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

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29 minutes ago, Patticus said:

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.

Can confirm, ugh.  Extremely pissed off that I stuck with the series beyond their missteps in Season 2 and now this is my thanks.  I spent the last few years trying to rally friends to give it another chance because Season 3 was super great and Season 4 was shaping up to be the same.  Now it seems that abandoning the series and no longer caring about the story was the right call all along.

Very excited to be pissed off at this for several decades like I have been at several other cliffhanger'd series of mine over my life (ReBoot etc grrr).

 

Obviously I'm sad on behalf of the people who lost their jobs too (and what sounds like shitty treatment in them doing so), but since I've no personal connection to that it's hard to have anything more to say on it than just that.  Honestly it's one of those things where, if I knew the money would go to the developers who have been laid off, I wouldn't request a refund on the game - but that's not how things work so I probably will once we get confirmation that the series will not conclude.

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I don't follow Telltale anymore, but this blows. Sam & Max were some of my favorite PC games around the time they came out, and I really liked TWD1. It's depressing that the only major point-and-click game studio is now dead, and despite isolated instances like Life is Strange, I really don't think the genre is gonna pick up among major publishers again.

Hoping that the 200+ employees that lost their jobs can find work elsewhere soon. I'm also wondering about the fate of their titles on digital storefronts. There were some games I wanted to pick up sometime like Strong Bad, TWD3, BITF, and the Batman games if those were any good.

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Looks like the videogame community is rallying to help out as many of those who were so disgracefully tossed into the trash as possible. This wouldn't have happened if workers' rights (redundancy pay etc) were enshrined in the law, as they are in other countries.

 

Apparently, part of TT's problem was their office's location - a huge office, right in the heart of Silicon Valley, paying outrageous rent fees and Silicon Valley wages to a team whose output evidently hadn't paid the bills since TWD Season 1. If they had trimmed their staff and moved to a more realistically affordable location, maybe the studio would've survived.

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Looks to me more like vultures flying over a dying corpse more than people willing to help. The way the workers at TTG were treated was still terrible, but i wouldn't be so estatic about some of these companies offering their hands, especially TESO and Ninja Theory.

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2 hours ago, Teoskaven said:

Looks to me more like vultures flying over a dying corpse more than people willing to help. The way the workers at TTG were treated was still terrible, but i wouldn't be so estatic about some of these companies offering their hands, especially TESO and Ninja Theory.

I mean yes it's absolutely them just snatching talent under the guise of seeming benevolent, but with their employment ending as abrupt as it did I'd wager they'd settle for any company employment ATM. Especially when families, living costs, and the finances of suddenly relocating start to accumulate.

 

 

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Aw man.

I remember vividly when Telltale first came to the point-and-click scene. I was part of a Monkey Island forum at the time, and after Lucasarts cancelled Sam & Max: Freelance Police, the community was desperately looking for ANYTHING. Telltale got our attention by teasing a licensed game, and all they showed was a close-up of something white. Everyone was convinced it was Max! Eventually, it was revealed to be...Bone. Was a bit of a dick move, really.

It wasn't too long after that we got what we had hoped for, new Sam and Max. It was decent, and Season 2 was a definite improvement. I was happy. Telltale was growing. One of my favourite genres was being revitalised.

Even then, Telltale had oddball decisions. I love Homestar Runner as much as next guy, but doing a 5-part series on a web cartoon is really a strange business decision. Wallace & Gromit was also an unusual choice, and Back to the Future was a surprise (I don't think it was even for a major anniversary, may be wrong though). It was around this point I first thought Telltale might be spreading themselves too thin.

Then the crazy people actually did it.

They made a new Monkey Island.

It was decent. I haven't played it since it first released almost 10 years, I probably should try it again.

Aside from a third series of Sam and Max (probably their most ambitious in mechanics), this is where they moved to interactive storytelling. The Walking Dead Series 1 is a really big deal. I don't fully blame them for changing their focus after its success, and all the media attention Telltale received from it. The Wolf Among Us is also pretty damn good.

Series 2 of the Walking Dead disappointed me, and to be honest I haven't bought any of their games since then. I'm stunned at this news though, because of the sheer amount of licenses they were playing with, I reckoned they must be swimming in cash. But as Ryan said above, it was way too much. They had far too many ongoing projects, people splitting time across various franchises leaving no consistency within them. That said, I was quite anticipating The Wolf Among Us 2. If I'd known TWD3 was such an improvement over Series 2, I might have given that a go by now as well.

