Telltale Games, the creators of the Tales From The Borderlands and The Walking Dead series announced their closure on September 21st, after laying off a majority of their employees. It prompted reactions from the gaming community at large as well as from Game Workers Unite, a union advocacy group.
According to a press release from the development company, the decision to close was made after a year of “insurmountable challenges". Only twenty-five employees remain at the company to fulfill the company’s contractual obligations, which include the release of the remainder of Walking Dead: The Final Season, the next episode of which is slated for release this upcoming Tuesday, and another entry in the Minecraft Story Mode series. The fates of these developers after the release of these titles is unclear. Other projects, namely The Wolf Among Us: Season 2 and Stranger Things have been cancelled.
In the same release, CEO of Telltale Games 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.”
While the studio has not closed entirely as of yet, there has been a massive outpouring of support for those developers that have lost their jobs. On twitter, the hashtag #TelltaleJobs has been trending, with other major development companies posting their own job openings in response. Similarly, in an official statement, Game Workers Unite announced their support for the former devs of Telltale. “To the workers who have been affected - We see you. We are you. We stand together with you. We are here to talk, to listen, to offer whatever support we can, to unite with you. Take the time you need to rest and recover, but know that we are here for you when you need the support”.
We here at Sprites & Dice wish these workers the very best in their future endeavours. Telltale games set an unparalleled par in storytelling through the medium of video games through the efforts of these developers. For me, playing through the first few seasons of Telltale’s The Walking Dead completely changed my perspective of how stories can be told through games (and made me bawl like a baby). So from all of us to the former developers of Telltale games... best of luck. We can’t wait to see the amazing places you go and the new compelling stories you will tell.