The Last of Us 3 Release Date, Story, Multiplayer & More 2024

The Last of Us is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed video game franchises of all time. Developed by Naughty Dog exclusively for PlayStation, the series has captivated fans with its emotionally driven storytelling, dynamic characters, and intense action. With the recent release of The Last of Us Part II in 2020, fans are already clamoring for details about a third installment in the franchise.

Though Naughty Dog and Sony have not officially confirmed a Last of Us 3 yet, many signs are pointing to it likely being in early development. Here is everything we know so far about the potential The Last of Us Part III – from guesses at a possible release date to story insights, multiplayer details, and more.

When Will The Last of Us 3 Release?

With no official word yet on a sequel, it’s impossible to know for certain when The Last of Us 3 could be released. However, looking at Naughty Dog’s development history provides clues.

The Last of Us first launched in 2013 on PS3. The sequel, The Last of Us Part II, arrived seven years later in 2020 on PS4. If Naughty Dog roughly follows the same timeline, The Last of Us Part III could be released somewhere around 2027 on PS5.

However, there are signs the third game could arrive slightly sooner. Recent job listings at Naughty Dog hint they have entered pre-production on a major new project that industry insiders believe is The Last of Us 3. If it is farther along than we realize, a 2026 release could be plausible.

2027 seems the most likely target for now though. This would allow plenty of time for Naughty Dog’s signature thoughtful development process. It took them almost six years to create the content-rich Part II. A similar development cycle would put Part III out in 2027 at the earliest.

The Last of Us 3 will realistically release somewhere between 2026 and 2027, assuming Naughty Dog even makes a third game. The PS5 will likely be the platform, allowing them to further refine the stunning graphics and intense gameplay the series is known for.

What Could The Story Be About?

The Last of Us Part II ended on a grim note, with Ellie spared Abby but losing Dina and JJ in the process. This leaves the door wide open for where the story could go in Part III. Here are some likely avenues Naughty Dog could explore:

Ellie’s Search for Redemption

A major theme across both games has been Ellie’s struggle with survivor’s guilt. After losing Joel, her quest for vengeance took her to dark places that cost her dearly. A third game could see Ellie set out on a path to redeem herself. She could search for Dina and JJ to make amends, or help others in need she comes across. Seeing Ellie reconnect with her humanity and move towards the light could provide an uplifting ending for her emotional journey.

The Rebuilding of Society

Both previous games focused on the bleak state of the world following the cordyceps outbreak. America has collapsed into chaos and lawlessness. The development of a vaccine provides a glimmer of hope things could improve. Part III could fast-forward years and show pockets of civilization starting to rebuild. Traveling across this world and seeing society reform could show the cure Elliott sacrificed for is finally bearing fruit.

The Rise of New Factions

The first game introduced us to authoritarian groups like the military quarantine zones and cannibalistic hunters. Part II brought the religious zealotry of the Seraphites into the mix. A third game could explore what new factions emerge in the power vacuum left behind. Whether they are benevolent or malevolent, these groups would reshape the world Ellie travels through in dramatic ways.

The Final Fate of Abby & Lev

After Ellie spared them, Abby and Lev set sail for the base of the Fireflies. But whether they arrive safely is unknown. A potential Part III could shift perspective and follow their journey. Getting closure on their story while also seeing the Fireflies and other characters from the first game return could be extremely gratifying for fans.

These are just a few possibilities of where the story could go next. With narratives as emotionally resonant as The Last of Us though, Naughty Dog is sure to deliver an impactful experience regardless. The overarching themes of love, loss, guilt, and redemption will likely underpin any tale in a fully realized Part III.

What Gameplay Changes Could Part III Bring?

The Last of Us established itself early on as a pioneer in cinematic gameplay. Part II only expanded the intense action and survival mechanics. For the third installment, Naughty Dog will look to again raise the bar. Here are some possible gameplay changes and improvements a Last of Us 3 could bring:

Expanded Faction Mechanics

Dealing with the different factions in Part II added greater depth and challenge. Expanding this system even further could be a focus of the third game. Imagine having to gain trust and ranks within factions to gain access to certain areas and resources. Choosing sides during conflicts could also drastically alter the story and world around you.

More Sophisticated Stealth & AI

The human and infected AI in Part II was already best-in-class. But expect Naughty Dog to make them even more reactive and challenging to increase tension. Larger crowds of enemies could behave more realistically as a group in hunting you down. New infected types could also force you to approach stealth in innovative ways.

