Despite clumsy combat, this Last of Us 2 multiplayer leak looks promising

Gameplay footage of The Last of Us Part 2's standalone multiplayer Factions spin-off has reemerged on YouTube.

The Last of Us Part II was released to critical acclaim in June, but a seemingly major part of the experience was missing: the multiplayer Factions game mode, which was separated from the based game with the intent of making it a standalone title at some point in the future. A leaked video showing what appears to be Last of Us 2: Factions gameplay has been making the rounds on the internet Thursday, and while elements of what's probably an early build look a bit janky, the full package seems promising.

What was leaked? On August 5, YouTube account The Irishlizard posted a 12-second gameplay video of what appears to be Factions multiplayer. The user claims this footage was part of the more substantial April leak for Last of Us Part 2. At the time, this footage was mostly overlooked as everyone focused more on the narrative spoilers included in the leak, and because Naughty Dog had most instances of it scrubbed from YouTube, it was mostly forgotten. It has since gained second life through this resurfacing, and it gives us a better idea of what to expect from the eventual release.

The leaked multiplayer footage did not include any Clickers or other The Last of Us Part 2 enemies.

Sony Interactive Entertainment

In the brief footage, we see a couple of characters who fight each other in a map that takes place in an abandoned neighborhood covered in snow. Two players take down a player from the opposing team, with the player the footage follows getting a kill assist bonus.

The footage also briefly shows a crafting and inventory system that appears nearly identical to the base game. Overall, this footage looks quite like normal Last of Us Part 2 gameplay, with the major differences being the minimap and, obviously, the 5v5 PVP setup of the match. It is definitely the natural evolution of the first game's underrated multiplayer mode.

What is The Last of Us Part 2: Factions? When the first game was released in 2013, it included a Factions multiplayer mode. Most people remember The Last of Us for the story, but the multiplayer also held up under scrutiny, offering a tense PvP mode with survival elements where players, who were part of enemy factions, fought to survive over the course of multiple days, scrounging for supplies and fighting each other directly.

Originally, a new and improved Factions mode was supposed to be included in The Last of Us Part 2. In late 2019, Naughty Dog announced that multiplayer would not be part of The Last of Us Part 2 at launch because it had grown too big in scope and would become its own standalone game. We have not heard much about it since then, which left its fate in question.

This leaked footage seems to indicate that it is still in the works. Because it’s a standalone title, if you decided to pass on picking up The Last of Us Part 2 but are still interested in seeing how they followed up the first game’s Factions mode, you’ll still be able to play this.

The Inverse Analysis — The leaked footage looks extremely promising, even if some of the animations were clearly still a work-in-progress. Factions was nearly as good as the original The Last of Us’ main campaign, and an updated version for PS4 and PS5 would hopefully be just as great and just as popular.

With live services and ever-changing maps being more common than ever in games like Call of Duty Warzone, this game has the potential to do innovative things like having the world change while retaining the multi-day setup of the original. There's also the possibility that like Warzone, Factions could launch as a free-to-play standalone game that's also integrated into the base game — but that's pure speculation.

The leak did not contain any information on pricing, but it's possible that it might be free. If it is, it would be a great way to counter the free-to-play multiplayer for Halo: Infinite that will launch alongside the Xbox Series X. While Sony is typically lauded for its single-player offerings, a solid The Last of Us 2: Factions multiplayer game could be huge for them.

The Last of Us Part 2 is available now for PS4.