The multiplayer just wasn't engaging enough.
Concept art showing an overgrown portion of a city. A dilapidated cruise ship is in the background. Two characters are seen walking on a broken street towards the ship. Rust covers most of the metal objects in the scene.

It was certainly a curious thing when The Last of Us multiplayer project was a no-show during the latest PlayStation Showcase event this week. The last we heard anything about this project came in January 2023 when Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann promised we would hear more about it later in 2023.

Technically, he didn't lie because there was some new information shared today about the multiplayer project. Only it's probably not the kind of news anybody really wanted to hear.

Naughty Dog and Sony have decided to give the project "more time." Naughty Dog's statement says that development on the multiplayer project will continue. They also say that they are also now working on a brand-new single-player experience, which they will share more details about "soon."

A report from Bloomberg sheds some additional light about the setbacks this multiplayer project has faced. Bloomberg's report says that the team working on the multiplayer project has been "scaled back" following a recent evaluation. Only a small group remains on the multiplayer title while Naughty Dog "reevaluates the direction." The multiplayer project isn't canceled outright but many of the team working on the project have been moved on to other projects.

Members of Bungie were brought in to evaluate the viability this Last of Us multiplayer project. Bungie does know a thing or two about live-service titles after all, and their insight is a big reason why Sony acquired them in the first place. According to Bloomberg, Bungie "raised questions about the The Last of Us multiplayer project’s ability to keep players engaged for a long period of time, which led to the reassessment."

The Last of Us multiplayer project has been in development for about four years now. It began as a mode to complement The Last of Us Part 2 but as ambitions for the project grew Naughty Dog decided to turn it into its own game.