It’s never good hearing about a studio closure, but I’ll admit that hearing Telltale Games was shutting down completely blindsided me. Here’s a company that has seemingly been able to turn nearly any IP into a fantastic adventure game style experience.
While the studio has a long history, it seems like they were really able to hit the mainstream when they launched the first season of The Walking Dead. Based off of the comics which had then gone on to be a hit TV show on AMC, Telltale’s Walking Dead was inspired by the world but telling a new story and introducing fans to now beloved characters like Clementine and Lee Everett.
While that franchise has spawned multiple seasons and even a spinoff or two, they went on to create some really stellar experiences based on other popular properties and franchises like Game of Thrones, Batman, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Minecraft Story Mode. The studio even partnered with Netflix to create a game based on Stranger Things and bring a five-part narrative series of Minecraft: Story Mode to subscribers.
I personally loved Tales from the Borderlands, which not only featured new characters but masterfully integrated existing ones from the games like Scooter and Handsome Jack. The writing was hilarious and spot on, but what really stuck out to me was that the studio was able to take a franchise deeply rooted in the first person shooter genre, and turn it into an equally fantastic adventure style game.
So what happened?
While on the surface everything seemed fine, what many fans didn’t see was that the studio was falling apart on the inside. According to reports, issues of management, work/life balance, and what appears to be declining sales. With all of these challenges lining up, it ultimately proved to be too much for the studio to overcome, with management making the decision to lay off all but 25 employees who will stick around to fulfill the remaining obligations.
Unfortunately, as part of this layoff, certain projects won’t see the light of day, and the current season of The Walking Dead, the final season to be exact, won’t be completed. Not only that, The Verge is reporting that all laid off employees are not getting any severance pay either. When bad goes to worse.
I’d like to take a moment here to offer my condolences for all those affected. Here’s hoping that all of your talents find their way to a fantastic new studio. Best wishes and farewell Telltale Games.