In September 2019, The Last of Us: Part 2 lead game designer Emilia Schatz spoke to USgamer and said:‘We’re focusing on a single-player experience, so we’re just making a single-player game for this’.
For fans of the original Last of Us Multiplayer mode known as ‘Factions’, this was quite a blow. Not least after seeing the likes of Uncharted 4 get significant multiplayer support. In order to fend off an outcry of emotion, Naughty Dog released a statement that told fans they were “as big a fan of Factions as the rest of our community”. The statement also states that fans would “eventually experience the fruits of our team’s online ambition”.
Now thanks to an announcement at the 2022 Summer Game Fest showcase, Naughty Dog’s co-president Neil Druckmann has revealed the studio’s next big project, a standalone multiplayer game in the world of The Last Of Us. If you’re intrigued to learn more, read on for everything we know so far.
5 September Update - Checked for the latest Last of Us Multiplayer news. All the most recent updates are found just below.
What is it?
Official details about the game are few and far between, so for now we’re going to quote Neil Druckmann directly:
“What I can tell you is that this game is big,” Druckmann said. “It’s as big as any of our single-player games and in some ways bigger. It’s got a story, the way we’re telling that story is very unique to this game.
“It’s got a brand-new cast of characters, it takes place in another part of the United States. It’s really cool and it’s being headed by Vinit Agarwal, Anthony Newman and Joe Pettinati, all veterans of Uncharted and The Last of Us.”
Shoutout to my fellow partners on the project @BadData_ and @JoePettinati, as well as the rest of this incredible team.
— Vinit Agarwal (@vinixkun) June 9, 2022
The standalone Last of Us multiplayer game does not have a release date, however, it is believed to release in 2023.
During the 2022 Summer Game Fest Druckmann revealed that project has been in development “for the past two years,” before adding “you’re going to see a lot more of this game come next year .”
Battle Royal Leaks
For quite some time there’s been hints, rumours, and leaks that suggested the Californian studio’s multiplayer mode was in fact a battle royal. There were quite a few assets recovered from the single player game’s source code (Via PushSquare) which teased some sort of battle royal addition to the game, as opposed to a more humble multiplayer offering.
Modder Speclizer even found hints that The Last of Us 2 included a battle royale mode based on a few strings of code in the game. This included strings in reference to “battle royale”, “show final circle location” and more.
The question is, has this multiplayer mode become something more? During the 2022 Summer Game Fest Druckmann suggested that the project had become much bigger.
“What started as a multiplayer mode has evolved due to the team’s ambition,” Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann said during Summer Game Fest. Could it be that the project started as a small scall battle royal, but is now something far greater? Only time will tell, but as we explain further down, we think that could be the case.
No news on TLOU 2 MP yet so here's some strings I ripped from TLOU 2's files that hint towards a battle royale mode in Factions 2 👀 pic.twitter.com/0oAeIYwpsJ
— Speclizer (@Speclizer_) April 20, 2022
Concept Art Setting & Story Predictions
So far Naughty Dog and Neil Druckmann have only released a handful of details about the standalone Last of Us multiplayer game. Although if you dig a little deeper you may discover plenty more.
Let’s start with what we’ve been told and shown. Druckman explained that the game will feature a story with a “very unique” way of delivering its plot. It will also include “a brand-new cast of characters”. We can tell from the concept art shown that this takes place in San Francisco judging from the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
This last detail is significant since, as noticed by Den of Geek, San Francisco has been mentioned a few times in the game before.
A note titled “Snipers’ Nest Log” found in The Last of Us specifically mentions a Firefly biologist arriving from San Francisco. Likewise, Den of Geek rightly points out that the Firefly’s presence grows stronger the further West that Joel and Ellie venture.
Some fans have theorized that there is/was a quarantine zone in San Francisco with a massive Firefly presence. Notably though, if this multiplayer mode was originally intended to launch with TLOU2, it’s been suggested that the multiplayer mode could be more in line with the timeline at the end of TLOU2 when perhaps Fireflies and other survivors are clashing over territory.
Personally, we think that the game could be something closer to the likes of a mix between the original Factions multiplayer mode and something like Escape From Tarkov which could allow for interwoven storylines, as opposed to something more reductive as a traditional battle royal title.
That’s everything you need to know about The Last of Us standalone multiplayer game for the time being, but we’ll continue to keep this page updated with more info as it becomes available.
If you’re interested in more games coming to Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC in the future, check out some of our other guides just below.