Naughty Dog Reportedly Lays Off At Least 25 With Last Of Us Multiplayer Game 'On Ice'
Kotaku is reporting that Naughty Dog, the PlayStation first-party studio behind The Last of Us and Uncharted franchises, has laid off at least 25 developers, cutting their contracts short. The layoffs reportedly began last week, according to two of Kotaku's sources and various departments, from art to production, were hit. The majority of those laid off were in Naughty Dog's quality assurance testing department.
The 25 contract developers laid off were part of a downsizing at the studio, but Kotaku reports that full-time staff do not appear to be affected. The publication's sources say severance is not being offered to those laid off and those affected (as well as those still working at Naughty Dog) are "being pressured to keep the news quiet."
Kotaku says the contracts of those affected won't be officially cut until the end of October and those hit are expected to work through the month.
Game Informer has reached out to PlayStation to ask for comment or statement.
Within Kotaku's report, the publication says that one of its sources says Naughty Dog's in-development Last of Us multiplayer game is not completely canceled but is "basically on ice at this point." This follows news from earlier this year where Naughty Dog said the game needs more time, and that "our team will continue to work on the project, as well as other games in development, including a brand new single-player experience."
A few weeks after that statement from the studio, Bloomberg reported that the team working on the game was scaled back after a recent evaluation. The publication wrote that Sony asked Destiny 2 developer Bungie, which it now owns after a $3.6 billion acquisition in January of last year, to asses the Last of Us multiplayer game's development. Bungie reportedly questioned its long-term viability as a live-service game, which led to Naughty Dog reassesing the game, scaling back the team, and moving developers to other projects.
The hearts of the Game Informer staff are with everyone affected by these layoffs and still at the studio.