The Last of Us won’t be returning to its multiplayer side after all. Naughty Dog confirmed today that it has stopped development on what it’s been calling The Last of Us Online, a multiplayer TLOU experience.
The project has been in development for some time, with Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann taking the stage at Summer Game Fest 2022 to talk about it. Outside of concept art, the multiplayer endeavor has been mostly quiet, with the team saying it needed more time earlier this year.
In today’s statement, the studio explains some of its reasoning behind the decision to call off The Last of Us Online. The multiplayer team had been in pre-production since the studio was working on The Last of Us Part II. But as production continued, the size of what lay before them became a little more clear.
“In ramping up to full production, the massive scope of our ambition became clear. To release and support The Last of Us Online we’d have to put all our studio resources behind supporting post launch content for years to come, severely impacting development on future single-player games. So, we had two paths in front of us: become a solely live service games studio or continue to focus on single-player narrative games that have defined Naughty Dog’s heritage.”
With that, it sounds like Naughty Dog is sticking to single-player offerings. The studio states it has “more than one ambitious, brand new single player game” it is working one, and will share more when the team is ready.
What’s left of us
While fans of the story-driven offerings from Naughty Dog might be relieved at that statement, it is an interesting wrinkle in the live-service plans of Sony. In 2022, Sony was queued up to deliver a giant swath of live-service titles, with 12 arriving by the end of its fiscal year 2025.
Last month, though, Sony delayed half of that slate. That, coupled with prior reports about The Last of Us‘ multiplayer setbacks, makes the whole live-service plan look shaky. Reports also came out about Bungie, another Sony studio working on the massive live-service FPS Destiny 2, and the struggles that studio is encountering following a wave of layoffs.
For The Last of Us, at least, there is some sun on the horizon. Naughty Dog is releasing The Last of Us Part II Remastered for PS5 very soon, with some lost levels and a new roguelike mode. It might be enough to soften the blow for the weary Factions hopefuls.
Eric Van Allen
Senior Editor – While Eric’s been writing about games since 2014, he’s been playing them for a lot longer. Usually found grinding RPG battles, digging into an indie gem, or hanging out around the Limsa Aethryte.