The Last of Us and Uncharted developer Naughty Dog has also reportedly been hit with layoffs, apparently affecting at least 25 employees from the company’s quality assurance department. Additionally, reports suggest that the planned standalone multiplayer for The Last of Us is “on ice” too.
Kotaku was the first to report that around 25 employees from Naughty Dog’s QA team had been let go, with Twitter user Timur222 confirming the news after discovering the LinkedIn profiles of the terminated workers in question. Many of these fired employees were part-time or contract workers at the company and Naughty Dog is apparently not offering them any severance.
Kotaku’s sources claim that the terminated employees were asked, or more accurately pressured, to not talk about the layoffs. Naughty Dog has yet to provide an official statement on the matter but if the reports about keeping the laid off developers quiet are true, then it’s unlikely we’ll hear anything from the studio. To add a bit more salt to the wound, the outlet’s sources also claim that The Last of Us multiplayer isn’t outright cancelled but rather “on ice” right now.
Looks like the Naughty Dog layoffs are true pic.twitter.com/mdjStIqo3U
— Timur222 (@bogorad222) October 3, 2023
This news follows the departure of PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan who, according to Bloomberg, attempt to push live service games at PlayStation to the dismay of most of its single-player first-party studios struggling to pivot into online multiplayer. The layoffs at Naughty Dog could be the result of the company trying to refocus itself back onto single-player titles but it still doesn’t explain why fired employees were asked to keep a low profile about their termination.
Layoffs are abound in the gaming industry right now. Epic Games recently let go of around 900 employees after citing “unrealistic” expectations for its attempt to bring Fortnite to a metaverse-inspired ecosystem. Worms publisher Team17 also faced layoffs including its own CEO in an effort to restructure the business. BioWare previously laid off 50 employees to try and bolster the development of Dragon Age: Dreadwolf and the next Mass Effect.
We’ll have to wait for some official confirmation on the Naughty Dog layoffs so take this with a pinch of salt for now.