Square, Koei, Capcom limit E3 attendees over swine flu fears
Publishers restricting foreign travel to international videogame event
Square Enix has confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz that it is only sending a limited number of Japanese staff to E3 in Los Angeles next month, following continued concerns over swine flu.
The publisher joins Capcom and Koei in restricting foreign travel, as cases of swine flu in Japan have reached almost 300 since the global outbreak, prompting the government to advise all citizens to avoid international travel.
"A limited number of executives/employees from Square Enix's headquarters in Japan will be attending E3 this year, given the recent worldwide spread of H1N1 flu," said the company in a statement.
Japanese developer and publisher Koei told Kotaku that it is only sending a small number of Japanese staff to E3, "due to the current nature of and concern over the influenza A (H1N1). As a result, there will be a limited number of staff from the company's Yokohama-based headquarters attending this year's show," added the company.
However, the company will be sending representatives from Koei Canada to discuss a new title due to be seen for the first time at E3.
The advice has already hit the Nordic Games 2009 conference, with Capcom's Keiji Inafune cancelling his session at the event.
Capcom's E3 plans have also been affected, with cutbacks in the number of visiting staff that have meant that Dead Rising 2 will now no longer be on show - although the publisher has indicated to GamesIndustry.biz that the game was not due to be hands-on in any case.
Concerns have also been voiced that the large gathering of international visitors at E3 represents a more general danger of swine flu contagion, but organisers ESA have tried to reassure attendees with a statement saying: "The 2009 E3 Expo is progressing as planned. Public health officials are taking all appropriate steps and we continue to follow their direction on all measures".