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Report: Naughty Dog lays off "dozens" of contract developers

Naughty Dog has reportedly laid off over two dozen contractors working on the stalled The Last of Us multiplayer project.

Justin Carter

October 3, 2023

1 Min Read
Key art of Ellie in Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part II.

Layoffs have reportedly hit the staff over at Naughty Dog. A new report from Kotaku alleges the Last of Us developer has cut at least 25 contractor jobs. 

A pair of sources told the outlet the affected contractors are expected to work through the month of October. While the art and production departments were affected, the majority of reductions reportedly hit the QA team.

In a layoff-heavy year, this is the biggest first-party PlayStation developer to get caught up in the proceedings. It's further alleged no severance is being offered, and contractors (both those impacted and the ones remaining) have been told to keep quiet on the matter.

Naughty Dog's 2023 struggles continue

Kotaku also claimed the upcoming Last of Us multiplayer spinoff (previously dubbed Factions) is "on ice," but not fully cancelled. Earlier in the year, a Bloomberg report revealed Factions development was troubled and its resources had been diverted to other (presumably single-player) projects at the studio. 

Following that Bloomberg report, Naughty Dog stated its team would keep on the project alongside a separate single-player offering. In recent months, the company has repeatedly insisted ahead of livestreams and celebrations of the Last of Us franchise that it wouldn't be revealing a new project during those events.

Factions has been previously touted as a big live-service offering, one of many that ex-Sony Interactive head Jim Ryan touted in recent years. One other such project is a multiplayer spinoff for Guerrilla's Horizon series, which appears to still be in development.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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