Naughty Dog’s planned multiplayer game set in the world of The Last of Us is no more. The studio announced Thursday that it has “made the incredibly difficult decision to stop development on” what it’s been calling The Last of Us Online.
“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,” the studio said in a post on its website. “We’re equally crushed at the studio as we were looking forward to putting it in your hands.”
The Last of Us Online was, at one point, supposed to be revealed to the public this year. The studio had released a handful of pieces of concept art for the game, but never showed gameplay.
Naughty Dog said developers at the studio had been in pre-production on The Last of Us Online since the development of The Last of Us Part 2, which it shipped in 2020. The online game was “unique and had tremendous potential,” the studio said, but it was also a daunting task that it did not have the resources to dedicate to.
“In ramping up to full production, the massive scope of our ambition became clear,” the developer explained. “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 does have a separate and brand-new single-player game in the works; the studio teased this project back in May when it told fans The Last of Us Online needed more time to develop. The studio also plans to release The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered for PlayStation 5 in January.
In its announcement, Naughty Dog provided a silver lining for The Last of Us Online’s formal cancellation: “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.”
The original The Last of Us launched with multiplayer component of its own back in 2013, which was also available in the PlayStation 4 version, The Last of Us Remastered. TLOU’s Factions mode used deathmatch and team deathmatch game types found in many multiplayer games, and layered a metagame and story on top.