SNK has officially delayed the release of King of Fighters XV into the first quarter of 2022.
The game was originally slated to launch in late 2021, but the developers have decided to push it back into Q1 2022 due to ongoing issues with COVID-19 in Japan.
In the last three months, Japan has seen a steady rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, peaking at more than 7,000 cases on May 9, according to the World Health Organization and several other data groups. This has caused the country to enact more safety measures for people and businesses, with some being placed under a state of emergency for extended periods of time.
Because of the continued need to adapt and work around a pandemic, SNK has decided to push its development timeline back so the KoF team can put out the best product possible without compromising to meet a date.
“The development timeline we set out to reach in the beginning has been affected by the ever-still rising cases of COVID-19 within Japan,” SNK said. “We have made the ultimate decision in the end that the product’s quality must come first, and so with that decision comes an altered release window.”
According to The Japan Times, since Japan’s vaccination program was launched in February, only around 7 percent of the country’s 126 million people have received at least one dose.
It is unclear if this will impact the continued release of teaser and reveal videos that SNK posts almost every Wednesday for KoF XV, but we likely won’t be seeing extended gameplay for some time due to this delay.