Image via Naughty Dog

The Last of Us, Uncharted studio is exploring monetization strategies, hires Fortnite veteran

Naughty Dog is known for its narratives.

Naughty Dog is one of the most notable video game studios today, primarily due to the strong narratives of its adventure series The Last of Us and Uncharted. It’s also now looking into new monetization strategies, as evidenced by a new hire. That might seem incongruous with its storytelling strengths, but it actually makes a lot of sense in regard to one specific project.

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As spotted by Insider Gaming, Naughty Dog has hired Anders Howard as its principal monetization designer — there’s no ambiguity with that title. Prior to this, Howard worked as a lead systems designer at Ubisoft Stockholm, but it’s his time with Epic Games that may raise some eyebrows. Howard was a senior systems designer at Fortnite, and according to LinkedIn, Howard’s work there “helped form the core of Battle Pass progression strategy, owning the collectible gameplay, quest pipeline, and Battle Pass XP.”

At first, it might seem like a Battle Pass system is irrelevant to Naughty Dog games, but there’s one particular project that fits like a glove: Factions. The standalone Last of Us Part I multiplayer mode has yet to launch, but it’s easy to imagine how a Battle Pass could be a part of such an experience. We wouldn’t expect to see crossover characters the way Fortnite does it, but unlockable weapons and costumes that nod toward other Naughty Dog games like Crash Bandicoot or Jack and Daxter would make perfect sense.

At the start of 2022, it was reported that Factions could arrive within the year, but at this point, that seems a lot less likely. We did get The Last of Us Part 1, and that remake feels like a true final draft of the original game. At this point, the next Last of Us release won’t be a game, but a prestige TV series: HBO’s adaptation of the first game is coming next year. Specifically, The Last of Us releases on January 15, 2023.


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Author
Tony Wilson
Tony has been covering games for more than a decade. Tony loves platformers, RPGs and puzzle games.