Although the studio has already teased the project through trailers, Naughty Dog acknowledged that The Last of Us 2 is not yet in full production.
In an interview with Daily Star, communications director Arne Meyer and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy creative director Shaun Escayg spoke at length about the latest Uncharted's development and what comes next. Part of that discussion broached the topic of what might come after The Last of Us 2 wraps up, at which point Meyer had to step on the brakes and point out The Last of Us 2 wasn't even at full production.
Naughty Dog has always been a one-game studio, moving from one project to another and only splitting teams during the transition between. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy threw a wrench into Naughty Dog's process, growing from what was initially supposed to be a DLC project into a standalone game. But it's Naughty Dog's newfound willingness to take on many projects at one time that is leading to questions about what comes after The Last of Us 2 this early, but Meyer wants to make clear it's too early for those questions.
"So, we can pretty much say the whole studio will be focussed on The Last of Us Part Two once this is over. At some point, parts of the team that will try to figure out what's next and how that goes when The Last of Us Part Two is full production."
Based on Meyer's comments it's safe to say that some developers are still finishing up work on The Lost Legacy, while others are ramping up for The Last of Us 2. But the resources necessary to deliver a standalone product were greater than a DLC, and so the Last of Us 2 team is left waiting.
Meyer goes on to mention that even after Uncharted: The Lost Legacy ships, The Last of Us 2 development might not be running at full speed:
"A lot of people went straight from The Last of Us, straight into Uncharted 4, straight into Lost Legacy and those guys need a vacation."
Again, Meyer is discussing this topic as a way to explain why Naughty Dog isn't thinking about what comes after The Last of Us 2 yet. He's saying that only after The Last of Us 2 is in full production will Naughty Dog be able to consider shifting resources to what comes next, and The Last of Us 2 isn't there yet. That might explain why Naughty Dog has yet to commit to a release window for The Last of Us 2, but then again maybe the studio is more capable of being a two-game studio than it's letting on.
"... because we started really early on with The Last of Us Part Two it'll take a while for people in the studio to figure out what's next, where do we go next and which projects we want to think about ... so, if you’re holding out for UnKarted you could be waiting some time."
Naughty Dog's primary focus right now is, of course, on enabling Uncharted: The Lost Legacy to be as successful as it can be. And for the most part Naughty Dog's most dedicated fans are focused on Lost Legacy as well. They just happen to be able to transition a bit of their hype towards future Naughty Dog projects at the same time.
The Last of Us 2 has no currently announced release date, but is planned as a PlayStation 4 exclusive. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is scheduled for release on August 22 exclusively for the PlayStation 4.
Source: The Daily Star