Update: Citing a report from USGamer, Telltale has effectively canceled the upcoming Stranger Things project in addition to The Wolf Among Us 2. Kevin Bruner, the former co-founder of Telltale Games, has posted a personal statement on his blog titled “Telltale closure”, calling the future of the studio further into question. No official word has been given from Telltale execs at this time.
The future isn’t looking great for Telltale Games. The once iconic development team behind adventure games based on hugely successful properties like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and Minecraft, has landed on some pretty hard times.
According to a new report from The Verge, the developer has scaled back its workforce to just 25 people, this is following another round of layoffs in 2017 that saw some 90 people let go. All in all, this isn’t a good sign for the short-term and long-term viability of the company. A Verge report on the studio from March of this year painted the work environment at the studio as toxic and plagued by constant overwork, all while creativity and innovation were stifled. That description allegedly characterizes the leadership of former Telltale Games CEO Kevin Bruner, who is currently suing the company for financial damages.
Layoffs happen, and frontline employees are often the first to be let go, often with no severance or other financial support, which is what allegedly happened here according to multiple sources. All that said, it’s still sad to see these things happen. Especially so to a once prominent developer who once grew to more than 300 employees in 2017.
Telltale has developed many games over the last 14 years, and I hope they stick around to deliver on new properties. With the transition to Unity for the new Stranger Things game, maybe it will help stabilize their fragile situation. Hopefully with a more technically solid and profitable game based on a franchise not suffering from the fatigue that plagues The Walking Dead, Telltale can do just that.
What’s your opinion on this? Let us know in the comments.