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Telltale Games shuts down (UPDATE: all remaining Telltale games to be delisted on May 27th)

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Original thread title: Telltale Games hit with layoffs and possibly closing down - The Wolf Among Us 2 and Stranger Things games seemingly cancelled

The news just hit and a lot of things are still developing, so I don't know for sure what the case is. From IGN:

Quote

The Walking Dead developer Telltale Games has reportedly laid off a "large number of its staff today" and will remain open with only a small team of employees.

According to The Verge the studio will move forward with around 25 employees, Gamasutra  reports that team will finish development on The Walking Dead's final season, while all other Telltale projects have been canceled. 

Upcoming Telltale projects included a game based on Netflix's Stranger Things, and a second season of The Wolf Among Us among others.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season debuted its first episode last month. The second episode is currently scheduled to be released next week on September 25.

We’ve reached out to Telltale representatives for comment and confirmation and will update this article with any additional information we receive.

IGN wishes the best to anyone affected by today’s news.

Developing...

TL;DR: Telltale is seemingly facing a lot of setbacks, including losing nearly all of it's staff bar 25 members who are reportedly only there to finish The Walking Dead The Final Season and the other projects have been cancelled. What happens after is anyone's guess. According to other news outlets, Telltale is also possibly shutting it's doors entirely after TWD Season 4. Guess for the moment, we'll have to see how things develop. 

That said, best to take everything with a grain of salt for now, the information about it is rather all of the place at the moment, so it could be anyone's guess.

Edit: More info:

More details including things that after TWD Season 1, a lot of their projects was falling incredibly short of the mark and failing to turn a profit, the 25 members left are basically there only to finish the forth and final season of Walking Dead before shutting down entirely. Poker Night 2 (filled with licensed characters) was removed from sale, and many other things. This doesn't spell anything good for the company.

Edited by Sean

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This is pretty distressing for me.  While I don't always agree with their creative decisions, TellTale has always made great or at least valiant strides in pushing how video games can deliver compelling stories, as well as being in the forefront of preserving and updating the traditional "point and click" style games.  From what I hear, they've transitioned to games more based on QTE's in recent years, but still.  I've enjoyed many of their titles over the years, including Sam and Max, Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People, and Batman: The Telltale Series.

I hope they'll be able to work out their issues, but from the sound of things, it's looking pretty bleak for them.  Sad news, indeed.

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Just now, Tara said:

This is pretty distressing for me.  While I don't always agree with their creative decisions, TellTale has always made great or at least valiant strides in pushing how video games can deliver compelling stories, as well as being in the forefront of preserving and updating the traditional "point and click" style games.  From what I hear, they've transitioned to games more based on QTE's in recent years, but still.  I've enjoyed many of their titles over the years, including Sam and Max, Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People, and Batman: The Telltale Series.

I hope they'll be able to work out their issues, but from the sound of things, it's looking pretty bleak for them.  Sad news, indeed.

Supposedly one of the key issues that happened was due to very toxic work conditions, and beyond that, nothing was turning a profit (Post TWD S1 era at least). Batman was even one of their biggest commercial failures supposedly too.

Pretty disheartened to say the least. Granted, I had my issues with Telltale since I preferred their older stuff like Sam & Max, Strong Bad, and such. In hindsight, you can begin to see the hints here and there. The constant milking of The Walking Dead being one of the key factors that drives the point home. I'm still surprised Batman did so bad supposedly considering that got a sequel. 

The thing that annoys me more is that technically nearly every Telltale game can fall under never getting their stories ended. Telltale had this strang systematic method of always putting in terrible cliffhangers at the end of their stories to set up sequels that never came. Batman TTG has an assassination attempt on Bruce or Batman seemingly set up by the Joker only to never be mentioned again. Tales from the Borderlands had near a perfect conclusion til they shoehorned in a cliffhanger. Wolf Among Us left a massive unanswered question which will never be told now because it's cancelled, GOTG had someone trying to resurrect Thanos etc. All of them are just dead in the water now.

