- The cancelation of The Last of Us Online is devastating for fans, but it allows Naughty Dog to focus on its strengths by creating more single-player games.
- The failed project can serve as a valuable lesson for Naughty Dog to stick with smaller scale multiplayer experiences going forward, and the game’s death could also motivate Naughty Dog to really deliver with its next project.
- Naughty Dog can repurpose ideas and technology from The Last of Us Online for future single-player titles, including character customization.
After years of waiting, The Last of Us fans were recently met with the unfortunate news that the series’ multiplayer project had been canceled. Dubbed The Last of Us Online, the project was reported to feature interesting storytelling elements, with a battle royale mode also having leaked for the title. Naughty Dog scrapped the game after its vision reportedly grew to be too grand, with the studio feeling it could not pull the game off while maintaining the quality expected of it. As sad as it may be that Naughty Dog’s big multiplayer game will never see the light of day, though, the cancelation could actually have some upsides.
To be clear, The Last of Us Online not working out is devastating. It is a shame that Naughty Dog’s hard work over the last few years amounted to nothing, and it is truly upsetting that fans of The Last of Us Factions might never get another multiplayer experience from the series. It obviously would have been for the best if the game had released as planned, as it could have provided a fresh look at the series’ post-apocalyptic universe. Still, with plenty said about how much of a shame the death of the game is, it is worth it to try to look for some positives regarding the failed project.
Why The Last of Us Part 3 Can’t Fully Abandon Ellie or Abby Yet
Whatever the next Last of Us game is called will have a lot to say about the direction Naughty Dog intends to steer the single-player franchise.
The Last of Us Online’s Cancelation Could Be a Useful Lesson For Naughty Dog
A Motivated Naughty Dog Can Now Focus Fully on What It Does Best
While The Last of Us Factions fans in particular are understandably sad about TLoU Online’s cancelation, the game’s battle royale focus means that it likely would not have been the game they wanted anyway. Additionally, Naughty Dog tying a large portion of its team down to a live service title that requires constant support could have meant less singleplayer content from a studio that truly shines in that area. While Factions is a cult classic, few would choose it over the stories in The Last of Us, Uncharted, and so on, so if the choice is between more singleplayer games or a thriving live service project instead of getting both, most would prefer the former.
With The Last of Us Online abandoned, Naughty Dog is now able to go full steam ahead on two singleplayer games, delivering more of its brilliantly crafted narratives and likable characters in the coming years. A multiplayer game would have always risked losing that trademark Naughty Dog storytelling that has caused its games to become so critically acclaimed, as it would be motivating players to forge their own stories instead. While creative mechanics like notes in The Last of Us Online could have helped with this, many of Naughty Dog’s fans prefer the singleplayer games the studio is returning to. Plus, gamers will soon be seeing what an extra motivated Naughty Dog looks like, as the developer will want to win back fans and make up for the disappointing news.
Sony could also benefit from The Last of Us Online’s cancelation, as it can use the experience from this failed project to make sure PlayStation’s other live service games deliver. Lessons can be learned from The Last of Us Online getting out of hand and reportedly not having a strong enough loop to work as a live service game, assuming reports about Bungie’s evaluation of it are true.
Naughty Dog Could Repurpose Ideas and Tech From The Last of Us Online
Aside from Naughty Dog viewing The Last of Us Online as a reminder that singleplayer games should remain its bread and butter, the developer could also reuse some of the ideas it had for The Last of Us Online in its future games. The battle royale mode could have brought things like deep revive mechanics, emotes, character customization and more to the mix, all of which could be repurposed within a singleplayer title. Character customization could be a key part of Naughty Dog’s rumored sci-fi game, while emotes and revives could be used to add humor and depth to any NPC interactions. This is in addition to any engine refinements and gameplay improvements, which could surely be carried over to The Last of Us 3 or any other third person Naughty Dog project.
Though unlikely, perhaps certain map locations could be split up into smaller play spaces for a small-scale Factions mode in The Last of Us 3, if such a game ever happens. Similar to how Call of Duty: Warzone maps are split up into Ground War locations for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s multiplayer, Naughty Dog does not have to let its world design assets go to waste, as those locations could be repurposed for a different project. While a full Naughty Dog multiplayer game clearly did not work out, perhaps some of the work done on it could be carried over to a smaller PvP mode like the original Last of Us and Uncharted offered.
The Last of Us
The Last of Us is a 2013 game set in post-apocalyptic America. Players will take up the role of Joel, a smuggler, as he attempts to help a teenage girl named Ellie across the country. The two must avoid mutated cannibals and other dangers in their adventure.