The Last of Us multiplayer development reportedly slowed as Naughty Dog says the project needs 'more time'

Image for The Last of Us multiplayer development reportedly slowed as Naughty Dog says the project needs 'more time'
(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

Back in June 2022, when Naughty Dog finally confirmed that The Last of Us was coming to PC, it also announced that a new, standalone multiplayer game based on The Last of Us was in development too. It was originally meant to be an expansion for The Last of Us 2, but Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann said at the time that it had "evolved beyond the team's ambition," and so the decision was made to turn it into a standalone game instead. Platforms weren't announced at the time, although we speculated that the live service aspects of the game would make it a good candidate for a PC release. 

More information was promised for 2023, and today we got it, but it's probably not what any TLOU fan was hoping for. Naughty Dog announced Friday that the game isn't ready to be shown yet, and apparently won't be for a while to come.

"We know many of you have been looking forward to hearing more about our The Last of Us multiplayer game," the studio said. "We're incredibly proud of the job our studio has done thus far, but as development continued, we've realized what is best for the game is to give it more time.

"Our team will continue to work on the project, as well as our other games in development, including a brand-new singleplayer experience; we look forward to sharing more soon."

(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

According to a Bloomberg report, Naughty Dog parent company Sony has actually slowed development of the project and reduced the number of people working on it while it reassesses its quality and viability. That's not a great sign for a game that's been in development for three years already. 

Interestingly, the Bloomberg report says the decision to pump the brakes on Naughty Dog's multiplayer game was prompted by a different Sony studio: Bungie, the developer of Destiny 2. Sony reportedly asked Bungie to take a look at all its live service games (presumably because Bungie specializes in that sort of thing) and it apparently had some doubts about the long-term viability of The Last of Us multiplayer.

The sting of The Last of Us multiplayer's slowdown is blunted somewhat by the announcement of an all-new singleplayer game, which has long been where Naughty Dog excels. Sadly, it will likely be a long time before it comes to PC: PlayStation boss Jim Ryan said last week that while Sony wants to continue bringing games to PC, it also remains committed to "increasing the number of PS5-exclusive titles and staggering the release of the PC version."

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.