While The Last of Us‘ PS5 remake ended up being one of the biggest reveals at Summer Game Fest 2022, Naughty Dog also shared a brief update about their mysterious Last of Us multiplayer project. Said update didn’t amount to much more than some artwork and a few brief details, but what we do know about the standalone multiplayer game seems to confirm a fascinating fan theory about the Fireflies and what remains of one of America’s biggest cities in The Last of Us games.
You can see a snippet of the artwork in question in the image above, but here’s the full thing in case you need a better look.
So far, the biggest reveal we can logically draw from that image is that the upcoming multiplayer game will seemingly take place in San Francisco. At the very least, that certainly appears to be the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, and a few other, smaller landmarks seem to match the layout, design, and style of San Francisco. While many people seem interested in the idea of a Last of Us multiplayer game that takes place in a city that we’ve never really seen or heard about in the previous Last of Us games, it turns out that sentiment isn’t entirely accurate. Actually, some Last of Us fans have been forming some interesting theories about San Francisco for some time now.
See, San Francisco has actually been referenced a couple of times in The Last of Us and The Last of Us Part 2. Actually, Seth (probably best known as the guy who tells Dina and Ellie to stop kissing in The Last of Us Part 2) is believed to have originated from San Franciso. More importantly, a note known as “Snipers’ Nest Log” found in The Last of Us indicates that the writer spotted a Firefly biologist arriving from San Francisco.
That little piece of information led some fans to suspect that there is actually a quarantine zone in San Francisco with a significant Firefly presence. At the very least, it’s been suggested that there used to be a Firefly presence in that city that may have been impacted by some as-of-yet unrevealed event that forced some of the Fireflies living in that area to head elsewhere.
Let’s also not forget that the Firefly’s presence seems to grow stronger in The Last of Us the further West that Joel and Ellie head. Indeed, it seems that some of the earliest Firefly groups were likely started along the West Coast. We even know that Abby and Lev head to Santa Barbara at the end of The Last of Us Part 2 because they heard that the Fireflies may be reforming out there. Of course, they end up running into a group of slavers known as the Rattlers instead.
That’s where this whole thing gets really interesting. While the promo art for The Last of Us’ multiplayer project strongly supports the idea that the Fireflies had a presence in the rumored San Francisco quarantine zone (after all, they had a presence in so many other quarantine zones in that general area), it’s the timeline of the multiplayer project that I’m really curious about.
Is it possible that the mode will be based on a “late in the game” version of San Francisco in which the Fireflies and other survivors clash with rival human groups and infected creatures? That kind of all-out warfare scenario would certainly support the rumor that The Last of Us multiplayer game is shaping up to be a “The Division-like” experience with a persistent universe. Given that a smaller version of the project was originally intended to be released alongside The Last of Us Part 2, it makes sense that the lore of the multiplayer game would still be closely associated with the most recent events in The Last of Us‘ timeline. That, or we may be taking a trip back in time to whatever event may have potentially caused some Firefly personnel to leave the city. I suspect the former theory is more likely, though.
In any case, it’s clear that this multiplayer project will greatly expand our understanding of The Last of Us‘ world and social structure. With Naughty Dog promising that the game will feature its own story and will be as big as one of the previous Last of Us games, it will be interesting to see what else the final product reveals about that franchise’s lore.