The Last of Us has a bright future ahead of it, to say the very least. HBO’s TV adaptation is flying high, while Naughty Dog is also working on a standalone multiplayer game that it says is the studio’s most ambitious project to date. But what about more single player outings for the series? Can we expect Naughty Dog to get to developing The Last of Us Part 3 at some point in the near future?
Naughty Dog co-president and The Last of Us co-creator Neil Druckmann recently touched on the topic while speaking with BuzzFeed, and as you may have expected, didn’t exactly give a concrete response. Remarking on the freedom that Sony affords to Naughty Dog, Druckmann said that in spite of Uncharted’s success, the studio is now “done” with the franchise- and similarly, he says The Last of Us Part 3 will only get made if Naughty Dog can come up with a “a compelling story” with a “universal message and statement about love.”
“I know there’s a bunch of people wondering about The Last of Us Part 3 and whether that will be a thing or not,” Druckmann said. “All I could say is, at Naughty Dog we’re very, very privileged that our publisher is Sony — which means Sony funds our games, supports us, and we’re owned by Sony. They have supported us every step of the way to follow our passions — meaning that just because something is successful, people think there’s all this pressure and we have to make a sequel. That’s not the case. For us, Uncharted was insanely successful — Uncharted 4 was one of our best selling games — and we’re able to put our final brushstroke on that story and say that we’re done. We’re moving on.
“Likewise, with The Last of Us, it’s up to us whether we want to continue it or not. Our process is the same thing we did when we did Part 2, which is if we can come up with a compelling story that has this universal message and statement about love — just like the first and second game did — then we will tell that story. If we can’t come up with something, we have a very strong ending with Part 2 and that will be the end.”
Druckmann also touched on the standalone multiplayer The Last of Us title, saying that players will get to experience “a brand new story and cast of characters that live in another city that we haven’t seen yet in the world of The Last of Us.”
He said: “We’ve been pretty open that the next Last of Us game is going to be this multiplayer experience, where you’ll be able to enter the world of The Last of Us with your friend and get to experience the tension and the brutality of that world — and a brand new story and cast of characters that live in another city that we haven’t seen yet in the world of The Last of Us. This is going to be another chapter in the universe of The Last of Us.”
Interestingly, based on Druckmann’s past comments, one would imagine Naughty Dog does have a story in mind for the next The Last of Us game. In April 2021, he said that a rough story outline for the game was already ready, while as recently as earlier this month, he said he thinks the series has “more story to tell.” Leaks have also claimed that The Last of Us Part 3 has already entered development– though Druckmann has warned fans to be wary of insider information, so take from that what you will.
Where Uncharted is concerned, Naughty Dog has made it abundantly clear on multiple occasions that Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy were its final games in the series- though that may not necessarily mean the franchise has no future. As per leaks, an Uncharted reboot is in development at a newly-established first party PlayStation studio, with Naughty Dog allegedly providing assistance on the project.
Naughty Dog is set to reveal new details on The Last of Us multiplayer title later this year, while The Last of Us Part 1 is also set to launch for PC on March 3.
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