Fans of The Last of Us Part II have been eagerly waiting for details on the upcoming multiplayer component. The last news on the subject was when a coming reveal was teased by Naughty Dog co-president and The Last of Us 2 game director Neil Druckmann on Twitter after The Last of Us Day came and went with no info. Since almost no details have been shared by Naughty Dog on the multiplayer mode they have in the works, all fans have to go on is speculation. One interesting aspect of the upcoming The Last of Us 2 multiplayer to ponder is where it might take place.
While the multiplayer – also known as Factions – from the first The Last of Us was surprisingly fun and challenging, it admittedly felt a bit tacked on. The Last of Us is clearly a single-player-first experience, and that really shows in the setting of Factions. The maps for Factions were almost entirely pulled straight from locales visited by Joel and Ellie in the story. This is by no means a bad thing. In fact, most games that contain both single and multiplayer have a plethora of asset flipping across the two. It makes development much easier.
The conflicting factions in the first game’s story led to a rather straightforward impetus for multiplayer. Players took control of a Hunter or Firefly and fought against other players for reimgs in order to support their clan of survivors. The narrative in The Last of Us 2 has more moving parts, and doesn’t span as great of a geographical distance as its predecessor, so Naughty Dog’s ambitious multiplayer might have a few options in terms of setting.
If The Last of Us 2 follows the example of its predecessor in sharing locales with its multiplayer, then it will take place somewhere between Wyoming and the Pacific coast. The three main factions present in the game are the Washington Liberation Front, the Seraphites, and the Rattlers. The latter doesn’t interact with the first two at all in the story, since Seattle is quite a ways from Santa Barbara, but any of those groups attempting to expand their territory or being forced to relocate could result in the narrative justification needed to pit them against each other.
Naughty Dog’s claim that the multiplayer became too large to include with the base game implies that it won’t simply create small maps for the players to fight four versus four again. The continued influence of battle royale games in 2020 has evolved the multiplayer landscape far beyond what it was when Factions came out. Asymmetrical multiplayer games have had a noticeable influence as well, a feature that might end up in The Last of Us 2‘s multiplayer if the Seraphites are a playable faction. A larger play area combined with asymmetrical elements might leave The Last of Us 2 with a multiplayer mode similar to that of Escape from Tarkov, another game focused on collecting reimgs and surviving a hostile environment.
The meteoric rise of Valheim and other survival games might also influence The Last of Us 2‘s multiplayer. A logical next step for the clan system from Factions might be to allow players to actually build a settlement somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, then defend it from infected and other clans. Unless the upcoming multiplayer portion of The Last of Us Part II becomes a radical departure from the single player, it seems logical that it will take place somewhere west of Wyoming.