Naughty Dog is hiring new staff to work on a multiplayer game - which may or may not be the incoming multiplayer mode for the studio's 2020 hit, The Last of Us Part II. (It probably is.) This, according to reports at VGC and GameSpot.
Specifically, the Santa Monica-based first-party Sony studio is looking for an economy designer to work on a game that'll be based around a live service model, with player progression mechanics. The advert's text states that the right applicant will "create avenues for self-expression for our players" - so, how their avatar appears in game - as well as ensure that the game in question enjoys longevity and provides players with "great rewards to strive for".
We're yet to see exactly what the multiplayer side of The Last of Us Part II will look like - so it could be that this role is focused on delivering the relevant targets to that, or contribute to a whole-new project we've not had confirmation on, yet. We're pretty sure something all-new is in the works at Naughty Dog, aimed at the PlayStation 5, with some industry rumours circulating about a sci-fi-themed game. (Assuming TLOU isn't sci-fi, which it sort of is.) But, as yet, we've had nothing concrete.
GameSpot digs deeper into the ad, revealing that the right candidate will have experience of "developing in-game economies for console or PC multiplayer games". Wouldn't read too much into the PC side of that, though, as while PC ports of PlayStation exclusives have been creeping out - see Death Stranding and Horizon Zero Dawn, and now Days Gone - it's very unlikely this means anything The Last of Us-related will make the switch to home computers.
Unless... Unless the standalone multiplayer mode for The Last of Us Part II does come to PC, as well as PS4 and PS5? In this industry, it's best to rule nothing out. But let's say, relatively safely, that it's hugely unlikely, and move on.
The in-game economy systems will have to "synergise well with the game as a whole" - which is, surely, what every dev wants to see. Nothing quite like stupid progression mechanics and currency-based upgrades that don't match the world you're in, snapping you out of the immersion and having you remember that it's all ones and zeroes going on, beneath the screen. Expect to be able to dress Ellie and Joel up to match your mood, then - but not in anything so wild that it stops being TLOU-ish. Unicorn hats, probably not.
In related news, HBO's television adaptation of The Last of Us is still progressing, with Pedro Pascal cast as Joel - and fans have already put the actor and his co-star Bella Ramsey into the original game, with striking results.
Featured Image Credit: Naughty Dog, Sony Interactive Entertainment
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