Sony Group Corp. has encountered setbacks in the development of its upcoming multiplayer game in The Last of Us video game series. According to information first reported by Bloomberg, the company has decided to slow down the game’s development to reassess its quality and long-term viability, according to sources familiar with the project. While the game has not been canceled, the development team has been scaled back, and many of its developers have been reassigned to other projects within the company.
The Last of Us franchise, which originated as a video game in 2013, has garnered immense popularity, with over 37 million units sold as of December, according to Sony. The franchise’s success has extended beyond gaming, as it recently became a cultural phenomenon with the release of HBO’s TV adaptation. The TV series, which explores emotional narratives of survival in a post-apocalyptic world, achieved significant viewership numbers.
Naughty Dog, the Sony subsidiary responsible for the project, has been working on the multiplayer title for at least four years. Initially conceived as a complementary mode to The Last of Us: Part II, a single-player game released in 2020, the developers decided to expand it into a standalone game.
Sony has been focusing on “games as a service,” aiming to monetize video games beyond their initial sales through ongoing purchases. In line with this strategy, the company sought an evaluation of its game portfolio from Bungie, a Seattle-based video game studio. Bungie expressed concerns about the potential for long-term player engagement in The Last of Us multiplayer project, leading to the reassessment of its development.
Naughty Dog, renowned for its success in creating compelling single-player experiences, has faced challenges in developing multiplayer games due to the differing skill sets required. Nonetheless, fans eagerly anticipated the multiplayer project and raised questions when it was absent from a recent PlayStation video game showcase.
In a statement addressing the situation, Naughty Dog assured fans that it would continue working on the multiplayer project alongside other games, including a brand new single-player experience. The company acknowledged that providing the necessary time for the game’s development was crucial to delivering the best possible product.
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