The Last of Us 2 (opens in new tab) is easily one of the most anticipated new games of 2019 (opens in new tab) and beyond, so it's no wonder that every subsequent week has brought with it more speculation, gossip, and rumour about the title's potential release date. The upcoming PS4 game (opens in new tab), according to a recent retailer leak (opens in new tab), may be arriving as early as October 2019, which has since been corroborated by news that Naughty Dog has wrapped filming on the sequel (opens in new tab) and rumours that we'll be hearing more from Sony before E3 2019 is over (opens in new tab), despite their absence from this year's show.
The Last of Us 2 is even listed next to other 2019 releases like Rage 2 (opens in new tab) and Days Gone (opens in new tab) as "coming soon" on the official PlayStation website (opens in new tab), but a recent update via Twitter from the game's Co-Director, Anthony Newman, suggests a 2019 launch isn't yet guaranteed. In a tweet announcing that Naughty Dog is recruiting (opens in new tab) to hire a large number of animators, game designers, and programmers to join The Last of Us 2's team, Newman said that the studio is now seeking to "close out" work on the game, suggesting it is in its final stages of development.
That's good news for The Last of Us (opens in new tab) fans, as it sounds as though no huge Uncharted 4 (opens in new tab) style delays are impending, but it also leaves the window open for at least another year of development on the game before it finally releases. Think about how long it often takes to hire, train, and get people working on a project at any company, let alone one as busy as Naughty Dog. We could be talking several months before those new employees are actually able to help "close out" development, a process which – in itself – has a infamously flexible timeline.
In short; yes, it's great that the studio is finishing up its development with The Last of Us 2, but that doesn't mean we can expect to see the sequel launching before Christmas. That said, Sony needs to have something to show for itself come the Holiday season, so perhaps Death Stranding (opens in new tab) or Final Fantasy 7 Remake (opens in new tab) will fill the gap and fill out the list of best PS4 games (opens in new tab) to play this year. Either that, or we'll be hearing more about the recently announced PS5 (opens in new tab)...