The Last of Us Factions continues to be one of Sony’s weirdest in-development projects. That is, if it’s still in development at all.
Now, Naughty Dog’s Neil Druckmann has a new comment when asked about the game, and that is…no comment. In an interview with EW, they asked about both Factions and a potential Last of Us Part III.
Druckman said he had “no update” on Factions, and no comment more generally on the future of TLOU, that game included:
“The Last of Us is obviously a world I love deeply and know our studio and fans do as well, but I have no comment at this moment on the series’ future beyond our focus on The Last of Us Part II Remastered,” and, “We have other projects in the works at Naughty Dog.”
While I can understand that there would be nothing to say about The Last of Us Part III, which has not been announced or teased, and may not even happen (though I think it will, in part to sync up with future seasons of Druckmann’s beloved HBO series), pulling a “no comment” on Factions at this point after all the reporting about its troubles feels weird. It’s time to fish or cut bait here after this saga.
The development of The Last of Us Factions reportedly started in 2020 around the launch of TLOU Part II, with a huge chunk of that team working on how to make a standalone, live service, multiplayer game for Sony, above and beyond past multiplayer modes they’d done.
Then, by 2022 Druckmann was still saying things like it was Naughty Dog’s “biggest ever effort,” sharing the singular piece of concept art on top of this post that remains the only preview of the game after all these years.
Internally, this is where reporting began that things were in trouble. First, it was Sony-acquired live service consultants Bungie reviewing the game and saying it wasn’t engaging enough. Then, we heard that it had been put “on ice.” Just recently, Jason Schreier reported that at least some developers are working on the game, but it’s unclear how many or what the state of it is. The more time goes on the more this seems like it could end up being a money pit that never sees the light of day, and Naughty Dog may move on to other projects.
This would align with Sony’s recent backtracking on its live service ambitions, previously announcing a dozen in the next few years, then halving that to six, with the other six coming out at some unspecified point in the future, but it seems unlikely all will survive. It’s not clear which group Factions is supposed to be in. It does almost seem like sunk cost at this point, three years of development with huge chunks of Naughty Dog working on it, if not practically the whole studio at one point. Now? Who knows, and Druckmann isn’t saying or offering even a glimmer of hope, three years later.
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