For anyone who missed the news it was announced a few days back that the majority of Telltale Games was closing down, with all but 25 employees let go.
This of course was a painful blow to fans of the developer, who was known for creating entertaining episodic point-and-click graphic adventures games. But the biggest immediate question was what does this mean for The Walking Dead, Telltale’s biggest game series which just kicked off its final season. With no one working there anymore, who was going to finish the three of four total episodes that hadn’t been released yet? The second episode was already completed and was released today, thankfully. And now comes word that discussions are happening with potential partners to get the final two episodes released, though nothing is official yet.
First, here’s the announcement that Telltale was closing via Twitter for those who missed it:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Today Telltale Games made the difficult decision to begin a majority studio closure following a year marked by insurmountable challenges. A majority of the company’s employees were dismissed earlier this morning, with a small group of 25 employees staying on to fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners. CEO Pete Hawley issued the following statement:
“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.”
Telltale will issue further comments regarding its product portfolio in the coming weeks.
Next, here is Telltale’s update on the current status of The Walking Dead also via Twitter:
Hi everyone, we have a Walking Dead update for you.
Multiple potential partners have stepped forward to express interest in helping to see The Final Season through to completion. While we can’t make any promises today, we are actively working towards a solution that will allow episodes 3 and 4 to be completed and released in some form.
In the meantime, episode 2 will release tomorrow across all platforms as planned. We hope to have answers for your other questions soon.
For me personally this news stings not because of The Walking Dead—which I do love and hope gets finished—but because of my favorite game Telltale has made, The Wolf Among Us.
For years fans of Telltale’s adaptation of Bill Willingham’s Fables comic book series have been waiting for a follow-up season while we watched season after season of new Walking Dead and other titles come and go. Then, finally, word came last summer that a new season of The Wolf Among Us was officially on the way. The new season was bumped back to 2019 earlier this year, but it was no big deal so long as that second season was still on the way. Now it looks like we may never get that new season.
But while these things really suck as a fan the real victims here are the employees, who put insane hours into making these games and are now out of a job. Some of them have since come out saying they didn’t even get severance pay from the company. Apparently for the people who were running Telltale when it reached its deathbed the best way to handle this situation was to open the back of the truck, drive in reverse as fast as possible, then hit the brakes hard.
If there are any small rays of hope right now, they are found in the updates above. That “Telltale will issue further comments regarding its product portfolio in the coming weeks,” and that “multiple potential partners have stepped forward to express interest in helping” them make sure that the final season of The Walking Dead gets completed. These leave open the possibility that not just TWD but other titles could find new life elsewhere.
Maybe someone will acquire the rights to their various titles and continue them through their own game studios. Maybe a larger entity like a Microsoft or Sony will acquire Telltale as a whole to add to their lineup of exclusive titles. Maybe the zombie will catch up and death will ultimately be final.
If it’s door #2 and someone does acquire Telltale, let’s just hope they dismiss everyone who was running things leading up to this disaster and bring back all of the fired employees. Those who wish to return, anyway.