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Telltale Games Has Laid Off 90% Of Its Staff, All Games Cancelled [Update]

We will remember them.

Update: 22/09 10:AM: It now appears that all games at Telltale have been cancelled, including The Walking Dead: The Final Season which was due to release a second episode next week.

As reported by USGamer, the skeleton crew remaining at Telltale are there to fulfil contractual obligations in bringing Minecraft: Story Mode to Netflix, while all game development teams have been laid off.

Update 23:30PM: Telltale have issued a statement via Twitter:

Today Telltale Games made the difficult decision to begin a majority studio closure following a year marked by insurmountable challenges. A majority of the company’s employees were dismissed earlier this morning, with a small group of 25 employees staying on to fulfil the company’s obligations to its board and partners. CEO 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 hear, we watch our friends leave today to spread out brand of storytelling across the games industry.”

Telltale will issue further comments regarding its product portfolio in the coming weeks.

The original story follows:

In rather surprising news, Telltale Games seem to have laid of the vast majority of their staff, with sweeping layoffs reported by developers now suddenly out of work. From around 250 developers, The Verge are saying that the company is now down to just 25 people working on a single project, and while it was suggested that the studio had shut down completely, those are currently premature.

Even so, with such a drastic cut to the personnel, it leaves the future of the studio in doubt. Chances are the remaining staff are working to finish off The Walking Dead: The Final Season, while other projects such as The Wolf Among Us Season 2 and Stranger Things have surely been canned.

A number of rumours have swirled around the studio in recent times, with former staff speaking of a toxic workplace environment, layoffs of a quarter of the staff at the start of this year, and the inherent difficulties of trying to switch game engines and attempts to overhaul the format that their games take.

Whatever happens next, Telltale Games have suffered a dramatic fall from grace, having long been the darlings of the graphic adventure genre since the first The Walking Dead series. Our thoughts go to those now suddenly looking for work, and we hope they find fresh employment soon.

Source: The Verge, Gamasutra, Venture Beat

  1. Crazy_Del
    Since: Jul 2009

    That was unexpected I thought they would doing all eight as their games were fantastic! There goes Wolf Among Us 2 in the bin. :(

    Comment posted on 21/09/2018 at 22:12.
  2. Adrian Burrows
    Since: Jul 2017

    That sucks to hear. I enjoyed a lot of their games. Hope those affected find new work soon.

    Comment posted on 21/09/2018 at 22:34.
  3. MrYd
    Since: Mar 2011

    That’s a shame. Although why “reportedly laid off”? Odd way of phrasing it when the company itself announces it on Twitter, isn’t it?


    Hopefully those “further comments” in the coming weeks will be “we got the final season of TWD finished so you won’t miss out”. It’ll be bloody typical if the one time I pre-order one of their games rather than wait until it’s available all at once is the time it never gets finished.

    Comment posted on 21/09/2018 at 23:11.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      The news broke from recently laid off developers reaching out to various publications before Telltale later confirmed things via Twitter.

      Comment posted on 22/09/2018 at 10:14.
      • MrYd
        Since: Mar 2011

        I guess by the time you’d seen the rumours, on a Friday evening, written something about it and published it, the official announcement managed to creep out.

        Now we just need official news on the final season of TWD.

        Comment posted on 22/09/2018 at 10:41.
      • Stefan L
        Community Team
        Since: May 2009

        I think there was something like 30 minutes between me posting this and Telltale confirming what had happened.

        Comment posted on 22/09/2018 at 10:46.
  4. JR.
    Since: Apr 2013

    Wow, the article on cogconnected.com about the toxic work environment makes for some interesting reading.

    I always felt the first walking dead game was the best telltale game. I’ve enjoyed them all to be fair (Guardians of the Galaxy and Wolf Among Us especially) but that first TWD game was something else.

    Good luck to all those affected.

    Comment posted on 21/09/2018 at 23:29.
  5. dave87fez
    Since: May 2011

    Press triangle to say: “Wait…what?!”
    Press square to say: “Another one bites the dust.”
    Press circle to say: “You will be missed.”
    Press X to listen in stoic silence.

    (Spoiler alert. It doesn’t matter which option you pick.)

    Comment posted on 22/09/2018 at 00:16.
    • aerobes
      Since: Aug 2009

      Very well done. Quiet applause.

      Comment posted on 22/09/2018 at 02:23.
  6. Andrewww
    Since: Jan 2010

    Ouch. That’s a shame. I played and liked several of their games. But I didn’t know they were that big, I’d expect games like theirs could only feed a small independent studio, but not that many people.

    Comment posted on 22/09/2018 at 00:49.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      They had a lot of high profile licenses and several games going at once. They had three or four game series running each year between 2014 and 2017, and that’s going to take a lot of resources. The company was up to 400 staff in 2017, but there’s been talk of mismanagement and excessive spending, so when the Stranger Things license fell through it knocked the company sideways and they couldn’t right themselves.

      Comment posted on 22/09/2018 at 12:30.
  7. TSBonyman
    Since: Dec 2009

    That’s a real shame for the laid-off employees – and those of us who appreciated the easy plats.

    Comment posted on 22/09/2018 at 12:42.
    • MrYd
      Since: Mar 2011

      Not so easy for the final TWD season. Things to collect, choices that lock you out of trophies, trophies you can miss because you didn’t press a button in the 12 nanoseconds you have to press it. And possibly half the episodes never releasing.

      Apart from all that, yeah, easy plats ;)

      Comment posted on 22/09/2018 at 12:56.
  8. aerobes
    Since: Aug 2009

    This is just shit. Bollocks.

    Wife wants to know about her season pass. I offered flowers.

    She said why did Spyro have to get delayed.

    I just wonder about the former Telltale employees. Just shit all around.

    Comment posted on 23/09/2018 at 06:00.