Yes, The Last of Us 2 multiplayer game is still happening

The Last of Us 2
(Image credit: Sony/Naughty Dog)

Remember The Last of Us: Part 2 had a multiplayer component on the way? Developer Naughty Dog has reassured fans that the project is still in development in a special community update during the celebratory 'The Last of Us Day.'

Answering the question of what's happening with The Last of Us right now, Naughty Dog's Rochelle Snyder confirmed that the multiplayer project is still on the way, stating the company is "in full swing of hiring for MP-related positions."

Naughty Dog is currently involved in several projects right now, including The Last of Us HBO TV series as well as Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves, a PS5 remaster of Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy that's also making its way to PC courtesy of developer Iron Galaxy.

It's currently unclear as to what The Last of Us 2's multiplayer component will be, though it's largely anticipated to be its own standalone project that's reminiscent of the original game's fondly remembered Factions mode.

Factions was a shockingly well-realized online multiplayer mode, in which two opposing teams of survivors had to hunt for supplies and build up an arsenal to eliminate one another. It was surprisingly innovative, and we'd love to see the concept built upon in a Factions follow-up.

Analysis: does The Last of Us 2 need multiplayer?

No, The Last of Us 2 doesn't necessarily need a multiplayer component. The main single player campaign struck an emotional chord with millions of players, ensuring it'll stick in the minds of those who played through it for years to come. There's value in that by itself.

However, it's hard to argue that The Last of Us's grim post-apocalypse isn't ripe for multiplayer antics. As mentioned, Factions mode proved that fans were more than willing to play a more innovative take on the online multiplayer shooter, with gameplay elements that made perfect sense within the context of the series.

So why is this multiplayer component taking so long? Well, it's clear that Naughty Dog has an eye for perfection (not necessarily for the better, considering the litany of reports of crunch culture at the developer), and is likely taking the time to create a multiplayer mode of the high quality fans expect.

While Factions could be the shell that holds everything in place for The Last of Us 2's multiplayer, it's likely that the game will feature a decent number of modes, including more straightforward ones like Team Deathmatch. It's also likely we'll see persistent character progression and perhaps even a Battle Pass-style system that continues to be the zeitgeist among multiplayer-focused titles.

Given the dev appears to still be hiring for the project, we don't expect to see the mode drop in the coming weeks – maybe early 2022, if we're lucky?

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.