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Telltale Games Lays Off More Than 90% Of Staff

by Donald Theriault - September 21, 2018, 6:34 pm PDT
Total comments: 3 Source: Telltale Games, USGamer

The Switch ports of the second season of Batman and three Walking Dead seasons are likely caught in the crossfire.

A massive round of layoffs has occurred at one of the industry's most prominent developers, leaving behind a skeleton crew.

Reports emerged earlier today of layoffs at Telltale Games, reducing a studio with more than 300 employees to a crew of 25. It appears the nearly 300 employees affected will not be provided with severance pay, fueling speculation of a potential bankruptcy. The remaining 25 employees will be focused on meeting "contractual obligations" focused on an adaption of Minecraft Story Mode as part of Netflix's Choose Your Adventure lineup.

The sudden layoffs follow on the heels of Telltale announcing Seasons 1 and 2 of their breakout hit Walking Dead series for Switch less than a month ago, and announcing new PC publishing agreements as recently as yesterday. At this point, it appears that the final release from the company not related to Netflix would be the second episode of The Walking Dead: The Final Season which was slated to come out this coming Tuesday.

Telltale Games originally opened in 2004, and developed titles for Wii, DS, Wii U, and Switch. Their breakout occurred in 2012, when their adaptation of The Walking Dead achieved massive critical acclaim and sales. In recent years, the company has focused on episodic adventure games based on licensed properties: in addition to The Walking Dead, their games covered properties including Borderlands, The Wolf Among Us comic series, Game of Thrones, Guardians of the Galaxy, Minecraft, and Batman. Additionally, Telltale had a small PC-focused publishing label.

Talkback

TOPHATANT123September 22, 2018

It's weird that I've never even seen a screenshot of most of their recent games.

MASBSeptember 22, 2018

Telltale had so much potential, but consistent mismanagement by the top eventually lead to this day. I've heard  so many times of serious, sometimes game-breaking bugs with their games that they were either slow to fix or never bothered fixing. Apparently their quality has improved recently, but they were on the wrong side of the tracks for so long, it had to have burned bridges with more than a few players. Sorry so many employees are paying for mistakes that were likely foisted on them from on high.

There's a lot of crazy stuff being tweeted out about this.  Beyond the screwing of their employees, one chain I saw claimed the only financially successful games from Telltale were The Walking Dead: Season 1 and Minecraft: Story Mode, and they were banking on the Stranger Things game saving their tail. 

They likely did what a lot of small businesses do mistakenly - get one hit, then thinking they need to strike while the iron's hot, expand and produce so much that 1) isn't nearly as successful as their hit, and 2) makes so much overhead cost in the business expansion that even if it sold decently, it didn't do enough to cover the cost of running the business as-is.

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