A crushing amount of major staff layoffs have signalled the end of Telltale Games’ unique storytelling methods.
Many amongst the beleaguered developers staff have tweeted a damning amount of information regarding the ‘middling success’ of the studio’s releases over the last few years, revealing some eye-opening facts, including how the only recent profitable property they had managed to produce was Minecraft: Story Mode, and that Telltale’s Batman series was a critical failure.
Basically, only the first season of The Walking Dead made money. Everything between that and Minecraft was a financial failure – Wolf, everything post-Season 1 of TWD, Borderlands, Game of Thrones. All failures.
— Joe Parlock (@joeparlock) September 21, 2018
CEO of the company, Pete Hawley, issued the following statement to many gaming news outlets to clarify just how grim the situation is:
It’s been an incredibly difficult year for Telltale as we worked to set the company on a new course. Unfortunately, we ran out of time trying to get there. We released some of our best content this year and received a tremendous amount of positive feedback, but ultimately, that did not translate to sales. With a heavy heart, we watch our friends leave today to spread our brand of storytelling across the games industry.
For the players, this means that a bitter pill to swallow is the news that series like The Wolf Among Us will not be receiving a sequel, and recent news has suggested that the still-continuing The Walking Dead: Season 4 will remain unfinished, despite only being halfway through its episodic release. What this means for people who have pre-purchased the content is yet to be revealed – details have been confirmed that a small group of employees (as small as 25 people) will remain to ‘fulfil the company’s obligations to its board and partners’, though tweets from ex-staff suggest that their priority will be Telltale’s ‘Minecraft: Story Mode’ on Netflix. Edit: Conflicting details about the continuation of The Walking Dead: Season 4 are coming to light, might be best to keep on top of this news as it develops.
Perhaps the saddest news is the confirmation that those that lost their job today did so without any severance pay. Though Telltale lost a large amount of staff in 2017 as part of a restructuring – all received their due compensation, those that became unemployed today do so without anything to show for it.
Re: I got laid off at Telltale
None of my sleepless nights or long hours on weekends trying to ship a game on time got me severance today. Don’t work overtime unless you’re paid for it, y’all. Protect your health. Companies don’t care about you.
— Brandon Cebenka (@Binkysaur) September 21, 2018
It is heartbreaking to hear just how it all ends for a company that was known for its unique approach to game design and storytelling, and even more so to hear the outcome for the people that made it happen.
We hope the talented folks that helped create such amazing experiences find new work soon.