Weren't they actually working on a new engine, or at least a proper update? Figures that as soon as they try to address one of their most common criticisms, they run out of money.

Its strange seeing a company rise and fall in about 15 years (or less), and I have sympathy for the staff.

 

Now, with a heavy heart, I'm off to download the games I bought direct from their website, PRE-STEAM before they disappear.

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9 minutes ago, Covskin said:

Aw man.

I remember vividly when Telltale first came to the point-and-click scene. I was part of a Monkey Island forum at the time, and after Lucasarts cancelled Sam & Max: Freelance Police, the community was desperately looking for ANYTHING. Telltale got our attention by teasing a licensed game, and all they showed was a close-up of something white. Everyone was convinced it was Max! Eventually, it was revealed to be...Bone. Was a bit of a dick move, really.

It wasn't too long after that we got what we had hoped for, new Sam and Max. It was decent, and Season 2 was a definite improvement. I was happy. Telltale was growing. One of my favourite genres was being revitalised.

Even then, Telltale had oddball decisions. I love Homestar Runner as much as next guy, but doing a 5-part series on a web cartoon is really a strange business decision. Wallace & Gromit was also an unusual choice, and Back to the Future was a surprise (I don't think it was even for a major anniversary, may be wrong though). It was around this point I first thought Telltale might be spreading themselves too thin.

Then the crazy people actually did it.

They made a new Monkey Island.

It was decent. I haven't played it since it first released almost 10 years, I probably should try it again.

Aside from a third series of Sam and Max (probably their most ambitious in mechanics), this is where they moved to interactive storytelling. The Walking Dead Series 1 is a really big deal. I don't fully blame them for changing their focus after its success, and all the media attention Telltale received from it. The Wolf Among Us is also pretty damn good.

Series 2 of the Walking Dead disappointed me, and to be honest I haven't bought any of their games since then. I'm stunned at this news though, because of the sheer amount of licenses they were playing with, I reckoned they must be swimming in cash. But as Ryan said above, it was way too much. They had far too many ongoing projects, people splitting time across various franchises leaving no consistency within them. That said, I was quite anticipating The Wolf Among Us 2. If I'd known TWD3 was such an improvement over Series 2, I might have given that a go by now as well.

Weren't they actually working on a new engine, or at least a proper update? Figures that as soon as they try to address one of their most common criticisms, they run out of money.

Its strange seeing a company rise and fall in about 15 years (or less), and I have sympathy for the staff.

 

Now, with a heavy heart, I'm off to download the games I bought direct from their website, PRE-STEAM before they disappear.

Tales of Monkey Island is a fantastic game, and I’d argue possibly the best of all the Monkey Island games. Granted, I might be biased because of the fact it was my first MI game but after playing all of the others to completion, bar Escape, I still feel Tales was the strongest. It felt like the best natural progression of the series after a near decade hiatus, Guybrush and Elaine are now pirate captains, Guybrush is arguably more confident in his abilities without getting overly egotistical like in Monkey Island 2. The humour I felt was probably one of the best in the series, especially from Episode 3 onwards. That entire court section in Episode 4 still remains one of the funniest moments in the series to date, between Stan’s awful defences, Guybrush’s attempt to defend himself and calling himself as a witness.

The only weak episode I’d say was 2, just didn’t particularly find the mer people Island interesting, Granted it got better during the finale of the episode. But I suppose I also really like how many risks Tales took and how it had a good sense of finality. For once, there wasn’t a shoehorned cliffhanger, it raised the stakes of previous games and brings up interesting ideas, LeChuck as a good guy and playing the long game to get payback on Guybrush especially was incredibly well done to me.

That chilling moment in Episode 4 when he finally does it and pulls his betrayal at the eleventh hour was absolutely shocking too and just not done in MI. With all the times we had the joke deaths of Guybrush, like drowning underwater after waiting ten minutes or basing MI2’s story around Guybrush being stuck over a pit and casually retelling the events to Elaine, this was the first time they did something like this and treated it as a serious legit death and total shocking moment, and Episode 5’s ending events of the Adventure Goes On just felt like a nice way to end it all, especially with the final battle having LeChuck at his strongest. 

