Naughty Dog may be the highest regarded of PlayStation's first-party studios having delivered some of their biggest titles in recent years including the Uncharted and The Last of Us franchises. With the Uncharted storyline having seemingly reached its end and given the latest installment of The Last of Us has just released, it remains unclear what the team is working on for their next release.
In partnership with Naughty Dog, PlayStation Productions are currently developing live-action adaptations of both the Uncharted and The Last of Us franchises. The Uncharted adaptation takes the form of a live-action movie which will release July 16, 2021 — the first look at which was recently revealed through a series of images. The Last of Us, on the other hand, will be adapted into a live-action series on HBO with no cast yet announced. However, the show was green-lit for production towards the end of 2020.
The divisive release of The Last of Us Part II in 2020 has left many to question what is next for the studio, and a Naughty Dog veteran appears to have offered the first tease at the future.
A recent tweet from Naughty Dog co-president, Neil Druckmann, has revealed the studio is currently in the process of hiring developers for their next project. Druckmann teased the mysterious project stating “We're making something very cool!”
WHAT THIS MEANS
It remains a mystery what this next project may entail as Uncharted 4 seemed to bring the storyline to a natural conclusion. This went on to be followed by the spin-off title Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, focusing on several of Nathan Drake's side-characters adventuring out on their own.
The Uncharted franchise has been an extremely profitable one for PlayStation over the years, so it's unlikely they would be willing to leave it behind altogether. A future game could possibly take the form of a sequel to Drake's story which would bring him out of retirement. They could also choose to produce a sequel to The Lost Legacy again, focusing on Nadine and Chloe, or potentially spin-off several of the other side characters into their own project.
It's almost certain a sequel to The Last of Us Part II will arrive at some point down the line. However, with the last installment releasing less than a year ago, it seems unlikely a sequel is already in the works — especially given the seven-year gap between the first two games.
Most previous Naughty Dog games have featured some form of multiplayer side mode, something which was notably absent from The Last of Us Part II, so they may choose to return to that idea with some form of standalone multiplayer title. A recent LinkedIn profile change appointed developers Vinit Argarwal and Richard Cambier to directorial positions, meaning both are now leading teams. Argarwal particularly notes primarily having experience with multiplayer titles, so it's very likely a multiplayer project is in the works.
Ten years ago, The Last of Us was simply looked at as a new IP from “the people who made Uncharted” and now it's been turned into a global hit. So it's entirely possible the team may try to replicate this success with another totally new story for their next title.
Whatever Naughty Dog's next title is — be it a sequel, prequel, spin-off, or new IP altogether, — fans are likely to be waiting a while to see what comes next from the legendary studio as the mass hiring advertisements places it in the early stages of developments. This is also the studio's first title development for the next-gen PS5 consoles, which is sure to offer them plenty of new opportunities to further expand their legendary storytelling.
For now, Naughty Dog's latest title, The Last of Us Part II, is available now on PS4 and PS5 through backward compatibility.