Naughty Dog, The Developer of The Last of Us and Uncharted, Lays Off At Least 25 Contractors

Games News Naughty Dog
Naughty Dog, The Developer of The Last of Us and Uncharted, Lays Off At Least 25 Contractors

Naughty Dog, the Sony-owned studio behind such massive hits as The Last of Us series and the Uncharted games, has started cutting some of its contracted developers, Ethan Gach of Kotaku reported today. Gach reports that last week at least two dozen contractors were informed their contracts would not be renewed at the end of October. The layoffs will impact a variety of departments, especially QA, with no severance and internal pressure to not reveal or discuss the layoffs.

The layoffs could be related to a pause in development on a multiplayer Last of Us game. A source told Gach that the spinoff is “on ice,” but not officially cancelled. That game, which was originally planned to be a multiplayer mode in 2020’s The Last of Us Part II, has had a long, troubled development period, with Jason Schreier of Bloomberg reporting in May that progress had slowed after a negative internal review of the game’s status. Some developers were moved off the project after that review, Schreier reported, putting the game’s still unscheduled release in question. It’s been almost three and a half years since The Last of Us Part II came out, so this potential spinoff has already had a lot of extra development time, and still apparently isn’t up to the studio’s standards.

Naughty Dog is just the latest videogame company to lay off staff over the last few months. It comes a day after Team17 announced significant layoffs and less than a week after Fortnite owner Epic Games announced that it was laying off over 800 employees. If companies like Epicvalued at tens of billions of dollars, and responsible for a massive pop culture phenomenon—and Naughty Dog—long the model for blockbuster AAA game development, and owned by Sony—can’t guarantee employment to its workers, then the games industry might be even more fundamentally broken than we already thought.

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