Fans have known for a long time that The Last of Us 2 will have a multiplayer option at some point, but Naughty Dog has kept fans in the dark about its progress. However, according to a recent job ad from the studio, The Last of Us 2’s multiplayer will incorporate AI bots as opponents.
While the original The Last of Us is widely regarded as one of the best single-player games ever produced, Factions, the game’s multiplayer component, was also well-received. Players choose between the Firefly and the Hunter factions in Factions and compete in harsh elimination and objective-based battles. The winners gain supplies to help their partnered group survive.
Notably, The Last of Us 2 does not have any kind of multiplayer, although Neil Druckmann, the President of Naughty Dog, stated that a standalone game was in development during last year’s Outbreak Day event. Since then, little clear information regarding the forthcoming mode has been released.
According to a recent job posting at Naughty Dog, The Last of Us 2’s multiplayer component will feature AI bots. This job posting for an “AI Programmer” begins with a description of Part 2’s accomplishments before going into detail about the project: “Join Naughty Dog on their newest adventure—their first standalone multiplayer game!”
“We are searching for programmers focused on building and iterating on AI systems to bring Naughty Dog games to life,” Naughty Dog writes in the following line. Despite the fact that The Last of Us: Part 2’s multiplayer has been kept under wraps, the phrasing of this job offering suggests that it is for this project.
Naughty Dog breaks detailed the job tasks in the second section of the advertisement, which are both quite clear. “Architect and build AI systems such as navigation, decision making, knowledge, and conversation,” according to the job description, and “work closely with the Design and Animation teams to bring ideas and new gameplay elements into the game.”
This profession is especially for the development of in-game AIs so that they can explore areas, make real-time reactions and decisions, and perhaps convey information to or against the user, as indicated by the first sentence. There’s a chance that in The Last of Us: Part 2’s standalone multiplayer, not only will there be enemy bots but also friendly ones.
While this job post appears to be promising, there are still far too many unknowns to get one’s hopes up just yet. While Naughty Dog has subtly indicated that multiplayer would be included in Part 2, the lack of an official announcement or media makes one believe that this project is still in the works.
Nonetheless, the existence of bots suggests that the game won’t be entirely online and that offline features such as a horde mode, similar to Uncharted 4’s survival mode, may be included. That is, however, only speculation at this moment.