Former Epic Games veteran Anders Howard, who spent almost eight years working on Fortnite, has joined Naughty Dog as principal monetization designer. Howard will presumably work on standalone The Last of Us' Factions sequel, seemingly shaping up to be a massive free-to-play game.
Howard announced his new appointment on Twitter, revealing he has already moved to Santa Monica and will begin his duties at a new studio in just a week. Naughty Dog has been extremely cautious regarding any news of its upcoming multiplayer title; therefore all the developer could say for now is that he's very excited about his new adventure.
According to the developer's page on LinkedIn, he joined Epic Games as a system designer in 2014 during the early days of Fortnite. Since then, Howard spent over seven years at the company working on Fortnite Battle Royale, helping with the core of its Battle Pass progression strategy.
Anders Howard also designed many of the core systems of the game, including 12 seasons of live content, owning the collectible gameplay, quest pipeline, and Battle Pass XP. In addition, he was involved in the founding of Epic's Social team, responsible for the game's first social 'Cosmic Chests' mechanic.
Apart from his considerable input to Fortnite, he also consulted on Battle Pass integrations across several other studios, including Rocket League and Fall Guys teams. In 2022, Howard spent ten months at Ubisoft Stockholm, consulting the team on a new IP for social and economic systems.
With his impressive portfolio, Anders Howard is likely to become a valuable asset for Naughty Dog's first standalone multiplayer game. Sony presumably has pretty high hopes for the project, and a key member of one of the world's biggest live-service games ever sharing his experience with the company's signature team proves just that.
Neil Druckmann earlier said the studio would finally begin to share news on the Factions successor in 2023, but we still have no idea when its most ambitious project is coming. Judging from Howard's recent appointment, the title still requires a lot of work on its progression and monetization systems, and hopefully, we'll be hearing more about it in just a few months.
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