The Last of Us Part II might have a 2019 release date, as Naughty Dog is looking for new staff members to help "close out the game" and finish its development.
The Last of Us Part II was announced during the 2016 PlayStation Experience event with a brief trailer that shows older versions of Ellie and Joel. The game is set five years after The Last of Us and involves the rise of a mysterious cult in a land ravaged by the Infected. Since that initial reveal trailer, the only times The Last of Us Part II has been shown to the public is during the 2017 Paris Games Week event and during Sony's conference at E3 2018. It was recently revealed by Neil Druckman on Twitter that the motion capture scenes for the game had finished filming.
It seems that development on The Last of Us Part II is coming to an end, as Anthony Newman (one of the game's three co-directors) has put a message on Twitter directing people to the Careers page on the Naughty Dog website. Newman was letting people know about the open positions, as Naughty Dog is looking for help to close out the game, referring to The Last of Us Part II.
Lot of awesome positions open to help us close out this game... I especially want to highlight the Melee Animator position, I guarantee you will be working on some *dope* animations working with my good friend @Leethul 🗡️💀 pic.twitter.com/vmlVkJlfTl— Anthony Newman (@BadData_) May 10, 2019
There have been numerous leaks concerning a potential release date for The Last of Us Part II, with the game's composer stating that it was "coming very soon", while a former IGN editor claimed that the game was due to be released in 2019 in a series of deleted tweets. If development is wrapping up on The Last of Us Part II, then that means there is a good chance that the game will be released in 2019. The main question is when a release date for the game will actually be given, as Sony will not have a conference at E3 2019, which would have been the perfect place to reveal when The Last of Us Part II is coming out.
The Last of Us Part II isn't the only PlayStation 4 exclusive without a release date, as games like Death Stranding and Ghost of Tsushima are also lacking release dates. It's possible that Sony might be saving several announcements for the PlayStation Experience, assuming that the event is revived following its absence last year. The Last of us Part II might be the most highly anticipated game on the PlayStation 4, however, and fans have waited patiently to be able to continue the story of Ellie and Joel. If Naughty Dog is openly talking about how the production is wrapping up, then the wait shouldn't last for much longer.