What just happened? Independent game development studio Telltale — perhaps best known for the popular The Walking Dead (TWD) adventure game franchise — has reportedly laid off a whopping 90 percent of its staff, leaving behind a 25-person “skeleton crew” to finish the final season of TWD. All other projects have been canceled, and fired employees have reportedly not received severance pay.
If you’re a hardcore PC gamer, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Telltale.
Though the game development studio is best-known for their work on the popular Walking Dead adventure game series, long-time fans like myself may remember their puzzle-focused adventure titles like those found in the Sam & Max series.
Whether you love or hate the company’s game, it’s tough to deny that they’ve appealed to an awful lot of people.
Telltale titles are usually quite well-received, likely due to the many compelling stories and tough choices they present players with. The Wolf Among Us was an excellent example of that, and it’s easily my favorite “modern” Telltale game to date.
However, it seems the company’s new narrative-focused game formula is beginning to lose its charm. Reports are beginning to surface that suggest the independent studio is on its way out; it’s apparently laid off 90 percent of its employees.
As of writing, Telltale reportedly has a mere 25 developers on staff, whose sole job is to finish the final season of The Walking Dead. For reference, the company had around 250 employees prior to these developments, after an earlier round of staff cuts took place back in 2017.
All other projects that were in the works — including The Wolf Among Us’ second season — have apparently been canceled outright. After The Walking Dead’s story concludes, Telltale will reportedly shut its doors entirely. Worse yet, terminated employees won’t be receiving severance pay, according to USGamer.
If these reports are accurate, I’ll admit I’m more than a little disappointed. As I said before, I’m primarily a fan of Telltale’s older titles, but it’s always a sad day when a long-running game development studio closes its doors.
On the bright side, industry support for the company’s now-jobless developers has been overwhelming. Companies like Zenimax, Massive, Starbreeze, and Gearbox have all reached out to said developers with job, or at least interview offers, expressing their condolences in the process.
Before concluding, it’s worth mentioning that these reports are just that: reports. Telltale has not confirmed them yet nor has it issued an official statement on the matter. As such, it may be wise to take this information with a grain of salt for now.