The Last of Us

Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Multiplayer Spin-Off: Facing Layoffs and Uncertainty

Naughty Dog, the renowned Sony-owned studio behind critically acclaimed games such as The Last of Us series, has reportedly encountered a series of setbacks, including layoffs and uncertainty surrounding its upcoming multiplayer spin-off of The Last of Us. The studio, which boasts a team of around 400 staff, is said to be laying off at least 25 developers, primarily impacting quality assurance (QA) contractors. Kotaku reports that the affected individuals are expected to work until the end of October without being offered severance.

The Last of Us multiplayer spin-off, according to Kotaku, is currently in a state of limbo, being “on ice,” although not entirely canceled. This aligns with previous reports from Bloomberg in May, which cast doubt on the game’s “quality and long-term viability” and prompted the studio to evaluate the game’s direction with a smaller team dedicated to the project. Naughty Dog expressed their dedication to the multiplayer game, acknowledging that fans have been eagerly awaiting more information, but emphasized the importance of allocating more time to deliver the best possible gaming experience.

Despite the challenges faced by Naughty Dog, the studio remains committed to their projects. They have already chosen their next game, which has yet to be confirmed as either The Last of Us Part 3 or an entirely new concept. While details on the multiplayer spin-off are still scarce, Naughty Dog released concept art earlier this year, hinting at a fresh and innovative gaming experience that stays true to the studio’s trademark delivery of compelling narratives, well-developed characters, and immersive gameplay.

In a significant transition for the studio, Naughty Dog’s co-president, Evan Wells, announced his retirement after an impressive 19-year tenure, leaving Neil Druckmann to assume full leadership as the studio’s creative director. Druckmann, known for his integral role in developing The Last of Us and its sequel, is currently involved in the second season of the highly anticipated HBO series adaptation of the game.

The recent release of the PC port of The Last of Us 1 in March garnered mixed feedback due to performance issues. Nonetheless, Naughty Dog remains focused on their ongoing projects, including the multiplayer spin-off, alongside their development of a new and exciting single-player experience. The studio expressed gratitude to their passionate community for continuous support, which serves as a driving force behind their dedication to crafting exceptional gaming experiences.