Sad news coming out of the gaming world today. Telltale Games, developers of the acclaimed Walking Dead video game series, have announced that they are winding down for closure; with only 25 staff members staying on to complete the studios obligations.
The company were one hailed as pioneers of the choice-driven narrative experience since 2004. The news comes following the release of a number of projects which failed to meet the lofty sales expectations of the struggling company. All upcoming games have now been officially cancelled, including the two remaining episodes of the highly anticipated The Walking Dead: The Final Season. The 25 employees that remain are said to be finishing up work on the Netflix-endorsed Minecraft project.
In an official press release, Pete Hawley (CEO of Telltale Games) stated: “It’s been an incredibly difficult year for Telltale Games 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 developer was once a critical darling, they have faced a fair amount of disparagement in recent years. Fans and journalists have taken aim at their games’ notoriously janky engine and oversaturation, which has seemed to lessen the charm of their recent outings.
Despite a few angry posts on social media, it has been reported that the layoffs have been handled in a respectable manner. The Verge reported: “By all accounts, the layoffs were handled as professionally and gently as possible. Those who had lost their jobs were paid out until the end of the year, and Telltale Games planned a job fair for them to meet and speak with recruiters. People were not denied severance or escorted from the building by security, but given time to gather their things and say goodbye. The remaining staff was given the rest of the day off so that they could spend time with their departing co-workers; they gathered at a pub in downtown San Rafael.”
There’s no denying this a difficult situation for those impacted, but a small glimmer of happiness can be taken from the way that the industry has banded together to offer support for the outgoing employees. Fans of the companies’ work have bombarded both the official social media outlets and personal pages with gratitude for the incredible stories they crafted.
Aid has also come from fellow devotees who caught wind of the closure. Both Crytek and Naughty Dog have come forward with job opportunities, and even Ubisoft have stepped up to offer meetings with former staff to discuss future work.
It’s always sad when a story like this drops. Our thoughts go out to those affected, and we wish them all the best in the future. Thank you for all the great games you have given us.
Story by Nathan Warby
Featured Photo Credit: Comic Book