Naughty Dog has announced the cancellation of its highly anticipated multiplayer project, The Last of Us Online. The news comes as a disappointment for fans who had eagerly awaited the expansion of The Last of Us universe into the realm of multiplayer gaming.
The studio revealed in a blog post that the multiplayer team had been in pre-production for The Last of Us Online since the development of The Last of Us Part II. The initial vision for the game seemed promising, with refined gameplay and a unique experience in the making.
However, as the team geared up for full production, the immense scope of their ambitions became apparent. The studio would need to commit all its resources to support post-launch content for The Last of Us Online for an extended period. This, in turn, would severely impact the development of future single-player games — a core element that has defined Naughty Dog’s legacy.
Faced with a crucial decision, the studio outlined two possible paths: transform into a solely live-service games studio or maintain focus on the creation of narrative-driven, single-player games, a tradition upheld by Naughty Dog throughout its history.
In its statement, Naughty Dog expressed pride in the efforts of everyone involved in The Last of Us Online, emphasizing that the lessons learned and technological investments made during its development would influence the studio’s future projects. Despite the cancellation, Naughty Dog assures its community that they have more than one ambitious single-player game in the works, promising to share details when the time is right.
The decision to halt The Last of Us Online aligns with a broader shift away from live-service ambitions within Sony. The company recently revised its plans, scaling back the release of live-service games from 12 to 6 by March 2026.
This development comes after earlier signs of trouble for The Last of Us Online, including a delay announced in May and reports in October suggesting the project was “basically on ice.” Naughty Dog’s decision reaffirms its commitment to delivering compelling single-player experiences and maintaining the high narrative standards that have defined the studio’s heritage.
While The Last of Us Online may not see the light of day, fans can look forward to the release of The Last of Us Part II Remastered on January 19th, 2024, and the second season of the HBO show set to debut in 2025. What are your thoughts about this news? Let us know in the comments section below.