The Last of Us multiplayer update unlocks Naughty Dog’s full potential

By Lee Brady,

Naughty Dog is hard at work on a PS5 multiplayer spin-off for The Last of Us, and we've just received our first update on the game's development.

With those The Last of Us Part 1 trophies well-and-truly earned for many of us, all we can do now is sit and wait for Naughty Dog to let us know when we can expect The Last of Us' multiplayer spin-off on PS5 to launch. We got a The Last of Us multiplayer tease at the start of the year, but now we have an official update: The Last of Us Online will have doors.

The Last of Us PS5 multiplayerThe door has opened on The Last of Us PS5 multiplayer.

The Last of Us Factions 'door update' is nowhere near as boring as it sounds

At last, some news on what is sure to be one of the best online multiplayer games on PS5 has finally arrived. In a brief tweet from Vinit Agarwal, co-director of the upcoming live-service version of The Last of Us Factions, we learned two key details: doors are coming to the new game, and doors are hard to design in video games.

Agarwal reposted a clip from Maksym Zhuravlov, lead animator at Naughty Dog, highlighting the challenge of designing the combat doors — though, you were likely too busy collecting The Last of Us Part II trophies to even notice. In his response, Agarwal suggests that not only will these doors be returning for The Last of Us Online (which, as you might have noticed, does not yet have an official name), but that the team currently designing the game is once more reliving the nightmare that is designing doors because doors are apparently just a ridiculously difficult thing to design.

The Last of Us PS5 multiplayerThe tweet.

Looking at Zhuravlov's clip, you can sense Naughty Dog's problem here. It turns out there are a lot of ways for a character to open a door in a game — you can see Ellie moving through the door plenty of different ways simply depending on how the player is leaning on the analogue stick, and that doesn't even cover the different animations for each type of weapon she holds. Add multiplayer to the mix and you've got a whole storm of problems with how long animations and cameras should work — not to mention the door itself!

Seriously, think about it — anyone who's played a technically demanding FPS game like Rainbow Six Siege will know just how important every scrap of cover is. Imagine now that your cover is a moveable, directable piece of the environment, capable of blocking oncoming attackers like a shield. Sounds cool, but what happens if your teammates are standing behind you — are they just stuck there, unable to get into the room while you play around with door animations? Doors in an online game sound like an absolute nightmare to design, and there's a reason why so few online multiplayer games have them at all.

The Last of Us PS5 multiplayerPicture courtesy of GameRant.

So, to hear that Naughty Dog is actively trying to solve these problems for The Last of Us' PS5 multiplayer outing is exactly the kind of thing you want to hear from one of gaming's AAA pioneers. A team of this calibre turning its attention to the smallest game design details we all take for granted while attempting to maintain the polish and quality we expect from a Naughty Dog release — that's what we're all here for, and that's the kind of dedication we hope to see from any title angling to be the next best PS5 game.

Will Naughty Dog be able to open the door on doors in multiplayer video game design? Only time will tell, but let us know in the comments if you still thought this was maybe the most inane piece of gaming news ever reported. Fair warning, we probably can't be friends after you send that message, but you are absolutely free to do so.
Lee Brady
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee loves writing about the game design of classic PS Plus Premium games and upcoming PS5 games like Marvel's Spider-Man 2 and Final Fantasy XVI. He's a big proponent of video games as an evolving artistic medium, though he's also a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog games, so the medium might want to keep looking for a better spokesperson.
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