The Last of Us Part 2's release date has been delayed, pushing the game's planned February 21 2020 launch to May, three months later in the year.
Speculation began building earlier today after a report in Kotaku (opens in new tab) cited two separate (and anonymous) sources, saying that developer Naughty Dog was now working to a different release schedule in order to put in more time developing the complex title.
There's now an official blog post on the PlayStation blog (opens in new tab) about the delay, written by the game's director, Neil Druckmann – which he linked to in a post on Twitter as seen below.
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The Last of Us Part II has a new release date. Here’s a letter to our fans. Apologies for the delay. Please know we’re working very hard to make it worthwhile. https://t.co/iJyhXpuUoaOctober 24, 2019
The post clarifies that there is a new release date of May 29, 2020, apologizing for the delay while defending the decision to prioritize game quality over a punctual launch: "However, it was during the last few weeks, as we were closing out sections of the game, that we realized we simply didn’t have enough time to bring the entire game up to a level of polish we would call Naughty Dog quality."
Druckmann added that "At this point we were faced with two options: compromise parts of the game or get more time. We went with the latter, and this new release date allows us to finish everything to our level of satisfaction while also reducing stress on the team."
Delivering a quality game
The move makes sense given the ambition of the The Last of Us Part 2, which Naughty Dog is hoping will recreate the original game's complex human characters with improved mechanics, enemies with unique heartbeats, and AI allies with more autonomy and capability than before.
This isn't the first time a massive AAA game was pushed back later than hoped; it happened most recently with Doom Eternal, which is now expected to launch in March 2020 instead of the original November launch date.
The Last of Us Part 2 is one of the most anticipated PS4 games of recent times. As a sequel to the critically acclaimed The Last of Us on PS3, and an exclusive to the PlayStation platform, it will almost certainly be a big seller for Sony and help to shift those soon-defunct PlayStation 4 consoles – with the next-gen PS5 on the way.