I honestly can’t believe it’s nearly been a full decade since Tales released.

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Eh, my main memories of Tales aren't as rosy. The repetition of the map puzzle in Episode 1 frustrated me, and the Mer-people of Episode 2 came out of nowhere.

I think it was Episode 2, the part where Guybrush teaches LeChuck how to puzzle solve was hilarious to be fair.

My memories of Episode 3 were it being the pits, haha. Didn't like the restricted location or the face-pulling minigame/puzzle and Murray could only do so much to carry it.

My main reason for still preferring the originals is scale, something that the episodic format of Tales could naturally never match. The quest for the 4 map pieces in MI2 is the pinnacle of open-ended design for me, allowing the player to go through 4 different puzzle lines in any order, mixing and matching whenever you want or need. The Three Trials and Plunder Island are similarly large and varied. Its just something a smaller 3/4 hour episodic game could never hope to match. Its not a deal-breaker, it just comes with the territory.

I used to hope after The Walking Dead Season 1, Telltale would have become large enough to not rely on the episodic format anymore, allowing for bigger adventures. Sadly, it was not meant to be.

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The only Telltale game I ever played was Tales from the Borderlands. I was really hoping for a sequel but I guess now we'll never get it. It'll probably be removed from the Borderlands canon now too. RIP.

I've always wanted to check out their take on Guardians of the Galaxy so I guess I'll be picking that up plus another copy of Borderlands off GOG just in case the titles are removed from Steam.

One thing I always wondered though, if the studio was so broke how come they could afford to splash the cash for so many notable voice actors? Patrick Warburton is a Hollywood actor and then you have Troy Baker and Laura Bailey - two voice actors under Union so they had to be paid a fixed wage.

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>Telltale is dead
>The remaining crew at Telltale are working on Minecraft

Well.... That's that.
Telltale has been killed off, thanks for all of your TWD money as they might go to that Netflix Minecraft project (I say might, they may refund the money to the people instead)

But still, I can get why they chose Minecraft over TWD, kids.
You just don't want a kid playing a game with swear words, instead, give them something safe like Minecraft Story Mode, and that stupid game has sales that are almost rivalling TWD.

But hey, I guess that the only way we can support their now dead future, is by playing Minecraft on Netflix.

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23 minutes ago, MarioAmigosYT said:

>Telltale is dead
>The remaining crew at Telltale are working on Minecraft

Well.... That's that.
Telltale has been killed off, thanks for all of your TWD money as they might go to that Netflix Minecraft project (I say might, they may refund the money to the people instead)

But still, I can get why they chose Minecraft over TWD, kids.
You just don't want a kid playing a game with swear words, instead, give them something safe like Minecraft Story Mode, and that stupid game has sales that are almost rivalling TWD.

But hey, I guess that the only way we can support their now dead future, is by playing Minecraft on Netflix.

Not really, no. From the sounds of it, it sounds like they entered into a deal with Netflix which was leading to the Stranger Things game, and the Minecraft SM adaption and were possibly paid up front. Now they’ve gone bankrupt, Netflix might be giving extra funding to finish the Minecraft project and TTG were likely contracted. It’s very possible they would’ve been in legal trouble if they didn’t finish it.

Granted, if they don’t confirm the current situation with TWD and don’t issue refunds out to season pass holders, then there’s might be a case there anyway as they aren’t delivering the promised product paid up front.

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If you still wanted a Stranger Things game, it looks like Netflix is going to still get such a project in motion, but not as a TellTale game.

https://www.polygon.com/2018/9/24/17896054/netflix-stranger-things-telltale-game-update

Quote

“We are saddened by news about Telltale Games,” Netflix said in a statement. “They developed many great games in the past and left an indelible mark in the industry. Minecraft: Story Mode is still moving forward as planned. We are in the process of evaluating other options for bringing the Stranger Things universe to life in an interactive medium.

 

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1 hour ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

Not really, no. From the sounds of it, it sounds like they entered into a deal with Netflix which was leading to the Stranger Things game, and the Minecraft SM adaption and were possibly paid up front. Now they’ve gone bankrupt, Netflix might be giving extra funding to finish the Minecraft project and TTG were likely contracted. It’s very possible they would’ve been in legal trouble if they didn’t finish it.