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2 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

The thing that annoys me more is that technically nearly every Telltale game can fall under never getting their stories ended. Telltale had this strang systematic method of always putting in terrible cliffhangers at the end of their stories to set up sequels that never came. Batman TTG has an assassination attempt on Bruce or Batman seemingly set up by the Joker only to never be mentioned again. Tales from the Borderlands had near a perfect conclusion til they shoehorned in a cliffhanger. Wolf Among Us left a massive unanswered question which will never be told now because it's cancelled, GOTG had someone trying to resurrect Thanos etc. All of them are just dead in the water now.

And just to add to that, Back To The Future: The Game - Episode 5 almost had a fairly conclusive ending but after the credits they followed it up with a "TO BE CONTINUED", leaving the door open for more adventures. I would like an Episode 6 but after putting my sensible trousers on, I don't think I would really. What we got was pretty good for me. Now that'll never happen. Back To The Future was my only Telltale Games experience and it was a pretty good one, not least when I finally got to play the whole thing in early 2012 it help lift my spirits after a truly awful end to the previous year.

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15 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

Supposedly one of the key issues that happened was due to very toxic work conditions, and beyond that, nothing was turning a profit (Post TWD S1 era at least). Batman was even one of their biggest commercial failures supposedly too.

Sounds about on par with what I'd expect from any video game studio, honestly.  Bad work conditions, general desperation to push out products that have an enormous hype at first but very shortly after begin to wane in interest.  It's the killer of many studios.

15 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

The thing that annoys me more is that technically nearly every Telltale game can fall under never getting their stories ended. Telltale had this strang systematic method of always putting in terrible cliffhangers at the end of their stories to set up sequels that never came. Batman TTG has an assassination attempt on Bruce or Batman seemingly set up by the Joker only to never be mentioned again. Tales from the Borderlands had near a perfect conclusion til they shoehorned in a cliffhanger. Wolf Among Us left a massive unanswered question which will never be told now because it's cancelled, GOTG had someone trying to resurrect Thanos etc. All of them are just dead in the water now.

Definitely this.  It's why I think media should always be as self-contained as possible.  If there's interest in a sequel, audiences will seek it out.  You don't need to bait them for it, and it keeps the series' integrity in tact should things turn south and the plans for a sequel not work out.  Whereas sequel bait runs the risk of diminishing what could be an otherwise extraordinary product.  I mean, there is a place for cliffhangers in media; just that it's not wise to count your chickens before they hatch as they say.  And TellTale is the absolute worst in this regard.

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WHAT

FUCK

I've been waiting for The Wolf Among Us 2 for so long and now this?

This is all on Telltales. Keep churning out games instead of dedicating on fixing your stupid ass engine. That was a smart move.

And Tales from the Borderlands 2 will never happen if this is true.

Fuck.

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Reports said TftB2 was cancelled already because the first one tanked hard.
Other than that my statement is the same as yours, being blueballed on TWAU2 is hurting so much.

Also, Poker Night 3 never ever because of this. Even worse.

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Just now, Ratcicle King said:

Welp, add Walking Dead to that list of stories we'll never see the end of.

Uhhh...I can't help but feel that's pretty scummy and possibly against the law. People have pre-paid for the season passes of the game, so if TTG doesn't hand out refunds, that's going to end up being a pretty big problem.

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That's a massive bummer. Season 1 of The Walking Dead is one of my absolute favorite games of all time, and sure, their other efforts weren't exactly masterful, it's super upsetting to see such creative potential and projects go to waste.

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Just now, Harkofthewaa said:

Here's the million dollar question: with all the successful games that Telltale has put out, how did they all the sudden run out of money?

From what I gather, poor business decisions coupled with poor sales. All of their games since TWD Season 1, bar Minecraft Story Mode has sold horribly and Telltale had been blowing through investor money this entire time, which is why Minecraft SE and Walking Dead got milked hard. That's not to mention how terrible and buggy their engine is.

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Yeah, that makes sense. Still, this is all very random and sudden, usually with these things there are warning signs for months before everything blows up (trust me, the place where my mom works is basically dead, it's only a matter of time). That does suck though, I liked that they were doing thier best to bring back a dead genre. I wish everyone involved in their future endeavors.

