Naughty Dog’s troubled, long-in-development multiplayer adaptation of The Last of Us has lost one of its most important employees: the man tasked with making money. Anders Howard was recruited by the award-winning studio last November, as the release’s Principal Monetisation Designer. In other words, he was tasked with creating systems that would presumably encourage players to part with their cash for cosmetics, buffs, and other items.
However, considering the project is all-but cancelled at this stage, it looks like there’s no role left for Howard. Less than a year after he joined the team, he’s updated his Linked In page to confirm his work ended in September 2023. This aligns with recent reports we’ve read regarding various layoffs and redundancies at the developer.
We can’t say many will be sad to see the departure of a Principal Monetisation Designer, but it was always going to be essential in a live service game. Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll never get to see what Naughty Dog was cooking, and it makes for quite a concerning generation in general from the California-based first-party; three years into the PS5 era it’s only released a remake of The Last of Us, and its next major game is still likely to be several years away.
The Last of Us Multiplayer Loses Principal Monetisation Designer
Naughty Dog’s ambitious multiplayer project based on The Last of Us has suffered another setback as Anders Howard, the game’s Principal Monetisation Designer, has left the studio. This departure follows recent reports of layoffs and redundancies at the renowned developer.
Lost Potential for Live Service
The departure of Anders Howard, who joined the studio less than a year ago, indicates the grim state of the multiplayer adaptation of The Last of Us. Howard’s role was crucial in creating revenue-generating systems that incentivize players to spend money on cosmetics, buffs, and other in-game items.
With the project now effectively canceled, the departure of the Principal Monetisation Designer raises concerns about the viability of creating a successful live service game. While many may not mourn the loss of a monetization expert, the absence of such a position highlights the challenges faced by developers in sustaining live service titles.
Continued Struggles for Naughty Dog
The troubled multiplayer project’s demise adds to a troubling trend for California-based first-party developer Naughty Dog. Despite being three years into the PS5 era, the studio has only released a remake of The Last of Us, leaving fans eagerly anticipating their next major game, which is likely several years away. The lack of significant releases during this generation raises questions about Naughty Dog’s ability to keep up with the pace of game development and delivery.
A Missed Opportunity
The cancellation of The Last of Us multiplayer adaptation leaves fans imagining what could have been. Naughty Dog’s reputation for crafting engaging narratives and memorable characters raised expectations for the project. However, the studio’s inability to bring a satisfying multiplayer experience to fruition is disappointing for both fans and the industry, prompting concerns about Naughty Dog’s future endeavors.
While the fate of Naughty Dog’s multiplayer project remains uncertain, the studio must refocus its efforts and address the challenges it has faced. Fans eagerly await news of their next major game and hope for a return to the innovative and exceptional experiences Naughty Dog has become known for.