The Last of Us Part II has been out for about nine months, and there’s been no word on the game’s multiplayer mode that was removed from the base game during development. Developer Naughty Dog said it planned to release the mode as a standalone product, but the studio has yet to say much beyond its initial announcement.
Well, it looks like the studio is still hard at work on it, as it has a new job listing up for an Economy Designer to help flesh out microtransactions for an unnamed project. The listing says the applicant would help “create avenues for self-expression for our players, ensure robust longevity to our games, and give our players great rewards to strive for.” This all sounds like a service game in the making. Given that the new multiplayer mode is completely separated from The Last of Us Part II as a product, it doesn’t seem out of the question for it to possibly be free-to-play, with progression and microtransactions to make back money. But there’s nothing about when the game would launch, or what its monetization scheme would be to be gleaned from the listing itself.
Honestly, that it’s taken this long for the multiplayer content to launch kind of helps ease the initial blow of its removal for me, as I’m glad I didn’t have to wait until 2021 to play The Last of Us Part II. And in the grand scheme of things, it’s probably better for Naughty Dog and Sony if it can keep the multiplayer separate from the $60 boxed game to both ease entry and ensure longevity long after The Last of Us Part II’s campaign.
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A brief bit of footage of Part II’s multiplayer leaked last year alongside clips of major story moments from the sequel. However, given the nature of those story moments, the multiplayer leak wasn’t quite as publicized. It’s very clearly in progress footage (the player character gets stabbed and then gets up like nothing’s wrong), but it does seem very similar to the original game’s Factions multiplayer.