After PlayStation previously announced that Bungie would help conduct a "rigorous review process" of the publisher's live service catalog, a new report suggests that the recently delayed Last of Us multiplayer game was the first casualty of this reevaluation.
PlayStation acquired Destiny 2 developer Bungie in a $3.6 billion deal announced over a year ago. During a financial report earlier this week (via TweakTown), Sony announced that it intends to "work with Bungie on a rigorous review process across the 12 live services we're working on," adding that the studio has helped PlayStation "more deeply understand what success means in live services."
Earlier today, Naughty Dog announced that The Last of Us multiplayer had been pushed back, but offered no specific reasons for the delay. However, a Bloomberg report published moments after the announcement suggested that "Bungie raised questions about the The Last of Us multiplayer project’s ability to keep players engaged for a long period of time, which led to the reassessment."
Bloomberg says that the Last of Us multiplayer game has not been canceled, though development has been scaled back while the company "reevaluates the direction."
While The Last of Us is primarily known for its single-player narrative, the Factions multiplayer mode included in the original game has a devoted cult following. A similar follow-up mode was expected in The Last of Us Part 2, though it was delayed from the game's launch and eventually re-announced as a standalone title.
Today, multiplayer games live and die by their ability to keep players coming back not just for weeks, but years. After all, that's the only way a game can keep players dropping cash over the long haul. This Last of Us multiplayer game might've been able to satisfy Factions fans in its current state - we'll never know for sure - but it seems it wasn't expected to meet PlayStation's lofty live-service ambitions.
Time will tell how much PlayStation will shake up the ranks of the best online games out there.