A few days ago, Telltale Games revealed it had laid off hundreds of employees, with only 25 staff members remaining. The skeleton crew was reportedly staying on to fulfill contractual obligations, which allegedly includes work on a Minecraft: Story Mode project for Netflix.
With the harsh realities still kicking in for people who were part of the former development team, one of the voice actors has taken to Twitter to shed a bit more light on the situation. Melissa Hutchinson, best known for providing the voice of Clementine in The Walking Dead series, said it was "one of the toughest days ever" and that she had been "deeply moved" by the messages of support.
Hutchinson went on to explain how she had no idea what was going on behind the scenes, much like the fans, and said The Walking Dead series would come to an abrupt end:
I, unfortunately, like most of you, do not have the details on how this all came to be and I also do not know the fate of the final season of TWD. To my knowledge, they will release Episode 2 and then that will be it. It hurts me that you, the fans, will not get to see Clem’s journey through to the end.
The bad news didn't stop there, as she went on to confirm the sequel to The Wolf Among Us would not see the light of day:
It hurts to know that all of the extremely talented actors who lent voice to this final season, won’t get to experience the final ending of one of the best damn game titles in the history of games and it hurts to know that long-awaited titles like a second season of The Wolf Among Us won’t be made.
To finish up, she signed off with the names of all of the characters she had preiously played in Telltale's games over the years including Clementine, Toad and Beauty from The Wolf Among Us, Isa from Minecraft: Story Mode and many others.
Telltale Games was started in 2004 by a group of former LucasArts employees. Its first game was Telltale Texas Hold'em and this followed with releases like Tales of Monkey Island and Sam & Max. 2012 was arguably its breakout year when it released the original Walking Dead video game.
[source twitter.com, via polygon.com]
Oh wow! The walking Dead s4 is being cut short?! I didn’t realize that. That really hurts
Yeah this really sucks, I would have loved to get the whole series if they had released them all on Switch and if it would have completed as well, but that's not happening anymore.. so there's no point for me to get this anymore I'm afraid. A real shame. I feel bad for all the people more closely involved in this closure most of all though.
Blizzard should hire the team to make an Overwatch spinoff game.
Anyone know if seasons 2 ,3 will still release for switch?
on a side note I wonder who picks up what ip's.
These are the exact type of games, I imagine, long plays on YouTube or Twitch would hurt the most
@edgedino they’re not exactly IPs up for grabs, more like licenses
@adh56 well they did make some games of their own even if not many.
I'm really hoping someone steps up to save the rest of TWD. I've not played any of the rest of it, but after seeing a YouTuber playing the start of the new season I was planning on picking the whole series up for the Switch release. I'm kinda sad I won't get to see how it all ends now.
“...best damn game titles...”
What a shame
It's sad but not entirely unexpected. The actual quality of story telling was in descent so it's a bit of an old yeller situation.
I've never played any of their games but calling their new one "one of the best damn game titles in the history of games" seems like a bit of an exaggeration. Easy to say that I suppose when the game will never be released.
I am so darn upset by this. If it's true that corporate mismanagement and mistreatment of employees is the reason, I hope the people responsible end up blacklisted from the industry and stuck working dead end, min wage jobs the rest of their lives.
I adored the Walking Dead games and was super excited to get the whole series on the Switch. I was also fond of the Batman and Minecraft games from them. I even had the intent to eventually play several of their other titles.
This honestly sucks so much.
Walking dead is bad
looks like the Zombies won in the end.
walking dead looks dead
@Panda943 note i do like the games
I never went too crazy over Telltale’s games, but I can definitely respect what they have done over the years.
What upsets me more is the fact that all these employees got layed off without warning, and everyday ever since this happened I have read stories from former employees and their friends about how badly their lives have been turned upside down. Some people had even been employed for only about a week and are in this stupid tough spot because of a bunch of crazy executives who don’t know how to run a company in a healthy manner and were biting more than they can chew.
I wish the best for the people who recently lost their jobs there and I hope that at the end of all this that everyone will be at a happier and more stable job than what Telltale could provide.
Forget the games.
I genuinely hope the all the jobless employees get jobs before their families suffer severely for this mismanagement, as this was worse than perhaps some realized. One former developer (Emily Buck I believe was the name) noted on twitter that many of these employees were living "paycheck to paycheck" and in the area where the studio is, the high price of living will overrun them in no time. She also confirmed (mentioned by a few other news outlets too) that NONE of them got severance pay and that their healthcare lasts till the end of the week. I saw reports on some other news sites indicating that employees were not told until the day of, then given 30 minutes to clear out of the building.
This was far worse for them than NL reported it to be, I'm sorry to say. I sincerely hope this doesn't get worse, especially given the circumstances. I will say that she at least did rally to get game companies to hire some of the devs ASAP, which is awesome. I'm not sure how many though.
