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Mojang cuts Minecraft Caves & Cliffs in two, delays half of it until the end of the year

The big Minecraft Caves & Cliffs update that was expected to be out this summer has been delayed—partially, at least. Given the scale of the project, which Mojang said is "the most ambitious" update for Minecraft it has ever developed, it's decided to split the update into two parts, and hold the second part back until the holidays.

Mojang said there are "significant technical challenges" to implementing the update, which among other things overhauls world generation in a way that impacts all of Minecraft's caves and mountains—which, as the studio said, means it could potentially “wreak havoc on your meticulously crafted worlds” if things go seriously wrong. 

"With this feature, we are completely reshaping the Overworld, including the build height," the studio explained. "Not only do we have to consider every effect this can have on the world but also how it will affect performance. Basically, having more stuff in the game also slows it down and we want to avoid that."

The state of the development team itself is also a consideration: The studio would have to crunch pretty hard to have a shot at getting the full update out this summer, and even then there's no guarantee it would happen. Working from home because of the Covid-19 pandemic has made hitting release targets even more challenging: "Because our workflow is so complex and collaborative, not having the option to walk up to someone and ask for help makes everything take longer," the update says.

Specifics of the split weren't shared, but Mojang said that the summer update as it’s now envisioned "will focus on some cute and fun mobs, cool items, and new blocks.” Deeper dives into what it will include will be shared over the coming weeks.

"This was not an easy decision, and we’re also disappointed that some really exciting features are only coming later," Mojang said. "Still, it’s the best possible choice to keep our team healthy, happy, and able to deliver awesome updates for many years to come."

For a closer look at changes to the update, check out the Minecraft Caves & Cliffs Update FAQ.

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.