The Last of Us Multiplayer has seen the most troublesome development cycle for a Naughty Dog game yet. While it was initially planned to be released alongside The Last of Us Part 2, the developers decided to make it a standalone project.
Over three years after the release of The Last of Us Part 2, the studio had little to show for its effort on this title. Recent layoffs added to the complexities of the development, eventually forcing the team to cancel the online game for good.
While this decision has received mixed reactions, I believe it will be beneficial for the developer in the long run, being a blessing in disguise.
Why it matters: Very few can rival this studio among PlayStation’s teams, so the studio needs to continue thriving for the gaming giant’s sake.
Live Service Is A Completely Different Beast
I’ve always enjoyed playing Naughty Dog games. Whether it be the Uncharted franchise or Last of Us, the developers have never disappointed with its single-player games.
In the past, this studio has also delivered great multiplayer modes. The Last of Us came with Factions, a multiplayer mode that gained a cult following and even managed to grab my attention for several months.
Similarly, I enjoyed playing Uncharted’s multiplayer offerings every now and then. However, the live service genre is a completely different ball game. Not only is it more competitive, but failure can result in terrible consequences.
PlayStation is already struggling with live service ambitions, being forced to delay half of its planned games. I believe the gaming giant is a bit too late to this genre, and Naughty Dog has pulled out at the right time.
Naughty Dog’s Explanation Is Valid
When the developer announced its plans, it highlighted a few reasons for cancelling the project. After pondering over the blog post, I concluded that these reasons make a lot of sense.
Compared to a narrative game, the team would have been shackled to The Last of Us Multiplayer for many years had the studio gone ahead with its original plans. This would have inevitably taken resources away from its other projects.
While I feel sorry for the developers whose work may never see the light of day after the announcement, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief after watching the aftermath of unfruitful live service ambitions from other studios in recent years.
In the official announcement, Naughty Dog explained that it had the following options to choose from:
“Become a solely live service games studio or continue to focus on single-player narrative games.”
The studio chose the latter. Live service support would mean a constant stream of content. This would require months of planning and work, making the already extended development cycles of today’s narrative games even longer.
Therefore, I believe Naughty Dog chose wisely. If the choice is between is between a live service and a single-player game, I would gladly choose the latter every single time.
Naughty Dog Will Bounce Back
If there is one PlayStation studio that severely needs to focus on new games, it’s Naughty Dog. The developer has only put out remasters and remakes since 2020, somewhat damaging its reputation after the recent remaster trailer was flooded with dislikes.
However, with a major live service distraction out of the way, I am confident this team will return to its glory days. The development of The Last of Us Multiplayer likely had a massive impact on the studio, but it will not stay down forever.
Having waited over three years for a new game from the studio, my expectations are higher than before. Making the announcement, the developer confirmed that multiple single-player games are in the works.
I want to see the Naughty Dog of old, shocking everyone with new levels of visual fidelity, best-in-class stories, and captivating gameplay. This developer has historically pushed consoles to the limits, and I can’t wait to see what the team does with its first real PS5 game.
The developer is likely working on The Last of Us Part 3 apart from its other projects. I am more interested in the second possibility since Naughty Dog is a team of many talents.
Having transitioned from wholesome platformers like Crash Bandicoot to the explosive gameplay of Uncharted and the gritty narrative of The Last of Us, I hope to see the studio taking a similar leap for its next game.
The announcement, while disappointing, is a trade-off. Having shifted away from a live service project, the developer is now open to more robust narrative games, and I cannot wait to see what comes next.
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Abiyan is on track to complete his Computer Science bachelor’s degree. His enthusiasm for writing and gaming motivates him to keep readers and gamers updated with the latest information from the industry. In his free time, Abiyan enjoys playing Dota 2 and Rocket League. Abiyan has also been cited in reputed websites such as Kitguru, Comicbook, GamingBible, Eurogamer and Gamingbolt.