Naughty Dog has been juggling the status of multiplayer possibilities in The Last of Us Part 2 for a while now, mostly due to issues with time management. The developer has been prioritizing the single-player campaign and for good reason. The multiplayer functionality, while confirmed to be in development last year, was clarified a few months back to have been slowed down. In the wake of a new update, the developer seems to have stepped on the gas once again.
Earlier today, Naughty Dog began searching for new candidates to join the in-house multiplayer department. The new job positions are for an online systems programmer, multiplayer gameplay programmer, and multiplayer quality assurance. None of the job descriptions mention The Last of Us Part 2 but the new hirings could essentially be taken as a sign that Naughty Dog wants to have multiplayer in the highly anticipated sequel at launch.
Going back, a lot of fans were gutted to know that Naughty Dog was dropping the Factions mode from The Last of Us Part 2. The online component was warmly received in the original installment and many were hoping to see it return in the sequel. Based on requests and feedback, Naughty Dog eventually promised that the Factions mode would not be forgotten. However, making it available day-one on The Last of Us Part 2 carried a big if.
The situation then took a new turn. Reportedly, Naughty Dog started considering to enhance the Factions mode into something bigger and release it as a standalone package for PlayStation 5. The report further cemented the belief that The Last of Us Part 2 would release without any multiplayer.
It’s possible that the reason Naughty Dog decided to delay the release of the sequel by three months was to finish work on some level of multiplayer support. The new hirings may be indicating just that as well and The Last of Us Part 2 may end up with a multiplayer mode on release.
The Last of Us Part 2 is scheduled to release for PlayStation 4 on May 29, 2020. The upcoming post-apocalyptic sequel will be twice the size of the original, meaning that the storytelling will last for at least 25 hours. The duration, though, will depend on the player — obviously — and whether they are rushing through or not.