Naughty Dog and Sony released The Last of Us Part II in June 2020 to critical acclaim. It is at least Sony's third highest-grossing game ever in the US and won "Game of the Year" at The Game Awards. As such, fans are eagerly anticipating whatever the developer does next.
While we are stilling waiting on The Last of Us Part 2's multiplayer follow-up, job listings that emerged fall The Last of Us Part 2's release, it seems that work has already started on the studio's next big single-player game. While it might be a while before Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment actually unveil their next big game, these are 3 possibilities for Naughty Dog's first single-player PlayStation 5 game.
We know that the next game from Naughty Dog will be a single-player game because of a job posting that emerged on the studio's website. The position was for a "Level/Environment Designer (Single Player)" and describes the position as being a "creative force behind our narrative-driven content." Other job listings for a Gameplay Animator and Tools Programmer also hint at Naughty Dog's next-gen project in their focus on melee animation and next-gen graphics, respectively.
If you were worried that Naughty Dog would be moving away from single-player games after The Last of Us Part 2, these job listings indicate that's not the case. What will Naughty Dog make next for PS5? Here are the 3 of the most likely candidates.
3. Uncharted 5
While the ending of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End felt pretty final, it would make sense for Naughty Dog to dust off this lauded IP for one more adventure after The Last of Us Part 2. With a movie starring Tom Holland on the horizon, Uncharted is about to become more popular and relevant again. As such, it'd be smart for Sony and Naughty Dog to capitalize on that excitement with a new game.
The creative forces behind the series also seem open to it. Nathan Drake's voice actor Nolan North has called for Uncharted 5 multiple times on Twitter, saying things like "Do I get a vote?" when people called for another game to be made. Even Druckmann has teased a new Uncharted: "We made Uncharted 4 and we haven't made another Uncharted since," he said in a video with Nolan North and Troy Baker.
"Maybe one day we will. We'll see." If the game does happen, it is unknown if Uncharted 5 would continue the story of Nathan Drake, go the prequel route like the movie, or focus on his daughter that was introduced at the end of Uncharted 4.
Regardless, there are still a lot of possibilities for Uncharted 5 despite the previous game's finality. And after The Last of Us Part 2, we could definitely use something more lighthearted from Naughty Dog. That said, even if a follow-up is in the pipeline it might not be their next-game, as Sony insider shinobi602 shot down rumors for Uncharted 5 on ResetEra in December 2020.
2. The Last of Us Part 3
The most obvious choice for a next-gen Naughty Dog game would be The Last of Us Part 3 because The Last of Us Part 2 had the fastest-selling launch of any Sony-published game ever. Director Neil Druckmann has already teased ideas for a sequel and even told GQ shortly before the launch of The Last of Us Part 2 that "the next thing could be a Part III."
That said, he has been coyer about a possible follow up in other interviews. Druckmann confirmed that The Last of Us Part 2 won't get single-player DLC. "We’d really have to figure out how to create a new [The Last of Us] experience that matches the emotional impact of these stories and I don’t know what that is," he explained to IndieWire.
Now that The Last of Us Part 2 is out in the wild and the developers are seeing how people are reacting to the story, both positively and negatively, they might be able to gain a clearer sense of where the story should go in The Last of Us Part 3. If this is Naughty Dog's next project, we can't wait to see where the studio brings Ellie and Abby next.
1. A New IP
What we'd truly like to see next from Naughty Dog on PS5 is a new IP. It's been seven years since Naughty Dog introduced a new world and franchises to players, and we'd love to see what the studio could do once they break the confines of established series like The Last of Us and Uncharted. Seeing Naughty Dog create a new universe that embraces genres like sci-fi or fantasy would be an exciting step for longtime fans.
It would also allow the studio to experiment with new systems instead of the linear third-person shooter action of their last three major IP. This option is on the table too, as Druckmann also said in the aforementioned GQ interview that "the next thing could be some new IP" as he "can’t help but think about the next thing."
He also said in the aforementioned Nolan North and Troy Baker video that Naughty Dog is "lucky that we have the freedom that Sony gives us where we can choose," so it appears that Sony would be open to Naughty Dog introducing a new IP for PS5. Whatever Naughty Dog has in store for us next, consider us excited.
The Last of Us Part 2 is available now for PS4.