Several weeks ago, Naughty Dog finally confirmed the upcoming release of The Last of Us 2, which is no doubt one of the most highly-anticipated games right now. TLOU 2's release date was revealed during Sony's State of Play presentation and will be releasing exclusively on the PlayStation 4 on February 21, 2020.
Since then, the developer has released several new details about the upcoming game, which unfortunately included the confirmation that The Last of Us 2 won't be getting an online multiplayer mode. To those unfamiliar, the original game featured an online multiplayer mode called Factions, which allowed up to eight players to embark on competitive gameplay. Factions featured three game types called Supply Raid, Survivors, and Interrogation. While this component of The Last of Us was not as popular as the main campaign, Factions is considered to be one of the most underrated online experiences out there and was has since built a dedicated player base
However, not all is lost for the return of a multiplayer mode set in the universe of The Last of Us given that Naughty Dog hinted that it is planning a stand-alone spin-off title. In a statement released by Naughty Dog, the studio said that because The Last of Us 2 is the biggest game they have ever made, there isn't room to include Factions. The developer also explained that it has big plans for Factions, and it wants to create a game independent from The Last of Us 2. So given that Naughty Dog did not abandon the online mode entirely, what should we expect from it?
Right now, there isn't really a lot of information that provides a hint about what Naughty Dog is up to. However, we will be delving into two possible scenarios as to how Naughty Dog plans to release Factions, whether as a stand-alone game that features the same mechanics, or as an entirely new experience that will test Naughty Dog's capability in stepping outside its comfort zone and develop an online multiplayer title that will rival leading games in the genre.
A Stand-Alone Factions Game That is Pretty Much The Same as the Original
When thinking of online multiplayer games, The Last of Us' Factions is probably not that high on most people's list. While the game definitely had a strong player base, it wasn't as popular as full-fledged online multiplayer games that have since become cultural phenomenons. Last month, Sony has since shut down the PS3 servers for both Uncharted and The Last of Us, marking the end of the online functionality for both those games on the PS3. But of course, we know that Naughty Dog was able to see the potential of Factions from the original The Last of Us. In its statement, the studio revealed that "We are as big a fan of Factions as the rest of our community and we are excited to share more when it's ready."
So if Naughty Dog is planning to release a stand-alone Factions game, what should we expect from it? One possibility is that the upcoming multiplayer mode will retain the majority of the original's gameplay mechanics. However, given that it will be a title independent from The Last Of Us 2, the studio will probably include more game modes in addition to Supply Raid, Survivors, and Interrogation. Apart from The Last Of Us 2 as being too big to include Factions, Naughty Dog is probably releasing the game separately so that it will not be overshadowed by TLOU2, and will be recognized as a full-fledged multiplayer game. While Naughty Dog has built a stellar reputation with its single-player games, the studio hasn't really dabbled that much into multiplayer experiences, and releasing Factions separately will allow them to do so.
An Entirely New Multiplayer Experience
Another possibility is that Naughty Dog probably has a more ambitious plan for its online multiplayer game. This scenario makes sense given that the studio wants to release it separately from The Last of Us 2. Over the years other developers that are famous for their single-player franchises have taken a similar path. Last month, Resident Evil's developer and publisher Capcom, revealed Project Resistance, which is a stand-alone multiplayer game that will allow Resident Evil fans to experience survival-horror in an entirely different way. While this is not the first time that Capcom attempted to make an online Resident Evil game, it is branding Project Resistance as a new way to play Resident Evil. Project Resistance will be a 4v1 multiplayer game, that bears a striking resemblance to Friday the 13th: The Game.
So will Naughty Dog also release a 4v1 online multiplayer title set in the universe of The Last Of Us 2? At the moment, no one really knows the answer to that question given that Naughty Dog is still tight-lipped with where it wants to take the project. Of course, given that multiplayer games have a longer profitability period than single-player titles most of the time, it is understandable that Naughty Dog wants to expand its offerings to players and establish themselves in a genre that is vastly different from the one it is used to.
Although there is still no confirmation from Naughty Dog, it is safe to say that we won't be seeing this stand-alone multiplayer game anytime soon. The developer is still busy with The Last of Us 2, which is set to release early next year. However, one likely possibility is that the multiplayer title will probably be released on the PS5 as an incentive for players to switch to the newer console once it's released, but of course, anything is possible.
The Last of Us 2 is set to release on February 21, 2020, exclusively on the PlayStation 4.