The next game in the popular The Last Of Us series has been cancelled.
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Developer Naughty Dog said it had made the “incredibly difficult decision” after realising the project’s scope would negatively impact other future titles.
In a blog post, the studio added it knows “this news will be tough” for fans and that it was “equally crushed”.
Unlike prior releases from the PlayStation studio, which is known for single-player, story-driven blockbusters, the cancelled game was an online multiplayer experience.
Similar to titles like Call Of Duty and Fortnite, it would be updated regularly to keep players coming back.
Naughty Dog said while it was “enthusiastic about the direction” of the project, supporting it post-launch would risk “severely impacting development on future single-player games”.
It said such games, such as its Indiana Jones-like Uncharted series, had “defined Naughty Dog’s heritage”.
Studio committed to single-player roots
The studio has dabbled in multiplayer in the past, but only as an extra mode of play.
The Last Of Us, which first released in 2013, had a popular online experience called Factions, which pitted players against one another in competitive shooter matches.
It was also meant to be part of 2020’s The Last Of Us: Part II, before Naughty Dog decided to spin it off into the separate release that has now been canned.
“We are immensely proud of everyone at the studio that touched this project,” the blog post added.
“The learnings and investments in technology from this game will carry into how we develop our projects and will be invaluable in the direction we are headed as a studio.”
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Naughty Dog’s next release is a PlayStation 5 re-release of The Last Of Us: Part II, due in January.
While the studio’s games are critically acclaimed, it’s been criticised for milking its post-apocalypse zombie series, having released three versions of the original instalment between 2013 and 2022.
It is no doubt seeking to capitalise on the popularity of HBO’s TV adaptation, which arrived earlier this year.
But its blog post said it also had “more than one ambitious, brand new single-player game” in the works.