The Last of Us Part 2 multiplayer – where is the online mode?

When we think back to The Last of Us many will recall the gripping story, incredible characters, and its stunning post-apocalyptic setting. There are also a clutch of hardcore fans – ourselves include – who fell in love with Factions, The Last of Us’ online multiplayer. What about The Last of Us Part 2 multiplayer though?

The original mode saw two teams of four players face off in tense skirmishes, collecting and crafting items while stalking one another, engaging in firefights, and the odd bout of fisticuffs. It worked incredibly well, received two DLC map pack expansions, and still has a sizeable online community active via The Last of Us Remastered on PS4.

Since Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Naughty Dog has bolstered its epic singleplayer stories with inventive, cinematic modes to accompany them. In fact, The Last of Us Part II is the first game they’ve shipped in over a decade that doesn’t have a meaty multiplayer portion attached.

The Last of Us Part 2 multiplayer – where is it?

Following the sequel’s announcement, it was safe to assume that Part II would feature online play even though it wasn’t confirmed outright. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End featured a longer campaign than previous instalments though still had multiplayer modes, these being Naughty Dog’s biggest and most ambitious to date.

Multiplayer for The Last of Us Part II was seemingly confirmed at E3 2018 in a Polygon interview with the game’s co-director, Anthony Newman, who stated “there is going to be multiplayer with the game … We’re really excited to share details about it, but that’s going to be at a later date.”

However, Naughty Dog ultimately made the decision to drop multiplayer from Part II, delivering the following message to their fans last year:

We wanted to address multiplayer in The Last of Us Part 2. As we’ve stated, the single player campaign is far and away the most ambitious project Naughty Dog has ever undertaken. Likewise, as development began on the evolution of our Factions mode from The Last of Us Part 1, the vision of the team grew beyond an additional mode that could be included with our enormous single player campaign. Wanting to support both visions, we made the difficult choice that The Last of Us Part 2 would not include an online mode.

However, you will eventually experience the fruits of our team’s online ambition, but not as a part of The Last of Us Part 2. When and where it will be realized is still to be determined. But rest assured, we are as big a fan of Factions as the rest of our community and are excited to share more when it’s ready.

As huge Factions fans we have to admit that we were pretty gutted that a new-and-improved version of gripping multiplayer mode didn’t make its way into the sequel. However, given how long it takes to complete The Last of Us Part II, this helped soften the blow somewhat.

Gazing into our crystal ball here at TheSixthAxis, we’d guess that a free update or standalone experience is currently in the pipeline. Although the former seems more plausible, some will remember that Uncharted 3’s online multiplayer was later launched as its own separate download post-launch. We’re also starting to see more publishers break their big AAA games into multiple portions, the biggest example being Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and its battle royale offshoot, Warzone.

With the PlayStation 5 just months away, it’s not hard to imagine Sony beefing up a next-gen version of The Last of Us Part II with online multiplayer, enhanced visuals, and other bobbins to encourage sales of the new platform.

However Naughty Dog decides to package up its online component for Part II, the game’s singleplayer gives a good indication of how these potential online skirmishes could play out. We expect Factions 2.0 to still centre around that mix of gunplay, stealth, and crafting, perhaps with some added PvE elements thrown in, similar to Uncharted’s popular co-op survival.

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Senior Editor bursting with lukewarm takes and useless gaming trivia. May as well surgically attach my DualSense at this point.