Shame. The series are so captivating and you just wait to see what happens after the last episode.
I'm really bummed about Wolf. Hope these folks land good gigs soon.
I found these series among the laziest in the point and click genre with the illusion of choice and instead of giving a full game, episodes.
That aside terrible for all the people who got laid off like this.
Does buying these games now help these guys in anyway? I intended getting The Walking Dead sooner or later.
It's sad to see them go, I always wanted Sam & Max Season 3 on a Nintendo console. It seems they lived on external IP's and now they have no net of their own games to fall back on.
Such a shame, I can only hope the Final Season makes it in some kind of adaptation like a comic book or novel to give fans closure.
Hell, maybe to fit the structure of the series, it can be one of those "choose your own path" books.
@Heavyarms55 That's part of it for sure, as is their inability to move to a newer engine (that at least offers some physics support ^^) and to establish their own IPs (akin to Life Is strange), though one could potentially summarize all that under the umbrella of "mismanagement".
It's also true that their sales were steadily declining over the years, not to mention that plenty of folks tended to wait and jump on-board only after a season was finished, translating to months on end after release with even less sales coming through.
Personally, my favorite was Wolf Among Us btw. I liked TWD S1 back then, but the sequels failed to really capture my interest. The fact that we'll never get WAU S2 ... that hurts =(
@adh56 I guess so, but that was probably just one factor among many. Still, there is no denying that all of this is double-edged sword. I know plenty of people who really like game XYZ (even things like The Last of Us) without actually having EVER played them even once, not to mentioning owning them. So yeah, a game gets exposure sure, but only part of that exposure translates to sales, part of it just translates to youtube revenue.
@Jayronauron That's horrible, but then again, it's not as uncommon in the industry as one might think. Working conditions and job security as well the general treatment of employees are ongoing issues in the industry. I think it's fair to call many work environments in the industry exploitative, to say the least. All the complaints about crunch, long weekends and overtime .... that could apply to any number of other studios as well, sadly.
Just as living paycheck to paycheck is hardly anything unique to Tell Tale employees.
That is not to say that I do not feel for them, or that I don't think they should be scooped up by other studios asap, as these are some extremely talented artists and designers and no one should be treated like this - no one, indepentendly of region or job.
Also, health care in the states is a mess for millions no matter what, but frankly, what are you gonna do? They darn well know what they have to do if they want a single-payer system, as about any other industrialized nation in the world already has. But no, one choses to rather hate 'socialised medicine', ranting about 'death panels' and stuff, all the while loving their socalisied Medicaid and Medicare.... it's a hot mess of partisan politics and corporate interests - again, sadly =(
@Jayronauron Isn’t that illegal?
I don’t know about the US, but here (Japan) you need to be informed at least one full month in advance.
Season 1 is worth playing and then.. just pretend that's the end of Clem's story? Seasons 2 and 3 were kind of meh and since season 4 won't be completed I see no need to start it.
The only decent one was season 1.
I just bought season 1 and played it, really really enjoyed it so this is dissapointing to say the least..... Now I don’t know what’s more annoying, knowing there are others seasons there, but not buying them or buying them and being frustrated that the final season just isn’t complete!
Its a sad tale of a company chasing the $£$ instead of focusing on the quality. If they had released half the volume and kept the quality high they would have reduced the licence costs and kept sales high. and to chase license after license while just leaving their own IP sitting shows a total lack of direction. Sad but not unexpected
People keep mentioning Walking Dead S3? Did I miss this? I thought the Final Season was S3?
The ending of the series that saw them grow big is also their ending.
Season three was called "A New Frontier" and ended a year and a half ago.
@Sherlock All bets are off. All we know is that the skeleton crew will handle remaining "shareholder responsibilities" and that's it. God knows what that entails. But definitely not starting a new project.
@mauhlin12 Agreed. I actually feel the game seasons suffered from the same problem as their inspiration; each time the crew arrives somewhere, anything good is not what it seems. Anything bad is worse. Sadly it hits the fan. Main character(s) escape at a cost. Some new characters join so you can keep killing characters off while maintaining a roster. It becomes formulaic. To the point where even in this high-stakes series, I've called its bluff on fake-deaths on multiple occasions just because it didn't make sense to the formula for this character to die at that time.
This is sad but totally expected... Financial mismanagement and an outdated game engine lead to this. This company hasn't made a good game in years.
Totally self inflicted, would be interested to see who grabs what IP's.
I'm just going to say it, I could care less about Telltale games.
There nearly all the same, and don't really have any interesting licencing anymore, there was a time they did some really cool stuff, like making the 4th Back to the Future movie, more Wallace and Gromit stories, even their own Sam and Max games were awesome.
After conutless seasons of Walking dead, The game of thrones and freaking Minecreft "Stortymode" I lost interest.
Only one that kinda brought me back was the Batman one. other then that I won't be missing them.
