Naughty Dog pushes its "first standalone multiplayer game" in new round of job listings

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

Naughty Dog's standalone multiplayer game is at the center of another hiring push from the company as it takes to social media to share a number of open positions on the project.

Some of the positions Naughty Dog is advertising now, such as "monetization/economy designer," have been open since at least March. Given Naughty Dog's prominent position in the games industry, this is likely more of a reflection of the studio's extended and selective hiring process than a lack of candidates.

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Naughty Dog co-game director Vinit Agarwal added that Naughty Dog is "aggressively hiring" for its untitled multiplayer game. Agarwal added that applicants who get hired "be part of bringing the cinematic experience between players in our new standalone multiplayer action game."

Given its reputation for creating highly cinematic games, it's not a huge surprise to hear Naughty Dog carrying that tradition into its new multiplayer game, but it's interesting that Agarwal is almost billing the experience as fundamentally cinematic. Most multiplayer games have cinematic cutscenes here and there, but they aren't typically central to the experience. It sounds like it's possible Naughty Dog will try to marry the cinematic and multiplayer experiences into something fluid and natural.

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While Naughty Dog has publicly acknowledged its work on the standalone multiplayer game for a while now, it still hasn't shared any specifics about what it will be. 

The job descriptions describe the project as Naughty Dog's "newest adventure" and confirm that it will be "the studio's first standalone multiplayer game." Furthermore, it's looking to maintain the "same level of ambition and quality of our signature, story-driven games to this unique multiplayer project."

One role is for a level and environment designer for the multiplayer project specifically. Another is a gameplay scripter for the same project but on a temporary placement. Back in March of this year, a job listing pointed towards a live service multiplayer title, and while the game hasn't been detailed, as expected, there's the possibility that it could be The Last of Us 2: Factions. 

Factions was originally meant to launch alongside the sequel but was canceled so that the team could focus on the single-player experience. Naughty Dog did clarify that fans would be able to experience the online multiplayer version, but only after The Last of Us 2 was done. Last year, we saw what appeared to be The Last of Us 2: Factions leaked, which seems to confirm that the project was at least in development.

In June, Hermen Hulst, head of PlayStation Studios, said in an interview, "Who says that multiplayer experience cannot have great stories, right?" which seems to back up the job postings. Additionally, earlier this year, several developers at Naughty Dog were promoted for an unannounced project, with one having multiplayer experience.

Naughty Dog is also said to be working on The Last of Us Remake for the PS5, with the studio moving staff to the remake due to having other projects in pre-production. Neil Druckmann has confirmed that the studio has "several cool things we can't wait to share with you." For now, it looks like we'll have to sit tight until more information is released.

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Ben Bayliss

I'm partial to an action adventure RPG such as Skyrim and Cyberpunk 2077. I enjoy the occasional open-world driving games and even those skateboarding titles. But really, if any game I'm playing has a photo mode, I'll likely be found snapping pictures of anything and everything.