Minecraft Birch Forest update and Fireflies are no more

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On May 10, 2022, Mojang staff announced that two highly-anticipated new features that were teased in Minecraft Live 2021 were no longer coming to the sandbox survival – the Birch Forest update, and glittering Fireflies.

We’ve experienced things being pushed back in Minecraft Updates before. In fact, The Wild Update itself containing what it does was the reason for the delay on the Warden. The terrifying mob’s new habitat, and new items – such as the Echo Shard – meant Mojang took longer to perfect it than they were expecting. And they’ve done an incredible job, as always. Sadly, this latest announcement has resulted in a backlash from the community. And, while we’re certainly saddened, it’s not a reason to take it out on the hardworking game devs.

What happened to the Minecraft Birch Forest update?

Mojang suggested there would be an update to Birch Forest during Minecraft Live 2021 when a concept image of the new biome was shown.

While talking about The Wild Update and the Minecraft atmosphere, Agnes Larsson, Vanilla Minecraft Game Director, suggested that Mojang had plans to change Birch Forests, making them more light and airy. There was mention of Birch trees being made taller so that light could reach the ground, and the concept art seemed to show mushrooms growing from the Birch bark. However, and this is important, Larsson never actually said this update would come in The Wild Update, simply using it as an example of how Mojang studios imagines the future of “immersive” Minecraft.

It doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, then, that this new Birch Forest update is on hold indefinitely. In an Ask Mojang video shared on May 10, 2022, Producer Anna Lundgren confirmed that the changes to the Birch Forest have been benched, stating “concept art is not a commitment, and birch forest improvement is not something that we have continued working with,” suggesting there are no plans to pick it back up in the future.

And when are we getting Fireflies in Minecraft?

For fans of the Minecraft Firefly, though, things are hopefully a little more positive. We have to admit, for us, Fireflies were the highlight of the Minecraft Live 2021 announcements, adding a beautiful, ethereal atmosphere to Minecraft after nightfall. However, they, too, will not be added to Minecraft as part of the Wild Update. In the same clip in which Lundgren addresses the Birch Forests, the Producer also answers the question about Fireflies.

Fireflies were originally announced as the food source for new Minecraft passive mob, Frogs. However, as we know from Java snapshot 22w11a and Bedrock beta 1.18.30.22, when Froglights were first released, Frogs now consume small Slimes and Magma Cubes, with Fireflies nowhere to be seen. This, according to Lundgren, is because fans were quick to point out that some species of Firefly can be poisonous to frogs and toads in real life, and they quickly became something Mojang didn’t want to put into the game. While scrapped for the Wild Update, and as a food source for Frogs, Mojang recognizes Minecraft Fireflies are “super interesting as an idea and as a concept,” and remain part of the studio’s “ideas library”. Hopefully, this means we will eventually see a return for Fireflies in Minecraft.

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