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Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close

USgamer has a confirmation of layoffs at Telltale Games following a reports on Gamasutra that originally indicated developer may have shut down completely, and it sounds like only a matter of time before it does. The company is retaining a small team of about 25 after the layoffs, which The Verge says came with very short notice and no severance pay. They are not specifying what this skeleton crew is working on, but it's reported that they are to finish The Walking Dead game and then the studio will close (thanks Ars Technica), with their planned Stranger Things game and The Wolf Among Us 2 reportedly cancelled. Telltale has been the subject of some negative headlines recently, as there have been reports of a toxic culture there, and they were sued in the spring by their former CEO, and their statement to USgamer indicates things have taken a turn for the worse:
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.
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24. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Nov 15, 2018, 16:32  Kxmode 
 
...  
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23. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 22, 2018, 18:12  jdreyer 
 
Linthat22 wrote on Sep 21, 2018, 20:20:
Kinda sad really, considering that it seems like they made decent point and click story driven games. Either they mismanaged or the market fell out. Who knows.
I feel they overextended themselves. I remember a few years ago when they announced four new game series in the span of a month or so. I said at the time it was too much. Sad this has come to pass.
 
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22. Re: Skyrim Creation Club Launches with Survival Mode Sep 22, 2018, 14:35  RedEye9 
 
Kajetan wrote on Sep 22, 2018, 14:30:
ForgedReality wrote on Sep 22, 2018, 12:01:
Good riddance. Episodic games are fucking retarded. Hopefully this keeps other companies from making them a trend.
This is THE most stupid comment of the week.
That's a case of this truism.
 
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21. Re: Skyrim Creation Club Launches with Survival Mode Sep 22, 2018, 14:30 Kajetan
 
ForgedReality wrote on Sep 22, 2018, 12:01:
Good riddance. Episodic games are fucking retarded. Hopefully this keeps other companies from making them a trend.
This is THE most stupid comment of the week.
 
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20. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 22, 2018, 12:35  Rigs 
 
I think I played at least just about one episode out of every series except for the Batman and Wolf series. I played the Game of Thrones series a lot because it was on mobile, along with the Minecraft series. Oh, I didn't try the Borderlands series yet either. But the older ones I played - Back to the Future, TWD, Minecraft...I hate to see any dev go down, regardless of reason. I just hope the folks that put in all those hard hours find jobs soon. I just moved and have been doing temp work and I know what it's like to not know where that next pay check is coming or if it will and wonder what the hell you're gonna do. I don't wish that on anyone. And to work 100 hour weeks and then turn around and have to deal with that? In 2018, there really should be some kind of law against that. If this country (The U.S.) needs anything badly right now, it's job stability.

=-Rigs-=
 
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19. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 22, 2018, 12:01 ForgedReality
 
Good riddance. Episodic games are fucking retarded. Hopefully this keeps other companies from making them a trend.  
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18. Re: That's what happens when you don't listen to the fans Sep 22, 2018, 11:31  MeanJim 
 
WitcherOntheProwl wrote on Sep 22, 2018, 07:51:
Wolf Among us, Tales From The Borderlands, The Walking Dead series were the only good games they made.

That's what I was going to say. I think their two best games were Wolf Among us and Tales from the Borderlands, and those are the two that never received sequels. I never read the comic books Wolf Among Us was based on), but I liked the game. I'm not a big fan of TWD, I watched the TV show for a few seasons (3 or 4) until it got stupid, but I enjoyed the games. I've only played the first and second though. I have the third one installed, but haven't gotten around to it.

I can't help but wonder if their episodic releases hurt them a bit. I always waited for them to be complete to buy them, at which time they were usually 50% off too.
 
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17. That's what happens when you don't listen to the fans Sep 22, 2018, 07:51 WitcherOntheProwl
 
Wolf Among us, Tales From The Borderlands, The Walking Dead series were the only good games they made. Instead of branching out and focusing on the series they had. I think they would of been doing better. Hopefully Nordic Games buys Telltales left over corpse. Get some devs to work on a sequel to Tales and Wolf and good to go. If not the company then just the IP rights.  
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16. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 22, 2018, 04:56  El Pit 
 
Sad to read this. I bought some of their interactive comic books, they were pretty entertaining. I never thought of them being really games, though. Best of luck to the Telltale people!

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15. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 22, 2018, 04:28 eRe4s3r
 
MoreLuckThanSkill wrote on Sep 22, 2018, 00:43:
250 Employees, at Telltale !??! No wonder they are going out of business. Their games were not that popular to support that kind of staff.


10 times more than they need, apparently.
 