Granted, if they don’t confirm the current situation with TWD and don’t issue refunds out to season pass holders, then there’s might be a case there anyway as they aren’t delivering the promised product paid up front.

oh, yea that
still, that's sad considering my first TWD game was Season 2 and my first Telltale game was Minecraft Story Mode....

yea

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Telltale are apparently actively working to NOT have to cancel The Walking Dead:

https://www.polygon.com/2018/9/24/17899006/the-walking-dead-telltale-final-season-could-happen

While this is good-ish news for the fans, it's pretty bittersweet all the same.  There's no real undoing the damage here.

First and foremost, obviously, is as much as I really want to see Clem's story to the end, getting funds to pay their employees severance should be more important than getting funds to finish the game.  It sucks to admit that I'm more invested in the fictional story these developers have presented me with than the livelihoods of the developers themselves but that's just a fact - the developers were treated like shit and I can step away from my personal feelings and say their living is more important than my entertainment.  In a perfect world, they get the money to re-hire them to finish the game AND THEN SOME to compensate the emotional toll of what they were put through.  But if the choice is finish the game OR pay severance, it should be the latter that they do.

 

Secondly though... unless that perfect situation happens, the damage this incident has done to the series will still be irreversible.  No matter what they give us, it won't be the same game that we would have gotten had the studio not shut down.  Either it's going to be shortened, or they'll do it as a non-interactive comic or some other lame thing that isn't just, what we want: the game.  Whatever company they get to invest in the series' conclusion, that company is not going to be doing it out of charity.  Best case scenario is that company wants to continue making more TWD games after with a new story/protagonist, why would they fund just two episodes of a product about 50% of players have already paid for?  Worst case scenario is they don't allow Clem's story to end and they want to extend it further to make more money, etc.

 

Either way, the finale we were due to get has barely any chance of being realised in the way it was supposed to be.

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It sounds an awful lot like what Telltale did was equivalent to what Maxis was doing twenty years ago that caused them to collapse and EA to buy them out; where they do something popular that makes them somewhat well off and known, and they completely go off the fucking rails to try and capitalize on it and stretch themselves way beyond too thin in the process.

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Looks like the remaining episodes of the final season will indeed be finished and released:

https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/skybound-telltale-the-walking-dead-1202971245/

Quote

The final episodes for Telltale Games “The Walking Dead: The Final Season” will be released afterall, with Skybound taking over development and publishing of the game, “Walking Dead” creator and Skybound founder Robert Kirkman announced Saturday. Skybound also hopes to keep the original Telltale development team intact so they can be the ones to finish the season.

Skybound Games will work with members of the original Telltale team to finish the story, though nothing has yet been finalized, a spokesperson told Variety. Skybound never used in-house developers on its games before.

“We’ve successfully negotiated with Telltale Games for our company Skybound to come in and see Season 4 of the Telltale game to completion,” Kirkman told an audience at New York Comic-Con Saturday night. “We can’t lose Andrew Lincoln and Clementine in the same year.”

 

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Definitely very relieved as a player but I also certainly hope they're able to re-hire as many folks as possible and any additional income gained from the game's completion goes towards compensating the remaining layoffs before anything else.

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1 hour ago, JezMM said:

Definitely very relieved as a player but I also certainly hope they're able to re-hire as many folks as possible and any additional income gained from the game's completion goes towards compensating the remaining layoffs before anything else.

To my knowledge, they intent to work as much as they can to get as many of the original Final Season staff in to finish the game, likely including writers and such. 

Very good on Skybound to do that, I have no idea how good they are as a publisher/developmental house, but there's some respect there for not only working an agreement out to see the game to completion but also to get the original staff back to finish the game the way they wanted to do so. 

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So update, if there’s any games you’re interested in but holding out on getting, you might want to get it. Telltale Games have started the delisting process with Walking Dead, Back to the Future, and Tales of Monkey Island getting delisted from digital storefronts.

For anything I’d recommend, Sam and Max, and Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Awesome People are both great games, and likely both will be immensely difficult to get after delisting due to the only physical editions being the ones Telltale made nearly a decade ago and sold out long ago for season owners.

Telltale’s closure is another striking and shocking blow against the digital future we seem to be heading towards. So many games just suddenly gone.

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