Best answer: The Caves & Cliffs Update, one of the largest updates for Minecraft ever, has been split into two parts and partially delayed. Instead of the initial "Summer 2021" release window, Mojang Studios is releasing the Caves & Cliffs Update in two separate parts. Part I of the Caves & Cliffs Update officially releases on June 8, 2021, and mostly contains new mobs and blocks. The larger second half does not have a confirmed release date yet, but is expected to arrive in Winter 2021.
The road to Caves & Cliffs
Minecraft is a global phenomenon of a game, and continues to grow and evolve year over year. Back at Minecon 2019, Mojang Studios laid out a busy year for their open-world survival sandbox with two updates: the minor and adorable Buzzy Bees Update, followed by the absolutely massive and disruptive Nether Update. This followed a traditional tick/tock update cadence where Mojang Studios rotated between smaller and larger releases.
During Minecon 2019, Mojang Studios also held a vote that let the community decide which popular biome would receive an overhaul next. The mountain biome won, and Minecrafters assumed that this would be one of the two updates slated for 2020. At Minecraft Live 2020, Mojang Studios both confirmed this speculation and shirked expectations with the announcement of the incredibly ambitious Caves & Cliffs Update.
Instead of releasing two smaller updates throughout the year, Mojang Studios decided to combine two releases into one mega update. The Caves & Cliffs Update will deliver the promised makeover for the mountain biome while also completely overhauling the classic but outdated mining experience in Minecraft. Because of the aspirations of the Caves & Cliffs Update for Minecraft, however, Mojang Studios needs extra time to make it all happen.
Unfortunately, this ambitious plan hasn't panned out for Mojang Studios, as the Caves & Cliffs Update has been split into two pieces spread out over the rest of 2021.
Minecraft Caves & Cliffs release date and time
The entire Caves & Cliffs Update does not have a definitive release date yet. Mojang Studios still has a lot of work ahead of them to develop, test, and polish the ludicrous number of features and changes coming in the Caves & Cliffs Update. Mojang Studios also needs to take into consideration the wellbeing of its employees, and the overall landscape in the video game industry.
That being said, Part I of the Caves & Cliffs Update is launching for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition and Java Edition on June 8, 2021, with a sizeable number of additions, including three new mobs and up to 91 new blocks and items. While Mojang hasn't detailed a formal launch time for the Caves and Cliffs update, we're expecting availability around 10AM ET / 7AM PT / 3PM BST / 4PM CEST, based on past releases.
This is the smaller half of the massive Caves & Cliffs Update, with the second half needing a ton of additional development time. Part II of the Caves & Cliffs Update does not have a release date yet, but it does have a release window of Winter 2021.
As we get closer to the launch of the Caves & Cliffs Update, we'll be able to make more educated guesses. Mojang Studios will also certainly release additional information over time. Until then, Mojang Studios will slowly release and test features through Minecraft: Bedrock Edition betas and Minecraft: Java Edition snapshots.
Part I of the Caves & Cliffs Update is right around the corner, but Part II is still far from being set in stone. Delays for video games are becoming increasingly common because of the difficulty transitioning to a work-from-home structure, so it's possible for Part II of the Caves & Cliffs Update to slip even later than Winter 2021. The wild archaeology system planned to arrive with the Caves & Cliffs Update has been indefinitely delayed beyond the Caves & Cliffs Update, for example.
Development on Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons may continue to be affected by the increase of employees working from home. The scope of the Caves & Cliffs Update also increased the chances of a delay, as severe technical complexities and challenges need to be overcome to deliver a polished and fun experience for players.
The first half of the Caves & Cliffs Update is actually arriving earlier than many players expected, which should give Mojang Studios plenty of time to work on the huge list of new features and content planned in the second half of the Caves & Cliffs Update. June 8, 2021, isn't even considered "summer" for many people, so this hopefully means Mojang Studios is ahead of schedule on the Caves & Cliffs Update. Still, Part II of the Caves & Cliffs Update is expected to be significantly bigger and more ambitious.
Because of this, matters are a little muddier for the second half of the Caves & Cliffs Update. Right now, the update has been delayed until the Holidays, or Winter 2021. However, the most significant and ambitious features of the Caves & Cliffs Update have all been moved to this second release, meaning the chances of a second delay aren't out of the question. The second update for the Caves & Cliffs Update will include significant world generation changes for mountains and caves, increased world sizes, and much more like the Deep Dark and Warden mini-boss mob.
Finally, the new archeology system that was supposed to debut with the Caves & Cliffs Update has been indefinitely delayed and won't arrive until sometime in 2022 at the earliest.
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Minecraft is an inarguable and complete success. It has sold copies in the hundreds of millions, has a huge following of dedicated players, and lets you unlock your every creative desire. Minecraft is shaking things up with the Caves & Cliffs Update, which plans to add an astronomical number of new features to this already packed game.
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