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The Last of Us multiplayer game is Naughty Dog’s “most ambitious project,” studio lead claims

There's a reason we haven't heard more about this big project.

The next big project lined up for the Naughty Dog development team is the highly anticipated The Last of Us multiplayer game. The team has been steadily drip-feeding information about this title since it was formally announced as an independent project, separate from The Last of Us Part 2, which it was initially supposed to release alongside. Although the project has spiraled away from its original design, Naughty Dog studio lead Neil Druckmann shared in an interview that it is now the most ambitious project the developers have undertaken.

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Related: The Last of Us developers hype multiplayer while celebrating the franchise’s 10-year anniversary

Druckmann shared this statement in a TikTok video from ComicBook Gaming and shared it on their social media page. In the interview, Druckmann shares that the multiplayer game was something the Naughty Dog team worked on before The Last of Us Part 2 shipped in June 2020. This lines up with the developers initially wanting to release the multiplayer with Part 2, but it never happened because of the size of the multiplayer content. In fact, the multiplayer blew up so much that the developers announced they couldn’t release it as a patch to the original game and decided to make it a different experience.

This year feels like the one where Naughty Dog is planning to open up the floodgates on what the multiplayer game will look like when it arrives to players. Druckmann has shared that it will have an original story in The Last of Us world, and it will take place in San Francisco, California. The developers have not shared how the story’s vision and the multiplayer mechanics will meld together, but it’s sure to be intriguing.

ComicBook Gaming also asked Druckmann about Naughty Dogs’ previous decisions to announce games well ahead of their actual release dates, namely Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us Part 2. Druckmann confirmed that the studio does this intentionally, leading to work-life balance issues.

This has forced the studio to figure out how to plan those announcements better and share those release dates without putting stress on the employees at their studio. This is probably why we haven’t heard too many concrete details about The Last of Us multiplayer game. We’ll likely see it before the team shifts gears and starts sharing The Last of Us Part III or whatever is next in the studio’s single-player pipeline.

Hopefully, we’ll hear concrete details about this game closer to The Last of Us’ tenth anniversary this summer, in June. With Naughty Dog opening up more about the multiplayer project, these are probably the early confirmations that we’re getting closer, and the multiplayer project won’t remain a distant fantasy for much longer.

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Zack Palm
Zack Palm is the Senior Writer of Gamepur and has spent over five years covering video games, and earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Oregon State University. He spends his free time biking, running tabletop campaigns, and listening to heavy metal. His primary game beats are Pokémon Go, Destiny 2, Final Fantasy XIV, and any newly released title, and he finds it difficult to pull away from any Star Wars game.