Folks Are Happy Last Of Us Won’t Get Live-Service Treatment

Folks Are Happy Last Of Us Won’t Get Live-Service Treatment

It’s a bit of a sad day for The Last of Us fans…well, sort of. Last night the world learned that the highly anticipated yet stubbornly secretive multiplayer TLoU game isn’t going to happen. Despite plowing multiple years of development into the project, Naughty Dog announced it was pulling the plug. And now the community is responding to the shock announcement with an array of reactions.

Read More: The Last of Us Online Is Officially Canceled

Naughty Dog is no stranger to multiplayer modes, of course. The first Last of Us game featured a multiplayer mode known as Factions, offering up TLoU’s signature style of action but in a traditional team deathmatch configuration. The multiplayer in Uncharted 2, 3, and 4 was similar in scope. But Naughty Dog often spoke about The Last of Us Online in much more ambitious terms. Speaking to that increased ambition in last night’s statement, Naughty Dog wrote:

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.

While some are understandably upset at the game’s cancellation, the avoidance of yet another live-service game strikes a different chord with some folks.

Many The Last of Us fans actually seem relieved

The Last of Us’ publisher, Sony, has talked a big game when it comes to live-service titles in recent years, acquiring Destiny developer Bungie as one signal of the company’s intentions to break into the world of live-service games. As Kotaku reported this year, Sony anticipated spending a large amount of money in this area.

This hasn’t worked out well for Sony thus far, as expected live-service games are delayed, while Destiny 2 has struggled following the release of the Lightfall expansion, putting Bungie’s independence at risk. But it’s important context, especially when combined with Naughty Dog’s ambitions for The Last of Us Online, which was not intended to be an add-on mode to The Last of Us: Part II, but would instead be a “full-scale, standalone game, with [a] massive scope and immense world.”

Naughty Dog only ever officially showed off a few bits of concept art, one of which seemed to suggest a scale far larger than the original Factions mode from 2013’s The Last of Us.

Fan reaction to the game’s cancellation brings up some bittersweet sentiment.

“Legit no one asked for a Live-Service MP. All the community wanted was an updated version of the original factions” reads one comment on Reddit responding to news of the game’s cancellation. “Yo, just release The Last of Us Online as a standalone product and cut all the live-service shit,” reads another response on Twitter (currently “X”). “Why does everything online have to be live-service?” reads another.

A supposed leaked image of the game is also sparking discourse around live-service games. It depicts a main menu showing off a tab suggesting a battle pass, some sort of week-based season structure, and a battle royale mode—elements common to most live-service and multiplayer games.

Kotaku has reached out to Sony to confirm the image’s authenticity but didn’t hear back prior to publication.

Given both Sony’s investments and interest in live-service titles, as well as the industry’s general trend of battle passes and cosmetic microtransactions, it’s not hard to believe the image is legit. Especially when Naughty Dog literally said that The Last of Us Online’s cancellation was to avoid the pressure of supporting a live-service game full-time.

“Happy Naughty Dog isn’t going to a live-service model,” concludes one comment responding to the alleged screenshot.

So while many TLoU fans might’ve been intrigued by a more ambitious multiplayer project (indeed, it will be interesting to see what details emerge in the aftermath of the game’s official death), perhaps avoiding a future filled with seasons and microtransaction is the best outcome for one of Sony’s most popular franchises.


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