Larger Open Environments

The relatively linear pathways in Part II still offered some room to explore at your own pace. But Part III could feature full-blown open levels akin to the Resident Evil remakes. Navigating these larger spaces with enhanced movement abilities could amplify the survivor fantasy.

More Meaningful Crafting

Crafting weapons, tools, and enhancements is already crucial to survival. Part III could build on this by allowing even more customization of stats and attributes when modifying items. Unique crafting materials found in certain regions could let you create special gear tailor-made for those environments too.

Next-Gen Immersion

From advanced haptics to 3D audio to DualSense adaptive triggers, the PS5 hardware will enable unprecedented levels of immersion. Naughty Dog will leverage these features to blur the line between playing The Last of Us 3 and actually living it. The firefights, stealth, world exploration, and more are destined to feel better than ever on PS5.

What Could Multiplayer Look Like?

The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part II focused solely on single-player campaigns. But multiplayer has been an integral part of Naughty Dog games in the past, like Uncharted. So what could competitive and cooperative multiplayer gameplay look like in a Last of Us 3? Here are some possibilities:

Factions PVP

The original Last of Us featured an excellent PVP mode called Factions. Two teams faced off in tactical matches, scavenging supplies and outwitting opponents. This mode could return even deeper with new maps, modes, and customization unlocks centered around the major factions in the series like the Seraphites, Fireflies, and WLF.

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Open World Co-Op

Imagine being able to optionally play through the entire story campaign online with a friend. Or free-roaming the open world together to tackle side objectives like infiltrating infected zones. Drop-in/drop-out co-op would add camaraderie and strategic depth without compromising the narrative focus.

Settlement Building

Inspired by the base building in Metal Gear Solid V, players could construct, manage, and defend their settlements. Solo or with others, you could recruit survivors, gather resources, research tech upgrades, customize defenses, and repel raids from infected and raiders. A deep meta-game could keep you engrossed long after finishing the story.

Persistent Online World

Similar to Death Stranding, a shared online component where players can indirectly aid each other could create a truly interconnected world. You could find shelters, vehicles, weapons, and other useful items left behind by others online. And anything you craft and leave also gets passed on. An asynchronous community experience would perfectly suit the franchise.

The Last of Us 3 – FAQ

When does The Last of Us Part 3 release?

The Last of Us 3 does not have an official release date yet. However, based on Naughty Dog’s development timelines, it will likely release sometime between 2026-2027 exclusively for PlayStation 5.

Has The Last of Us 3 been confirmed?

No, as of now Naughty Dog and Sony have not confirmed they are working on The Last of Us 3. However, job listings and industry insider rumors strongly point to the early development of the next game in the franchise.

What could the story be about in The Last of Us Part III?

The story is unknown, but it could focus on plotlines and characters like Ellie seeking redemption, the rebuilding of civilization, new faction conflicts, or the fate of Abby and Lev. Expect mature themes and gritty survival action.

How will the gameplay evolve in the next Last of Us?

Gameplay could expand with larger open environments, enhanced faction mechanics, improved AI, deeper crafting/customization, and next-gen PS5 immersion via haptics and 3D audio.

Will The Last of Us 3 have multiplayer?

As a story-driven single-player focused series, it’s unclear if multiplayer will return. But potential modes could include an evolution of Factions PVP, open world co-op, settlement building, or persistent shared world features.

What console will The Last of Us Part III release on?

Naughty Dog develops exclusively for PlayStation, so The Last of Us 3 will assuredly release on PS5 when it launches in the 2026-2027 timeframe.

The Last of Us Part III and Beyond

Much remains speculative about the future of The Last of Us franchise beyond Part II. With Naughty Dog yet to officially confirm they are even working on a third game, it could be years before concrete details emerge.

But the immense success and acclaim enjoyed by the first two games strongly suggest the journey is far from over for Ellie, Joel, and the others. Their deeply compelling world still has countless untold stories left to explore across multiple potential sequels in the future.

For now, fans eagerly await any hints from Naughty Dog on what the next chapter may hold. Wherever Ellie and other beloved characters go next, The Last of Us will undoubtedly continue to set new benchmarks for interactive storytelling. Naughty Dog has crafted a poignant universe that still resonates with humanity, terror, and hope even in the darkest of times. Those special qualities guarantee that The Last of Us will endure and captivate gamers for years to come.

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