The Last of Us 2 studio Naughty Dog is growing its multiplayer development team with a new major hire, according to a tweet shared from the developer Monday.

The studio has been building buzz for The Last of Us 2 with several story and gameplay demos since the game was unveiled in 2016, but so far Naughty Dog has focused on the post-apocalyptic action title’s single-player campaign since the original title’s multiplayer won’t be included in the new game.

Vinit Agarwal, a lead game designer at Naughty Dog, shared an opening for an online systems programmer position at the studio, stating that the developer has “big ambitions” for the future. Applicants will be responsible for building online services for the title, as well as collaborating with the studio’s design department to expand on game features.

The Last of Us featured an extensive single-player campaign and a multiplayer mode called Factions when it launched in 2013. The mode was not the only time the Sony-owned studio, typically known for its cinematic single-player campaigns, had branched out into multiplayer, including similar modes in three of the four primary Uncharted titles. While Factions only received a small amount of attention by audiences, the mode developed a strong cult following, and fans were disappointed to hear that it wouldn’t be coming back for the sequel after Naughty Dog initially hinted at its return.

The future of Factions may prove to be separate from its parent game, or could be a standalone expansion for the title. Naughty Dog confirmed in September that it has a dedicated team working on a multiplayer project that will release separately from The Last of Us Part 2, and this new hire appears to be for the purposes of expanding with new leadership for the team. 

The studio hasn’t confirmed if the game will be a spin-off set in the infected wastelands of The Last of Us and its sequel, but with the second game's recent delay from February 2020 to May and the title already appearing to push the performance and storage limits of the PS4, it wouldn’t be surprising if the studio separated the campaign and multiplayer modes to allow both to flourish individually.

The Last of Us 2 is out May 29, 2020, exclusively on the PlayStation 4.

Source: Vinit Agarwal on Twitter