The Last of Us: Part II will not have a multiplayer component. Naughty Dog confirmed this yesterday (at the time of writing), causing a bit of a ruckus in the process. However, this doesn't mean that the studio has abandoned multiplayer entirely.
Naughty Dog has posted a statement on Twitter that reads:
"We wanted to address multiplayer in The Last of Us: Part II. As we've stated, the single player campaign is far and away the most ambitious project Naughty Dog has ever undertaken. Likewise, as development began on the evolution of our Factions mode from The Last of Us: Part I, the vision of the team grew beyond an additional mode that could be included with our enormous single player campaign. Wanting to support both visions, we made the difficult choice that The Last of Us: Part II would not include an online mode.
"However, you will eventually experience the fruits of our team's online ambition, but not as part of The Last of Us: Part II. When and where it will be realized is still to be determined. But rest assured, we are as big a fan as Factions as the rest of our community and are excited to share more when it's ready."
In other words, Naughty Dog has something much bigger planned for the franchise's multiplayer component. To us, this reads like it could be reshaped into some kind of standalone release. Clearly the developer isn't ready to go into detail yet, but it'll be interesting to see what it has in store.
So there you have it -- The Last of Us multiplayer isn't dead yet. Good news? Is all forgiven? Join a faction in the comments section below.