The Last of Us series will be getting its biggest multiplayer experience to date in the form of its first-ever standalone online title, Naughty Dog announced Thursday.
During the Summer Game Fest showcase event, Naughty Dog co-president Neil Druckmann joined host Geoff Keighley on stage to not only discuss new details of the upcoming The Last of Us TV show and The Last of Us Part 1 remake, but also officially announce the series' upcoming multiplayer title.
"What started out as a multiplayer mode," Druckmann said, "has evolved due to the team's ambition and really wanting to do something beyond what we've ever done before at Naughty Dog. We felt the way to do it justice is to make it a standalone title.
"They've been working on it for the past two years. Ambition has grown and we're not quite ready to fully unveil it, but we're ready to lift the curtain a little bit and just give you like an update of where were at."
Along with revealing a new piece of concept art, Druckmann and Naughty Dog shared that the "full-scale, standalone game" is "an extremely ambitious undertaking," with a "massive scope and immense world" whose development is only possible thanks to the studio being able to grow to the point it has recently.
"This game is big," Druckmann said. "It's as big as any of our single-player games that we've done and, in some ways, bigger. It's got a story. The way we're telling that story is very unique to this game. It's got a brand-new cast of characters. It takes place in another place, another part of the United States. I'm sure our fans have already figured it out."
Lastly, Druckmann said that "a lot more" information on the upcoming The Last of Us multiplayer game is said to be coming in 2023.
It's been nearly a decade since The Last of Us' lone multiplayer mode, Factions, released with the original title in 2013.
The mode saw players on opposing sides lead their team of survivors through 12 weeks of in-game time, either as Fireflies (yellow) or Hunters (blue). Each match played counted as one day, and matches gave players the ability to stock up on supplies and equipment to foster the clan’s growth and survival rate.
In 2019, Naughty Dog announced prior to the sequel's release that The Last of Us Part II would not include a multiplayer mode, citing at the time that the "vision of the team grew beyond an additional mode" and its fans will "eventually experience the fruits of our team's online ambition."