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For a while, fans of The Last of Us Online have been looking forward to an official announcement of the release date from Naughty Dog. The announcement has finally come but it is far from what fans of the franchise were looking forward to. Naughty Dog has stopped the development of the game.

Naughty Dog Kills The Last Of Us Online Ambition. See Why

“We realize many of you have been anticipating news around the project that we’ve been calling The Last of Us Online,” the studio announced through a blog post on Thursday, December 14. “There’s no easy way to say this: We’ve made the incredibly difficult decision to stop development on that game”.

Naughty Dog acknowledged that the news would come as a surprise to fans of The Last of Us Online community “who have been following our multiplayer ambitions”. However, they also mentioned that the feeling is no different in the studio.

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“The multiplayer team has been in pre-production with this game since we were working on The Last of Us Part II—crafting an experience we felt was unique and had tremendous potential. As the multiplayer team iterated on their concept for The Last of Us Online during this time, their vision crystalized, the gameplay got more refined and satisfying, and we were enthusiastic about the direction in which we were headed.”

The sudden decision to stop development on The Last of Us Online by Naughty Dog is a reminder of why it is important to think actions through before taking the first step. It makes me wonder whether everything Naughty Dog has done up to this moment had just been an impulsive decision driven by the euphoria of the game’s success. However, there are two reasons why they had to make the tough call.

The real reason why Naughty Dog stopped the development of The Last of Us Online

Naughty Dog Kills The Last Of Us Online Ambition. See Why

According to Naughty Dog, the decision to stop the development of The Last of Us Online had something to do with the paucity of funds. If they decided to pursue the ambition of creating a live service game, it may be the end of the studio ever making another single-player game.

“In ramping up to full production, the massive scope of our ambition became clear,” the studio said. “To release and support The Last of Us Online we’d have to put all our studio resources behind supporting post-launch content for years to come, severely impacting development on future single-player games. So, we had two paths in front of us: become a solely live service games studio or continue to focus on single-player narrative games that have defined Naughty Dog’s heritage.”

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Obviously, the studio decided to settle for the latter. However, they said that all the lessons and investments in technology that have gone into the development of The Last of Us Online so far will be carried into other projects and will define the new direction of the studio.

“We have more than one ambitious, brand new single-player game that we’re working on here at Naughty Dog, and we cannot wait to share more about what comes next when we’re ready,” the studio said.

Naughty Dog’s decision may have been due to Bungie’s negative evaluation

Naughty Dog Kills The Last Of Us Online Ambition. See Why

Even before the official announcement from Naughty Dog, the fate of The Last of Us Online has hung in the balance. Sony reportedly scaled down the size of The Last of Us Online game earlier this year after evaluation by Bungie—which Sony recently acquired.

According to a report by Bloomberg in May, the number of people working on the project dropped significantly that month. Bungie, the maker of Destiny, had questioned the quality and viability of the project.

“Bungie raised questions about The Last of Us multiplayer project’s ability to keep players engaged for a long period of time, which led to the reassessment,” claimed the Bloomberg report.

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Just before the Bloomberg report in May, Naughty Dog shared an update on X saying that they would need more time. Yesterday’s announcement finally puts to an end the controversial development journey of The Last of Us Online.

Judging from a fan point of view, do you think Naughty Dog’s killing of The Last of Us Online was a smart or harsh decision? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.


Emecheta Christian

Emecheta Christian is an avid gamer with over 5 years in the industry. He is also a poet. It is therefore not surprising that his post sometimes read like poetry.

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