The Last of Us Factions standalone game: Multiplayer details, concept art, more

Naughty Dog

What began as a simpler evolution of Factions set to launch alongside The Last of Us Part 2 has since grown into Naughty Dog’s first standalone multiplayer experience. From early gameplay details to a possible release window, here’s everything we know.

While traditionally viewed as a powerhouse studio in the realm of story-driven, single-player titles, Naughty Dog has now confirmed its first standalone multiplayer title is in the works. 

Having grown in ambition over the past few years, The Last of Us Part 2’s online component has now blossomed into a full-fledged experience of its own.

Although fans of The Last of Us still have quite some time to wait, there’s already plenty we know about the upcoming project. From a potential release window to early gameplay details, here’s a full rundown on the standalone multiplayer title.

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The Last of Us Factions multiplayer gameplayNaughty Dog
It’s been nine years since the original Factions experience made waves on PS3.

Does The Last of Us multiplayer game have a release date?

The standalone Last of Us Factions multiplayer experience does not currently have a release date. Moreover, the ambitious project doesn’t have so much as a broad release window either.

All we know for sure is that project has been in development “for the past two years,” as Druckmann explained during the Summer Game Fest 2022. 

Although Naughty Dog isn’t “quite ready to unveil it,” he assured that fans the wait for more details won’t be too long. “You’re gonna see a lot more of this game next year.”

What Platforms will The Last of Us Factions Multiplayer game be on?

For the time being, no exact platforms have been locked in for the upcoming Last of Us multiplayer game. As you would expect from a first-party studio, however, it’s safe to assume the title will launch on PlayStation platforms first.

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The Last of Us Part 1 cover artNaughty Dog
The original Last of Us is being remade for both PS5 and PC, perhaps indicating an eventual PC launch of the multiplayer title too.

Currently, there’s no telling if the multiplayer project was built from the ground up for the new-gen PS5, or whether it will still support players on the last-gen PS4.

Moreover, given Sony’s recent trend of porting much of its first-party catalog to PC, including the upcoming Last of Us Part 1 remake, there’s every chance we see this standalone multiplayer experience reach PC as well further down the line.

The Last of Us Factions multiplayer game: Multiplayer details

When The Last of Us first launched in 2013, it did so with an accompanying multiplayer mode known as Factions. The online experience kept the brutal realism intact, giving players limited health, equipment, and just a few rounds of ammo. It even incorporated a unique meta-game in the menus where wins, losses, and overall performance saw your own group of survivors either growing or dwindling.

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As The Last of Us Part 2 drew near, it was confirmed that “an evolution” of Factions would be arriving alongside the next chapter of the story. However, Naughty Dog pivoted in 2019, announcing that the multiplayer component had taken on a life of its own and required further development than originally planned.

“The vision of the team grew beyond an additional mode that could be included with our enormous single-player campaign,” the statement read.

Outside of a simple: “we’re working on it” update in 2021 blog post, the multiplayer experience was mostly off the radar until Neil Druckmann took to the Summer Game Fest stage in 2022.

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Providing some insight into the game’s development, the Naughty Dog Co-President confirmed that it would now be launching as a standalone title.

“What started out as a multiplayer mode, has evolved due to the team’s ambition,” he said. “They really wanted to do something beyond what we’ve ever done at Naughty Dog. This game is big. It’s as big as any of our single-player games that we’ve done and in some ways bigger.”

Exactly what this looks like, still remains unclear. Though Druckmann did provide a single piece of concept art for the project. 

The Last of Us standalone multiplayer title concept artNaughty Dog
Our first look at the new standalone Last of Us multiplayer title.

This artwork showcases a wide-open space in San Francisco, seemingly being swept up in some form of catastrophic wave, perhaps one directly linked to the fungal outbreak. Zooming into the piece, we can see a form of infected making its way through the hazardous zone, potentially indicating what type of game we might see.

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A third-person Battle Royale could be a likely guess based on this concept art, where survivors must avoid the encroaching wave of runners, clickers, and the like. Given existing gameplay systems, along with a reliance on scavenging and crafting, The Last of Us could be a natural fit for the genre, but there’s no telling for certain just yet. 

The Last of Us Factions multiplayer game: Setting & Storyline

One thing we do know for certain is that this standalone Last of Us multiplayer title will feature an entirely new story.

Fit with a “brand new cast of characters,” Druckmann confirmed the news during his Summer Game Fest appearance. Distanced from the single-player narrative both figuratively and literally, the new experience appears to take place in San Francisco. 

Exactly how this story will be told isn’t yet clear. As a potential live-service game, there’s a chance the narrative unfolds over the course of many seasonal updates post-launch. But we’ll have to wait and see how it all unfolds in due time.