Following the PlayStation Showcase fallout, many fans of The Last of Us wonder why Naughty Dog didn’t get to show off the franchise’s multiplayer title, ‘ Factions’. Well, we may have a better idea of what’s going behind the scenes as Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier reports that the project isn’t doing so hit as sources familiar with the project are claiming that Sony has “slowed down development” on Factions after a recent reevaluation which reportedly led to the closure of PixelOpus.
Factions haven’t been outright cancelled (yet at this point). Still, Schreier adds in his report that “a small group remains on the project while the company re-evaluates the direction,” and developers who worked on the game have moved on to another project which assumedly includes Naughty Dog’s next single-player game. That game in question is not The Last of Us Part III. Still, a new project that’s possibly not based on anything that has been before at the studio, so a new IP could be coming as suggested by Neil Drunkmann on Kinda Funy’s The Last of Us (HBO) Spoilercast.
If it ends up being released, the project will be the studio’s first multiplayer-only game and has been in the works for about four years and was originally a multiplayer mode for The Last of Us Part II, with the scope assumedly so enormous that it spawned into its own thing. The question of the struggle could be many reasons; At the same time, the studio has presented players with multiplayer experiences during the PS3 and PS4 era (with Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End), and Factions could be much bigger than Naughty Dog’s first thought going in.
Factions sound more like a living, breathing live service game that may or may not play like The Division 2, so Sony may be trying to push them in a direction that suits their business model for their live service endeavour. One of Schreier’s sources said that Destiny developer Bungie wasn’t impressed with what Naughty Dog had managed to develop so far and “raised questions about The Last of Us multiplayer project’s ability to keep players engaged for a long period, which led to the reassessment.”
“All I’ve heard about this game is that it looks a lot like a studio’s first live-service game and that Naughty Dog wanted to do things it’s way, which maybe didn’t bode well for Factions,” Giantbomb’s Jeff Grubb said in response to the report.
Schreier was looking to get a comment from Naughty Dog, but instead of saying anything to Bloomberg, the PlayStation studio released its statement:
“We know many of you have been looking forward to hearing more about our The Last of Us multiplayer game. We’re incredibly proud of the job our studio has done this far, but as development has continued, we’ve realized what is best for the game is to give it more time,” Naught Dog said in a statement on Twitter.
“Our team will continue to work on the project and our other games in development, including a brand new single-player experience. We look forward to sharing more soon. We’re grateful to our fantastic community for your support – thank you for your passion for our games; it continues to drive us.”
— Naughty Dog (@Naughty_Dog) May 26, 2023