caravan Car Event,” a tour of Japan set to kick off March 19. The company’s also delaying a few Xbox 360 items, including the release of EA’s Dragon Age Origins roleplaying expansion, “Awakening.”

And Japanese developer/publisher Irem said it was canceling Disaster Report 4, the fourth in a series of games that challenge players to avoid hazards in the wake of catastrophes like earthquakes and floods.

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