In the video game industry, there will always be a period of time within a game’s development cycle when someone, or a group of people, will be “laid off.” Typically, certain roles are on a short-term contract status as they’re needed for certain things, and their job is completed. That’s why it’s a big honor to be given a full-time gig at a game company because once you finish with one title, you will just be moved over to the next. However, a new report states that Naughty Dog has laid off staff in one area a bit early because one of their games is stalling development-wise.
As noted by Kotaku, Naughty Dog has laid off over two dozen members of its QA staff. That’s the “Quality Assurance” people, whose job it is to test for bugs and look for ways to improve the title overall. As we just noted, it wouldn’t be odd to see people like QA staff let go because their roles might be “done” for a certain game. But that’s apparently not the case here. Their contracts are allegedly being ended before they were supposed to. Just as important, the company is trying to keep the people being let go “quiet” and not talk about this to the media. That is the definition of “suspicious” right there.
The potential ending of their jobs is because these particular QA Testers were working on The Last of Us Factions, the multiplayer-focused entry in the beloved post-apocalyptic series. There had already been rumors that the game was struggling internally, and reports had said that it wasn’t getting the “quality” it needed to be released, nor was it a viable game to be played for a long time. Both are bad when you consider how good the reputation of Naughty Dog is and how multiplayer-focused titles are meant to keep you locked in for some time.
The report says that the multiplayer title isn’t canceled, but it is “on ice,” which might be why the QA staff was let go. Apparently, a small group of devs are working on the title to see if it can be advanced.
The irony of all of this is that this comes right alongside growing rumors and reports that The Last of Us Part 3 will be coming and might be coming sooner than people think. If that is the case, fans might not mind seeing the multiplayer title shelved.