Naughty Dog announced on Thursday that the release of The Last of Us Part II is being pushed back indefinitely.
The already-delayed game was scheduled for launch at the end of May. Sony relayed the decision to fans via Twitter. “Logistically, the global crisis is preventing us from providing the launch experience our players deserve.”
Naughty Dog vice president Neil Druckmann spoke with Sony to address the decision and field questions about a rumor regarding a potential release of a The Last of Us Part II demo on the PlayStation Network.
Druckmann first commented on the state Naughty Dog’s work environment, which is a recent topic of controversy. Now that shelter-in-place orders have swept large portions of the country, Druckmann says Naughty Dog is telling employees to take time off if they need it. “Do what you need to take care of yourself. The game will still be here.”
The reduced pressure on developers is also likely the result of having a game that is near complete with no hard deadline for release. “We’re on the one-yard line,” says Druckmann. However, considering growing global concerns surrounding internet infrastructure, retail support, and distribution, a release just doesn’t make sense for the studio at the moment. A situation where a select few have access to the game before the rest of the world is one that both Naughty Dog and Sony want to avoid.
Druckmann also says that a Demo hitting the PSN isn’t going to happen. Fans of the franchise have waited seven years for the sequel and are desperate to sink their teeth into the new story, but the wide release of the press demo isn’t in the cards.
“People don’t understand,” explains Druckmann. “It’s very different to have a demo at a press event and have people from Naughty Dog there to make sure everything goes well.” For press events, the developer cuts a piece of the game and controls a limited number of variables so that fans can get a taste. The press demo also isn’t an accurate representation of the final product. Games receive an incredible number of bug fixes and updates as they near the finish line. “We’d rather put our focus on finishing the game and getting it out to people,” finishes Druckman. The game is there, we just have to figure out the best way to get it to our fans.
Many fans are wondering whether The Last of Us Part II should just be a PS5 title at this point. It’s unlikely that The Last of Us will join Godfall as one of the first confirmed PS5 exclusives, but it would make sense for it to be remastered later in the year. As frustrating as it is for players and the studios involved, it’s commendable that Naughty Dog is taking the time to get the game and the release right rather than following the industry trend of letting the public pressure studios into releasing half-baked games.
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