Naughty Dog, which is the PlayStation first-party studio behind The Last of Us Part II, is clearly working on a multiplayer spin-off of some sort that is set within the same universe. Although this game hasn't been announced in a formal capacity just yet, Naughty Dog hasn't really tried to hide the fact that it's working on a more expansive version of the Factions multiplayer mode that was seen in the original The Last of Us. And while it might be a bit longer until we see what this game looks like, it seems as though one potential feature in the title could include a battle royale mode.
The reason for this belief stems from a number of new assets that were recently discovered in the files of The Last of Us Part II. Found by YouTube channel Speclizer, a handful of items that seem to specifically be made for multiplayer. The existence of these files within The Last of Us Part II seems to show that the assets were never removed prior to shipping the game. This would make sense given that Factions was originally slated to be included with the sequel.
As for what was specifically found, the item that seems to hint at a potential battle royale feature in The Last of Us Part II involves a number of maps. While maps might not be anything worth taking note of typically, what does stand out is how massive the areas are that are showcased in these instances. Each area is massive in scope and also spotlights a number of different marquee locations within the region. Essentially, it looks quite similar to a map that you would see in a game like PUBG, Fortnite, or Apex Legends.
Some other notable assets were also found in this recent discovery from Speclizer and included a handheld TV, a "listen mode device", and a collar, which seems to suggest that dogs could have been involved in multiplayer. Again, it's worth stressing that these assets are quite old at this point in time, so it's unknown if any of these items will ever appear in Naughty Dog's future multiplayer project. Still, it's interesting and might hint at the ideas that the studio has in store for the future.
At this point in time, we still don't know when Naughty Dog and PlayStation might opt to share more about about this future game, but perhaps we'll hear something before the end of 2021. Until then, be sure to let me know either down in the comments or over on Twitter @MooreMan12 what you'd like to see from a new The Last of Us-style multiplayer title.