The Last Of Us Game Canceled By Naughty Dog

By Jason Collins | Published

The last of us

Sony has been canceling its developing titles and pulling content from its online platforms recently, and the company’s latest victim is the highly anticipated The Last of Us multiplayer game. The game was canceled by the company’s subsidiary, Naughty Dog.

The Last of Us Online was in pre-production during the active production of The Last of Us Part II, which actually contained some multiplayer elements that data miners excavated. Later on, the studio announced a separate online multiplayer game based on the IP; however, that has now been canceled. Sony’s subsidiary, Naughty Dog, which has been in charge of the game’s development ever since the franchise’s inception, cites resource allocation as one of the reasons behind the cancellation of the multiplayer.

To be entirely honest, the reasons Naughty Dog listed for canceling The Last of Us Online are quite sound. Making a multiplayer game is much harder compared to single-player narratives, as you also have to provide both support and additional content post-launch, even for years to come. Adding additional content development and expansions that would keep the game relevant in the future only adds to both monetary and workforce costs, which isn’t really viable for a studio that also develops single-player content.

In short, Naughty Dog had two options: either become a live-service game studio—and we already have plenty of those—or continue their focus on single-player games, like the original The Last of Us. Considering that the company has more than one single-player title on its drawing boards and at different stages of development, and the fact that single-player narratives have defined Naughty Dog and made the company into what it is today, it’s not surprising that the company chose the latter. This also conveniently adheres to Sony’s “money-saving initiatives.”

last of us 3

Naughty Dog didn’t disclose which titles are currently in development, but we know that the company isn’t working on The Last of Us Part III, so the story won’t be finished. The script for the game is already outlined, but there aren’t any pre-production efforts or active development associated with the IP at the moment, outside Sony’s push for a successful television adaptation, as well as several remakes and remasters of the original The Last of Us games for its platforms—one of those remasters is supposed to drop in January 2024.

Ultimately, this news isn’t all that surprising, all things considered. The Last of Us Online had a troubled development, with several delays and Sony’s re-evaluation of the game’s direction, during which time Naughty Dog announced working on a new single-player experience. This cancelation also adds to a broader pushback of Sony’s live-service ambition and its plans for the future, which included 12 live-service games released by March 2026, in addition to 30% of its first-party releases being aimed at the PC. 

Additionally, the company has broader plans for its whole lineup of products, not just The Last of Us. Namely, just like Netflix, Sony also cleaned some of its digital media library and continues to wind down the production of PlayStation 4 now that the semiconductor supply chain has been re-established.

Source: Naughty Dog