Sad news from Naughty Dog as the studio has officially announced the cancellation of the project allegedly called “The Last of Us Online”. In a blog, Naughty Dog explained the reasons behind the canning of a game that was otherwise hotly anticipated by fans.
“We realize many of you have been anticipating news around the project that we’ve been calling The Last of Us Online. There’s no easy way to say this: We’ve made the incredibly difficult decision to stop development on that game,” the studio said in a statement.
For a game that was said to be in pre-production alongside The Last of Us Part II, TLOU Online has proven itself to be troublesome for Naughty Dog. However, it was not until the game reached full production that the main issue came to light—the very scope of the game itself.
In ramping up to full production, the massive scope of our ambition became clear. To release and support The Last of Us Online we’d have to put all our studio resources behind supporting post launch content for years to come, severely impacting development on future single-player games. So, we had two paths in front of us: become a solely live service games studio or continue to focus on single-player narrative games that have defined Naughty Dog’s heritage.
Considering the current state of Naughty Dog, in light of the recent layoffs it has had, it seems that the studio cannot be more than what it’s used to or capable of. At least, as far as the type of project it can set its attention to for its growing audience.
It certainly comes off as a disappointment to the fans, especially in light of the developing game’s recent gameplay video. However, Naughty Dog’s choosing to ditch the game in favor of future projects seems to be a respectable decision, especially for a studio that wants to stick to its roots and bring the quality of games it knows it can deliver if it focuses on it.
The Last of Us Online is already considered a failed project at this point. But for the developers at Naughty Dog, it served as a learning experience from which future titles will be developed. And right now, it appears that the studio is already into “more than one ambitious, brand new single player game,” which it promises to reveal in due time.