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14. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 22, 2018, 01:56 SlimRam
 
HorrorScope wrote on Sep 22, 2018, 01:02:
Hopefully someone can pick up their stuff and manage it better, this stuff is worth saving.
I agree completely; I bought Wolf, Borderlands, both Batman games and the Guardians of the Galaxy, also The first Walking Dead game. I know that this is a niche type of game and definitely not for everyone but, I always liked playing them when I didn't wanna play a really fast action kind of game and just wanted to chill out and enjoy the story. I was seriously looking forward to the next Wolf game but I guess now that's not gonna happen. What a fucking shame.
 
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13. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 22, 2018, 01:02 HorrorScope
 
Hopefully someone can pick up their stuff and manage it better, this stuff is worth saving.  
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12. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 22, 2018, 00:49 DangerDog
 
add in the licensing fees associated with their games it's a wonder they stayed in business this long.  
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11. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 22, 2018, 00:43 MoreLuckThanSkill
 
250 Employees, at Telltale !??! No wonder they are going out of business. Their games were not that popular to support that kind of staff.

 
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10. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 21, 2018, 22:45 Jerykk
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Sep 21, 2018, 22:25:
Uhm, I actually think this is extremely odd. 3 years ago they got more than $40m from "Series D" funding and their Walking dead games had fantastic sales (at least the data from before steam gimped steamspy indicated as much).

That means their other 3 projects, Minecraft, Batman and Guardians tanked or had they all insane licensing costs?

I think they just over-expanded after their initial success with TWD. Too many people, too many projects, not enough profit to sustain them. $40 million isn't a lot in game development. That would pay for maybe two or three projects at most. I think a lot of their projects didn't have the success they expected, either. Game of Thrones, Guardian of the Galaxy, Tales from the Borderlands, The Wolf Among Us, etc, didn't sell well enough to warrant a second season and when you're relying on an episodic revenue model, that's bad.

Hopefully their writers find jobs at other studios because they were really talented. Tales from the Borderlands is probably the funniest game of the past decade.
 
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9. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 21, 2018, 22:25 eRe4s3r
 
Uhm, I actually think this is extremely odd. 3 years ago they got more than $40m from "Series D" funding and their Walking dead games had fantastic sales (at least the data from before steam gimped steamspy indicated as much).

That means their other 3 projects, Minecraft, Batman and Guardians tanked or had they all insane licensing costs?
 
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8. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 21, 2018, 22:09 robdot
 
The wolf among us was fucking awesome. If you haven't played that,then do so. Borderlands was cool too. But really ,how many games like this can you play?  
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7. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 21, 2018, 21:00 The_Pink_Tiger
 
I'm sorry to hear about this, but not surprised.

I'm a fan of the Telltale Games - I've purchased the majority of their catalog - but it's been getting harder and harder to justify the purchase each time. Their games usually have good stories and settings but the gameplay was always very lackluster. They just aren't very fun to play. Now, I tend to put story and immersion above gameplay, but this preference isn't true for the general audience. After a dozen or so games that more or less followed the exact same formula, even I started getting tired of their titles.

(engage Monday night quarterbacking)
Telltale Games were always attractive to only a niche group, but they were producing games at such a rate that I'm surprised they have stayed in business this long. They either needed to drastically scale back production or should have explored alternative styles of game so that when the market inevitably dropped out of the "interactive comic/adventure" genre they specialized in, they would have a fallback source of revenue.

And honestly, after they had established themselves, they really should have ditched the episodic model. It hurt the games more than it helped because each chapter had to be self-contained, which broke up the story. I hear it was hell on their developers too.

It's sad to see a developer fold - especially one that helped usher in both a new era of adventure games and indie publishing - but no, I'm not surprised at all.
 
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6. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 21, 2018, 20:45 Quinn
 
Linthat22 wrote on Sep 21, 2018, 20:20:
Kinda sad really, considering that it seems like they made decent point and click story driven games. Either they mismanaged or the market fell out. Who knows.

Saw this coming from miles away. Hate the fact I didn't call it.

Telltale games "deserved" this fate. They didn't listen to the customer and didn't improve their games enough. The illusion of choice became too apparent for most of their audience, I believe. At some point we realized we were just watching a movie..... with shitty graphics and a slow pace.

Whatever you had in the pipelines: Too little too late, fellas.
 
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5. Re: Telltale Games Lays Off Staff, May Close Sep 21, 2018, 20:37 Freddie
 
I will be sad to see Telltale games close, I did enjoy alot of their games over the years.

Quality has varied from game to game but I still regard TWD S1 as one of my all time favorite adventure games. The Sam n Max & Monkey Island reboots were also fine for the most part.

They did reinvigorate a mostly dying genre at the time so they do need to be respected for that.
 
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