The Last of Us online multiplayer game officially cancelled

Naughty Dog has ceased all development on the planned Last of Us online spin-off game.
the last of us multiplayer

The project formally known as The Last of Us Online, aka the planned online multiplayer Last of Us spin-off, has officially been cancelled by development studio, Naughty Dog. The news was announced in a Naughty Dog blog post, and followed countless reports of trouble with the game.

Per early details and screenshots, this project was believed to be a multiplayer experience where players would be part of factions vying for dominance in the Clicker-infested post-apocalypse – similar to the beloved Factions multiplayer mode included with the original Last of Us.

In early 2023, The Last of Us Online was announced as being delayed, following an evaluation by Destiny studio, Bungie, which was relied upon for its expertise in live service games. Per reporting from Bloomberg, quality was allegedly a concern, as was its long-term viability.

While work continued on the title, despite these setbacks, it appears Naughty Dog has now chosen to abandon the project, with no clear way forward.

Read: The Last of Us’ multiplayer spin-off has been delayed

“We realise many of you have been anticipating news around the project that we’ve been calling The Last of Us Online. There’s no easy way to say this: We’ve made the incredibly difficult decision to stop development on that game,” Naughty Dog said.

“We know this news will be tough for many, especially our dedicated The Last of Us Factions community, who have been following our multiplayer ambitions ardently. We’re equally crushed at the studio as we were looking forward to putting it in your hands. We wanted to share with you some background of how we came to this decision.”

“The multiplayer team has been in pre-production with this game since we were working on The Last of Us Part 2 – 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 crystalised, the gameplay got more refined and satisfying, and we were enthusiastic about the direction in which we were headed.”

“In ramping up to full production, the massive scope of our ambition became clear. 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.”

Naughty Dog has expressed immense pride of “everyone at the studio who touched [the] project” and said that core learnings and investments from the experiment will be put towards building up the future output of Naughty Dog. For now, those keen for their next taste of The Last of Us will find it solely in The Last of Us Part II Remastered, launching on 19 January 2024.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.