In shocking news, Naughty Dog has just revealed that The Last of Us multiplayer project, which has been in a kind of development limbo for some time now, has been outright shelved.
The developer has said it made the tough decision between pivoting to being a solely live service-focused studio in order to properly release and support the ambitious project long-term, or refocus its efforts on the single-player narrative experiences that it’s known for. Naughty Dog also confirmed it has more than one single-player project in development currently.
“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.
“We know this news will be tough for many, especially our dedicated The Last of Us Factions community, who have been following our multiplayer ambitions ardently. We’re equally crushed at the studio as we were looking forward to putting it in your hands. We wanted to share with you some background of how we came to this decision.
“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.
“We are immensely proud of everyone at the studio that touched this project. The learnings and investments in technology from this game will carry into how we develop our projects and will be invaluable in the direction we are headed as a studio. We have more than one ambitious, brand new single player game that we’re working on here at Naughty Dog, and we cannot wait to share more about what comes next when we’re ready.
“Until then, we’re incredibly thankful to our community for your support throughout the years.”