- Naughty Dog, the studio behind The Last of Us, is reportedly laying off developers, signaling potential trouble for its ambitious multiplayer project.
- The gaming industry as a whole has been dealing with layoffs and cancellations, with major companies like Microsoft and Ubisoft also making similar announcements.
- The Last of Us studio’s downsizing may impact the development of its multiplayer game, and the future of the project is now uncertain.
Naughty Dog, the studio behind the critically acclaimed The Last of Us games, is reportedly laying off developers. Over the past year, the gaming industry has been hit with layoffs ranging from indie developers like Team17 to tech giants like Microsoft. Now, it appears that The Last of Us studio is the latest to make a similar move.
2023 is proving to be an interesting year in gaming, to say the least. While the year has showcased some of the best game releases in recent times, the industry itself has been dealing with studio closures, canceled projects, and layoffs. Back in January, Microsoft laid off 10,000 employees which included some of Halo developer’s 343 Industries. The following months saw names like Ubisoft, EA, and CD Projekt Red make similar announcements. Even companies like Epic Games are laying off staff, despite being home to the Unreal Engine and Fortnite. Notably, with Naughty Dog reportedly following suit, the future of its ambitious The Last of Us multiplayer project could now be in doubt.
RELATED: Naughty Dog Has Bad News for The Last of Us Fans
According to a new Kotaku story, Naughty Dog’s ongoing multiplayer game is currently “on ice” amid layoffs at the company. Based on the “Factions” mode from the first The Last of Us game, the live-service spinoff has been a troubled project from the start. In May, Naughty Dog announced it was delaying The Last of Us multiplayer alongside a teaser for a “brand new single-player experience.” At the time of writing, the studio has yet to make any official announcement about the project. However, news of its downsizing might mean that a multiplayer game from Naughty Dog is even further off the timeline.
The report goes on to state that Naughty Dog may be laying off at least 25 of its contract developers, mostly from the quality assurance testing department. It further states that the contracts won’t officially expire until the end of October and that the laid-off members wouldn’t be offered any severance. As of now, The Last of Us maker’s full-time employees are reportedly unaffected, though it remains to be seen how far its reported layoffs will impact the 400+ staff.
Of course, it doesn’t help that the live-service genre is experiencing its own setbacks in the industry. Whether it’s Rocksteady delaying Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Respawn canceling two Apex Legends projects, or Ubisoft repeatedly postponing Skull and Bones, upcoming live-service projects have been in a tricky state as of late. Sony, which previously stated that the company hopes to publish at least 10 live-service games by 2026, appears to be adjusting its expectations following reports of Naughty Dog layoffs. While the PlayStation maker has projects like Bungie’s Marathon in the works, Naughty Dog’s own multiplayer ambitions in The Last of Us universe could be uncertain.
The Last of Us multiplayer game is in development.