After more than a few years in development, Naughty Dog’s anticipated The Last of Us Online has been cancelled.
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In an official blog post, Naughty Dog said that the studio would need to put all its resources into running and maintaining an online game, which would have impacted their ability to develop future single-player games.
“We realize many of you have been anticipating news around the project that we’ve been calling The Last of Us Online. There’s no easy way to say this: We’ve made the incredibly difficult decision to stop development on that game,” the blog post reads.
“The multiplayer team has been in pre-production with this game since we were working on The Last of Us Part II – crafting an experience we felt was unique and had tremendous potential. As the multiplayer team iterated on their concept for The Last of Us Online during this time, their vision crystalized, the gameplay got more refined and satisfying, and we were enthusiastic about the direction in which we were headed.
“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.”
Naughty Dog then went on to confirm that “we have more than one ambitious, brand new single player game that we’re working on” and that “we cannot wait to share more about what comes next when we’re ready.”
Earlier this year, outgoing PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan announced that the brand would focus on live-service games and put its many first-party studios to work to release at least ten games over the next few years. However, it seems that the same studios aren’t quite curious to abandon their modus operandi in developing single-player games just yet, as producing, releasing and maintaining a live-service game is much more difficult and resource-intensive than the studios might be equipped with. It’s unclear if PlayStation still plans to pursue that plan, especially since Jim Ryan is leaving his post in March next year.
It’s also not surprising to see Naughty Dog move away from the multiplayer project. In May, Naughty Dog reportedly scaled back on the development of The Last of Us Online and suffered a round of layoffs that saw nearly two dozen contractors losing their jobs.
In related news, PlayStation had announced The Last of Us Part II Remaster for the PS5, which will feature visual enhancements, a new roguelike gameplay mode called No Return, DualSense implementation, and more. The remaster is scheduled to release on January 19, 2024.
Mufaddal Fakhruddin has been writing about games and technology for the past 15 years. He has lost count as to how many reviews he has written over the years, but he is sure headphone reviews make up at least 70% of that.