The Last of Us studio Naughty Dog is hiring for its “first standalone multiplayer game”.
A pair of new job ads for a gameplay scripter and level designer describe the project as “Naughty Dog’s newest adventure” and suggest that the developer is attempting to adapt the story-driven experiences it’s known for into an online game.
“Embark on Naughty Dog’s newest adventure – the studio’s first standalone multiplayer game!” the job ads read.
“We’re seeking to bring the same level of ambition and quality of our signature, story-driven games to this unique multiplayer project. This is a rare opportunity to make an impact in your discipline and craft an experience that will be enjoyed and shared by millions of players around the world.”
It’s likely that the multiplayer title is The Last of Us 2’s delayed Factions multiplayer mode, which has possibly been expanded into a full standalone title.
The job ads also match with comments made by PlayStation Studios boss Herman Hulst this month, who hinted at a narrative-driven online experience coming from PlayStation. “Who says that multiplayer experience cannot have great stories, right?” He said.
The Last of Us Part 2 director and Naughty Dog vice president Neil Druckmann announced in September 2019 that The Last of Us Part 2 wouldn’t include a multiplayer component as originally planned because the studio “wanted to take all of the resources to make this the biggest game we’ve ever done”.
However, in a follow-up statement, Naughty Dog pledged to release a new Last of Us multiplayer offering after its work on the sequel was complete.
“You will eventually experience the fruits of our team’s online ambition, but not as part of The Last of Us Part II,” it said. “When and where it will be realized is still to be determined. But rest assured, we are as big a fan as Factions as the rest of our community and are excited to share more when it’s ready.”
Footage of what appeared to be an updated version of the original game’s Factions multiplayer mode leaked last year.
A story outline has already been written for a potential The Last of Us Part 3, but it’s not currently being developed, according to Naughty Dog’s co-president and creative director Neil Druckmann.
However, Naughty Dog is reportedly working on a PS5 remake of the original The Last of Us.