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Telltale is reportedly on its way out, lays off 90 percent of its staff

By Polycount ยท 13 replies
Sep 21, 2018
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  1. If you're a hardcore PC gamer, there's a good chance you've heard of Telltale.

    Though the game development studio is best-known for their work on the popular Walking Dead adventure game series, long-time fans like myself may remember their puzzle-focused adventure titles like those found in the Sam & Max series.

    Whether you love or hate the company's game, it's tough to deny that they've appealed to an awful lot of people.

    Telltale titles are usually quite well-received, likely due to the many compelling stories and tough choices they present players with. The Wolf Among Us was an excellent example of that, and it's easily my favorite "modern" Telltale game to date.

    However, it seems the company's new narrative-focused game formula is beginning to lose its charm. Reports are beginning to surface that suggest the independent studio is on its way out; it's apparently laid off 90 percent of its employees.

    As of writing, Telltale reportedly has a mere 25 developers on staff, whose sole job is to finish the final season of The Walking Dead. For reference, the company had around 250 employees prior to these developments, after an earlier round of staff cuts took place back in 2017.

    All other projects that were in the works -- including The Wolf Among Us' second season -- have apparently been canceled outright. After The Walking Dead's story concludes, Telltale will reportedly shut its doors entirely. Worse yet, terminated employees won't be receiving severance pay, according to USGamer.

    If these reports are accurate, I'll admit I'm more than a little disappointed. As I said before, I'm primarily a fan of Telltale's older titles, but it's always a sad day when a long-running game development studio closes its doors.

    On the bright side, industry support for the company's now-jobless developers has been overwhelming. Companies like Zenimax, Massive, Starbreeze, and Gearbox have all reached out to said developers with job, or at least interview offers, expressing their condolences in the process.

    Before concluding, it's worth mentioning that these reports are just that: reports. Telltale has not confirmed them yet nor has it issued an official statement on the matter. As such, it may be wise to take this information with a grain of salt for now.

    Permalink to story.

  2. TopTop18

    TopTop18 TS Enthusiast Posts: 29   +9

    I believe that with pumping out the same formulaic content they eventually outgrew their audience. While a core set of people would play a majority of their games, their titles didn't innovate enough to pull in a broader audience, like some of the first titles with this formula and Life is Strange managed to do.
    I hope that the employees affected manage to land on their feet somewhere else.
  3. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,463   +633

    I remember someone telling me in my earlier 20's never work for a gaming company the turn over is as high as banks.
  4. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,433   +1,889

    There has to be something more to it than just this.
    Evernessince likes this.
  5. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,888   +2,215

    I mean Call of Duty did it...
  6. alabama man

    alabama man TS Guru Posts: 563   +355

    "If you're a hardcore PC gamer, there's a good chance you've heard of Telltale."

    They make interactive stories with console interfaces, what does that have to do with HC PC gaming?
    Lionvibez and Hexic like this.
  7. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,653   +318

    It's sad, but like you Cohen I liked the old games better. I tried The Wolf Among Us (I liked the comics) but stopped the moment I realised that waiting counted as a response to dialogue. I dislike timed elements in adventure games.

    If you're a hardcore gamer, you tend to know the industry, so I think it's a fair assessment. Telltale has been in business for many years, and I'm sure most gamers have heard of it even if they're not interested in that kind of game.
    Polycount, yRaz and treetops like this.
  8. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,558   +548

    Ratings for TWD have been declining so I suppose it makes sense as TWD was their most profitable source. The zombie fad is dying off. TWD has become upright bizarre to unrealistic at times, not as bad as nearly as bad FearTWD though, barely got through one season of that.

    Never cared for this gaming genre.
  9. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,936   +1,485

    People who wanted to be in the Hollywood and didn't make it make these type of "games". It's basically a movie but it's even worse because it pauses to tell you to press X for the character to take the door handle and then mash O to open it. It is then disguised as "interactivity". Absolute shite.
  10. Misagt

    Misagt TS Maniac Posts: 286   +204

    I never found Telltales games that much fun. I really enjoyed life is strange so I know it's not a genre thing. I think they over played their hand just produced the same thing over and over and lost people's interest. Bore people go broke.
  11. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 677   +658

    They saturated their own market, making game after game on the same crappy engine, where the actual impact of choices was never as important as you'd like it to be.

    It is a shame, as any development within the industry that serves to concentrate even more power with the notorious 'big sequel' publishers is a bad thing. But it's not like Telltale were still a particularly relevant or exciting company any more.
  12. gamerk2

    gamerk2 TS Maniac Posts: 253   +159

    Financial mismanagement mostly; only TWD Season 1 made a profit, yet Telltale spent a lot of money to acquire licenses in the hope that some of them would make money (they didn't).
  13. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,433   +1,889

    It's unfortunate, I really liked their games.
  14. Polycount

    Polycount TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,753   +387

    Yes. Additionally, this is a PC-focused outlet, and PC gamers by nature are often (not always) "hardcore" about the hobby. So, simply addressing our audience, while acknowledging that hardcore gamers tend to be more in-the-know, as ET3D said.

    Not sure about the "console interface" thing. Found their games far easier to play on PC than anything else. I suppose it's all subjective.

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