The Last of Us Online’s development has officially been halted, ending a tumultuous chapter in PlayStation history.
Naughty Dog has been all in on The Last of Us franchise as of late. The studio’s latest release was a remake of the original 2013 title, and an upcoming remaster for The Last of Us Part II set for release in 2024. But The Last of Us Online, a standalone multiplayer game based on the series, will not be a a part of it.
Naughty Dog has been teasing The Last of Us Online, a multiplayer game based on the popular zombie apocalypse series, for over a year. The Last Of Us Online was set in San Francisco, with Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann claiming it would be “as big as any of your single-player games.” It was a bold proclamation but the company now says that the game has been scrapped, a move that closes the door on what had been a point of tension among PlayStation leadership.
Why is The Last Of Us Online canceled?
According to a statement from Naughty Dog, The Last of Us Online was canceled because the team does not want to become live-service game studio.
Naughty Dog didn’t mince words about its reasons behind cutting development on the ambitious multiplayer project. The Last of Us Online was initially met with enthusiasm by the team, and as far as creative reasons go, the studio was confident. However, the scope of a live-service game expected to have post-launch content for years was too much for Naughty Dog.
According to its statement, continuing with The Last of Us Online would have meant draining manpower and resources from other projects. Faced with the difficult choice of becoming a live service studio or focusing on single-player campaigns, Naughty Dog opted for the latter.
Notably, Evan Wells, the current co-president of Naughty Dog, will be retiring by the end of 2023, leaving the company to co-president Neil Druckmann. Wells’ retirement was preceded by the firing of PlayStation executive Connie Booth, who was reportedly blamed for internal strife related to the company seeking to prioritize development of live service games.
Is The Last of Us 3 confirmed?
The Last of Us 3 is not confirmed, but Naughty Dog teased an “ambitious, brand new single-player game” in its statement.
While the news of The Last of Us Online’s cancellation will disappoint some, Naughty Dog hinted at a new project in the works at the studio. Although no further details were revealed, the new game may be The Last of Us 3, given the franchise’s massive popularity right now.
That said, there hasn’t been a new Uncharted game in quite some time. Uncharted is reportedly set to become a greater focus for Sony due to the success of the 2022 film adaptation of the game series. Regardless of what the studio works on next, all eyes will be on Naughty Dog’s future projects.