Naughty Dog is reportedly cutting some of its contracted staff. According to a Kotaku report, the Sony-owned studio is not renewing the contracts of around 25 temporary workers across numerous departments, with quality assurance staff primarily affected. Full-time staff were apparently not impacted.
Naughty Dog is one of the jewels in Sony’s first-party crown, developing platform-exclusive hits like The Last of Us and the Uncharted series. Back in January, a live-action interpretation of The Last of Us debuted on HBO to critical and social acclaim, but apparently, that popularity has not been enough to support continued development on its Last of Us multiplayer project.
Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that development on the multiplayer game had “slowed down” due to a poor internal review from Bungie — a studio Sony recently acquired that is known for making successful, live-service multiplayer games, including Destiny 2. According to sources in the Kotaku report, while the spinoff hasn’t been canceled, it’s currently “on ice.”
This year has been great for games but abysmal for the people who make them. Several studios across indie and AAA development have been hit with big, bigger, and egregiously big layoffs despite the industry’s record profits and 2023’s rich slate of blockbuster games. Sentiment on social media has increasingly favored unionization as a way to shield workers from corporate abuses and support them when layoffs inevitably happen. Naughty Dog, according to sources, is not offering severance pay to the impacted contract workers — a protection unionization can provide.