Naughty Dog Abandons Online Multiplayer Version of ‘The Last of Us’

In October we reported that Naughty Dog had paused development of the multiplayer version of their flagship franchise, The Last of Us. The acclaimed video game studio has now formally announced the cancellation of ‘The Last of Us Online,’ a project initially aimed at expanding the franchise into the realm of online multiplayer gaming.

Naughty Dog revealed in a recent statement that continuing with ‘The Last of Us Online’ would have required a substantial long-term resource allocation, potentially hindering the development of future standalone games in the series. The studio had a decision to make: transition into exclusively producing live service games or maintain its focus on crafting single-player narrative experiences, a hallmark of Naughty Dog’s reputation. Ultimately, the studio chose to prioritize single-player game development.

The inception of ‘The Last of Us Online’ coincided with the development of ‘The Last of Us Part II,’ which was released in 2020. The potential issues surrounding the online project were hinted at in a May update from the studio, indicating the need for more development time.

The original ‘The Last of Us’ game, released in 2013, is known for its captivating storyline, which follows a man and a young girl navigating a post-apocalyptic America devastated by a catastrophic fungal infection. This narrative was also the basis for a successful 2023 television adaptation that garnered significant acclaim and numerous Emmy nominations.

The cancellation of ‘The Last of Us Online’ has been particularly disappointing for fans of ‘The Last of Us Factions,’ a limited online multiplayer mode included in some versions of the original game. The gaming community has expressed mixed reactions to Naughty Dog’s announcement, with some supporting the focus on single-player experiences and others questioning the studio’s planning and management of the project.

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