What we want from The Last of Us 2’s multiplayer

The Last of Us sold over 17 million copies. Despite the sizable audience, many players skipped the multiplayer entirely and missed out on the equally stellar online experience. But there’s always room for improvement. The Last of Us Part 2 multiplayer modes can do exactly that since Naughty Dog has had many years to reflect and improve its online skill. Here are our biggest wishes for the online modes for the highly anticipated sequel.

The Last of Us Part 2 multiplayer – Keep the core, methodical gameplay intact

Multiplayer games typically strip out mechanics from their single-player components for balancing or simplicity’s sake. The Last of Us kept everything. The standard moveset translated without issue. Listen mode remained as a useful tool for the player in stressful situations. The crafting system also made the cut, creating a satisfying gameplay loop consisting of scrounging for supplies between battles. Because of these systems coalescing, The Last of Us‘ multiplayer rewards spatial awareness and methodical play.

You aren’t just highlighted on the minimap for using a non-silenced gun. Sprinting also highlights your position to the enemy team. Shivs can be crafted to initiate one hit kills from behind. Considering its tightly-knit four on four nature and small, symmetrical maps, The Last of Us‘ online multiplayer provides a unique sense of intimacy and its sequel must keep that intact.

The Last of Us Part 2 multiplayer – Don’t go overboard with modes

Keep it simple. The first game launched with Survivors and Supply Raid, adding Interrogation via a free update post-launch. These modes work and there’s no reason to try to invent the wheel. A small list of modes for a game like The Last of Us emphasizes the core gameplay loop while ensuring less players are scattered across different modes.

The Last of Us Part 2 multiplayer – DLC and microtransactions

DLC should be in-game purchases or limited to cosmetics. The first game launched without paid content, but Naughty Dog soon began charging for taunts and alternate weapon-specific executions. Around 90 cosmetic items were added between hats, helmets, and masks and none of these were attainable through normal play. You either paid or you didn’t get them.

Naughty Dog pushed the envelope further with paid weapons and survival skills. Beyond this, six weapons and thirteen survival skills remained gated behind a paywall. These weren’t insignificant additions, either.

The Executioner survival skill turned a moderately successful stealthy player into a serious threat. The tactical shotgun, with its close quarters damage, provided an inherent advantage in a decent amount of situations considering the size and layout of most maps. Scoped variants of the already existing semi-auto, full-auto, and burst rifles were also locked behind the same paywall. Preset classes with some of these survival skills and weapons were added, but they didn’t cover the gamut. Naughty Dog has to do better next time.

The Last of Us Part 2 Multiplayer – Less grindy progression

the last of us part 2 multiplayer

Nobody likes an unnecessary grind. Uncharted 4‘s grind is unbearably slow. Designating the same color scheme as an individual unlock for every single costume is one of the most anti-consumer decisions a company could make regarding loot box-style progression systems. As long as The Last of Us Part 2 doesn’t pull anything like this, it’ll probably be in the clear.

The Last of Us Part 2 multiplayer – Destruction

Minor destruction could enhance the intimacy and intensity already reflected by the original’s multiplayer. With more potential openings, players would be incentivized to stick more closely to their team and other non-broken cover.

While the lone wolf playstyle is largely ineffective in the first game, it isn’t obsolete. The most highly skilled players can still wipe out an entire room with the right positioning and crafted materials. Destructible cover littered throughout the map would force players to be more mobile, potentially opening them up in otherwise impenetrable situations.

The Last of Us Part 2 multiplayer – Emblems

Naughty Dog should give users more tools and allowing them to attach more than one emblem across various body parts. A dynamic “graffiti” system, which imposes the top player’s emblem over specified surfaces, would help facilitate a sense of individuality.

They could complement the minor destructible elements in some clever ways. The Last of Us‘ multiplayer maps are usually very symmetrical, providing no clear advantage for teams spawning on either side. Perhaps the top player’s created emblem for each team would line the dilapidated walls and bombed out vehicles on each end of the map, dynamically shifting as spawn positions and top players change. These alterations would make maps less static, reinforcing the core game’s intensity and intimacy.

The Last of Us Part 2 multiplayer – Keep the Facebook metagame

It might need to extend its social media reach to Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, but the concept should remain relatively unchanged. The Last of Us had an interesting metagame that revolved around collecting enough food cans each match to keep your group of survivors alive.

Every once in a while, in-game challenges would present themselves threatening this population or providing massive boons to their numbers. Naming your colony after your Facebook friends was a nice touch and should be repeated in the sequel. Naughty Dog could expand on this to make it a bigger system that could maybe even have separate encampments for each of your different social accounts.

Letting users integrate any of the currently most-used social media platforms for a similar metagame would be a fun and silly way to carry on tradition while also adding weight to each match.

Naughty Dog nailed The Last of Us‘ multiplayer formula from the start, carving a strong niche. The Last of Us Part 2 only needs slight iteration to impress and if it makes tweaks in the right places and stays true to its roots, then Naughty Dog is likely to have another online hit on its hands.