We consider 2013's The Last of Us to be one of the finest pieces of gaming in history. It's a narrative masterpiece that even non-gamers can appreciate. In fact, the story is so good that HBO is making a TV adaptation.
However, one of the things that helped ensure The Last of Us retained its popularity for a long time was its online multiple-player mode, Factions.
The multiplayer mode lets players pick from the Hunters or Fireflies factions and fight against each other in teams composed of twelve members each, in three different game modes.
So, you can only imagine the outrage when Naughty Dog confirmed that it wasn't going to include a multiplayer mode for the sequel.
While Naughty Dog did deliver on a single-player campaign for The Last of Us Part II that was worth losing the multiplayer mode for, it appears that this wasn't initially the case. Dataminers have found definitive proof that Naughty Dog had other initial plans for the 2020 sequel.
What would have the battle royale mode for TLOU2 have looked like?
One reason why Naughty Dog dropped the multiplayer mode for The Last of Us Part II was that the single-player campaign had become the studio's "most ambitious project". However, Naughty Dog had also hinted that it was working on a standalone Factions game. Later job adverts, including this one that's been up for a couple of months, suggest that it is still happening.
With that said, what known dataminer 'Speclizer' has found suggests that Naughty Dog planned to include a battle royale mode in The Last of Us Part II.
The game files do not explicitly confirm that Naughty Dog planned for a battle royale mode. Rather, as Speclizer explains in his video, there is an abnormally large map prop in the game's files. The said location is an aggregate of multiple single-player areas such as Adler Park, Camallito, and the Port of Camallito. He adds that Naughty Dog could use the map prop for a battle royale mode.
Later in a pinned comment on the YouTube video, Speclizer added that the development footage contains "a compass and a player count which is usually only used in battle royales." He also found an emote wheel script, backpack, and armor models. However, he has had no luck restoring the latter.
It's been quite an interesting year for the award-winning video game series. Earlier this year, there were reports that Sony had ordered Naughty Dog to work on a remake of the first The Last of Us game. This was later teased by a Scandinavian website with Sony fanning the flames by giving The Last of Us 2 a permanent price cut.
So far, we have received no actual confirmation from Naughty Dog and Sony about these reports though. When and if fresh information on The Last of Us series does break, Xfire will be right there to cover it.