Given the success of Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us” franchise, it was only a matter of time before fans were treated to a spin-off title, which originally was meant to arrive in the form of a multiplayer game. However, it seems that things have now changed moving forward, with Naughty Dog cancelling the much-anticipated expansion to the franchise.
Naughty Dog clarified that it was focusing on single-player games moving forward. In a lengthy statement from the studio:
“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 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,” explained Naughty Dog. “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.”
Multiplayer woes aside, the franchise has enjoyed continued success among fans and the general gaming community, and even spawned a TV series based on the game’s events.
Going back to the multiplayer game, it seems that the the title has had a rocky journey all throughout, with Naughty Dog scaling back on development following an internal review from Bungie, followed by several staff layoffs, with the game eventually being put on hold. At the moment, the studio’s next big release will be The Last of Us 2 Remastered, which is scheduled for launch on the PS5 later in January.