They just made too much in too little time I guess. Spread among different platforms, and without updating the dated engine it was hard to keep my interest.
I started playing on PS3, then there was PS4 on which I got the bundle they did with Game of Thrones and Borderlands and Wolf Among Us, replaying TWD, playing GoT an Wolf, and finishing them despite losing interest during both, but I couldn't get far in Borderlands. It felt really tiring and outdated by then, and Borderlands didn't pull me in whatsoever.
Batman seemed like a good one, but the damage was done and there wasn't anything there that fixed it, so I barely touched it...
A full physical TWD bundle on Switch, with an updated engine, functional touch controls, and all the extra chapters, would've sold it again to me, but guess that won't happen now.
Who else can say they resurrected & destroyed their own market?
Or Image, as that is the publisher for the original Walking Dead comic series.
They actually release video games in episodes ?
@Pod That was S3? I had no idea. Might need to check it then. Thanks!
Can't fans come together to finance the making of the rest of the season or something or is there simply no will among the people left at Telltale to deliver the rest even if money wasn't the issue?
EDIT: Or else how about a partial refund for episodes not being delivered to those who paid for the season pass,the only purchase option available to switch owners, might I add.
Not trying to be a negative nancy or anything, but Clem’s journey should’ve ended ages ago before they milked it with TWD:Michonne, TWD DLC and other stuffs that don’t seem necessary. At this point, I’m fine with not seeing Clem’s journey to the end since most of us knows what her fate is gonna turn out anyway. I do however feel bad for people who paid for the Season pass/episodes waiting for the full release and then suddenly this happens
I hope other game companies will make more decision based games in the future and polish stuff that Telltale has with othe technical errors and other stuffs.
Sign the petition to save the walking dead final season @ change.org
I'll snag the final season on my Xbox, but I am bummed that Telltale is gone. I planned on double-dipping and buying all their TWD ports to the Switch, but I guess the rest are very unlikely now...
I have found memories of playing the Monkey Island game they did, as well as the Sam & Max games. Back to the Future was also pretty enjoyable too. I also LOVED the Wolf among us. Got the first Batman one too, but I kind of backed off of it a bit because it seemed too much focus on quick dialogue choices and QTEs... anyways, never got far enough in it to be presented a "point-and-click" part with "puzzles" to solve. I'll replay it again for sure eventually, but first impressions were "cool, but maybe later", contrary to their other games I mentionned that hooked me right from the start.
I guess they suffered from trying to make too many titles too fast. And relying on expensive licences more and more can only add financial strain. I remember hearing their Jurassic Park game being pretty bad, and people wondering at that time if this was an indication of where things were going for them. Guess it somehow was.
@maruse Interestingly enough, it's totally legal here in The States. Behind the scenes, firing/laying someone off can have a lengthy process (but not always; more on this later). But the actual dismissal is sudden and without warning; often times anyone who tells people of an impending dismissal are themselves in trouble and face consequences. Furthermore, even if there are laws regarding required severance pay for the state they are operating in, financial responsibilities of the corporation only extend as the corporation's finances. This is why you see corporations hold out till they actually file bankruptcy and then rollout mass layoffs.
And also remember, we have "right to work" states over here where all employment is "at will", meaning that either side can terminate the employment at will and without reason or warning. It's a standard clause of employment contracts, even. And yes, you can take legal action if the termination was purely an act of discrimination, but the onus for proving that is on the ex-employee (instead of the company having to prove they didn't).
@DawgP Thanks for the info.
That’s pretty harsh.
The honorable thing to do is to give enough time in advance to the person being fired, so he or she can prepare and have time to search for a new job.
People’s lives can be very adversely affected by a sudden termination of work. At least some consideration should be the minimum.
Didn't they just recently announce a new Batman game? Will it be cancelled, too?
@saintayu But the games were starting to get better starting with Batman S2 (Where depending on your choices you can get an entirely different Episode 5) and the new CEO. The Telltale company was finally going back to the right direction when it comes to their games, but apparently it was either too late, or its because of that lawsuit, EDIT: or both.
Back when they started the resurrected the point and click adventure from death. Strongbad, Sam & Max, Wallace & Grommit, Monkey Island were all brilliant. But then they switched to movie and TV licenses and just cranked out very bland games and everything that made them popular dissolved. I'm not sure how it went so wrong.
"... one of the best damn game titles in the history of games"
Obviously this person has never played any games. I'm sorry to see so many people lose their jobs, but please....
Aye, 'tis harsh indeed, especially when people are dropped en masse right around the Winter Holiday season (which extends up to reach Thanksgiving). But at least over here, there is no honor or consideration in Business. It's all about money, which has no notion of either of those concpets; it exists strictly for its own sake and to generate more of itself. ((Obviously there's more nuance and societal/economical facets than that oversimplification, but the end result is more or less the same.))
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