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3 hours ago, Blue Wisps said:

WHAT

FUCK

I've been waiting for The Wolf Among Us 2 for so long and now this?

This is all on Telltales. Keep churning out games instead of dedicating on fixing your stupid ass engine. That was a smart move.

And Tales from the Borderlands 2 will never happen if this is true.

Fuck.

 

2 hours ago, Teoskaven said:

Reports said TftB2 was cancelled already because the first one tanked hard.
Other than that my statement is the same as yours, being blueballed on TWAU2 is hurting so much.

Also, Poker Night 3 never ever because of this. Even worse.

 

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My heart to the employees out of work, but this was a long time coming. Yes they gave us some compelling narrative driven games, but that engine was so outdated and finicky even for the time of it's inception. Nowadays studios caught up and are doing the narrative format stronger then Telltale themselves. Games like Gone Home or Until Dawn.

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First Capcom Vancouver is shuttered and now this.

I feel really sorry for the hundreds of employees losing their jobs; especially with the reports about how they're being let go without any severance/benefits to cushion their dismissal, and how the studio's layoffs/closure seems to be as much of a surprise to them as it is for those outside the company.

Based on what's been reported so far (most of their games not selling, studio expanding really fast with staff and projects, lack of benefits for employees, studio closure/layoffs coming out of the blue) it seriously sounds like the people running the company fucked up something vicious and ran the business into the ground in the process. We're surely going to get a tell-all story about TTG's meteoric ascent and descent from grace within the forthcoming months that documents exactly what the hell happened behind the scenes. It's going to be the story everyone's demanding to learn about.

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4 hours ago, Ratcicle King said:

Welp, add Walking Dead to that list of stories we'll never see the end of.

Well, it keeps getting worse. Not only did a number of news outlets confirm this was the case, but on top of that, one of the devs actually confirmed it, basically saying "im not saying its cancelled but i wouldn't hold your hopes up". Apparently the story is written as the season goes along so there's literally no story written for the final two episodes, and the writers of the season were among those fired.

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Just now, shdowhunt60 said:

Let's be honest here though. The reason why this happened to Telltale is because they saturated the market with their own games. It's exactly what happened to Sierra Entertainment, only I don't think Telltale will have near the same cultural impact.

I'd say you're on the right line of thinking there but there's more to it. For a long period of time, Telltale garnered a rep for not only oversaturation of games (Namely the fact all of their games after TWD were the exact same game in a different skin) but they developed a ton of multiple projects at once, and released episodes at inconsistent rates. When it was the older era of Telltale Games, as in Sam & Max and the like, the episodes were consistently out one month after each other and done to a high standard because they only worked on one project at a time for the majority of it. The delays only began a few times with BTTF The Game and the decision to make JP The Game come out at once. 

After that, there could be three or four month gaps between episodes and that got downright annoying. I remember getting the physical edition of GOTG when Episode 2 was out and I ended up so sick of waiting that I completely forgot about it til at least a week or so after Episode 5 released. When you can't even keep a semi-consistent schedule, and expecting people to shell out the money for a season pass up front for a game that could take a year to finish up, it's a pretty tough sell, and that's not even getting into the often buggy and unfinished nature of these games.

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Now this, this closure is what you call a bolt from the blue. Totally unexpected, and very sad.

It must really sting to be a TT Walking Dead fan right now, eagerly awaiting the last finale, only to have it torn away at the end, with resources that might have been used to finish it off instead going toward some goddamn Minecraft arse.

My deepest sympathies.

Here's hoping THQ Nordic picks the property up and finishes it off.

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It's really bumming me out to hear Telltale is closing soon...  While I have not played their newer games... regardless the Sam & Max series they made was among my favorite games of all time and I was hoping to see them make more someday... Good ol professional made point & click adventure games are pretty race nowadays... I don't care for all the first person view games and empty open world games we get often lately...  Even action adventure games can't replace the classic appeal of relaxing story heavy 3rd person view point & click adventure style games I say.

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