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The Last of Us 2 Multiplayer 1

Just what the hell is Naughty Dog cooking? For the longest time, we thought The Last of Us: Part II’s standalone multiplayer mode would be a bigger budget version of the SOCOM-style competitive shooter it shipped with the original game, and we imagined we’d be playing it by now. But it’s been well over a year since Ellie’s sophomore story shipped, and we haven’t heard a peep about the developer’s online project.

In fact, it sounds like it’s still eons away: the Californian company is continuing to recruit heavily for the game. Open positions include everything from programmers to designers – it was also hiring an “economy designer” not too long ago, suggesting this will be a full-scale service game with regular updates. But comments made by co-Game Director Vinit Agarwal have caught our attention.

“We’re aggressively hiring,” he said of the firm’s hiring spree. “Apply if you want to be part of bringing the cinematic experience between players in our new standalone multiplayer action game.” The sentence is awkwardly worded, but he appears to be suggesting that this online game will retain the studio’s core storytelling values. Exactly how that’s going to work, in a multiplayer landscape, has us scratching our head.

Naughty Dog never does things by halves, and it had already warned us that Factions had taken on a life of its own – but, frankly, we’re struggling to imagine what this is even going to be. Unfortunately, it does still feel like it’s years away – we suppose the studio got upended by the pandemic like everyone else. Of course, we’re happy to wait for the finished project, but it’d be nice to get some insight into what the studio’s actually doing, wouldn’t it?