Gaming companies come and go. But few downfalls come as much of a shock to fans as learning on the demise of Telltale Games. With big name titles under their belt, more titles announced for the next year, and hiring as recent as a month ago, fans and employees alike were caught off guard by the announcement that Telltale would be closing its doors. The downfall of Telltale is a cautionary warning to those who work in the gaming industry and a sign that the way the industry does business needs to change. What led to Telltale’s closing, what does it mean for its employees and future games? As fans and industry pros let it all sink in, here’s a list of 5 games you probably didn’t know Telltale created.
Telltale laid off approximately 250 employees. The majority of which were let go with no severance. Telltale reportedly hired many as “independent contractors” which doesn’t protect employees the way a normal hire would. No severance, no unemployment. Reports claim the staff was told of the layoffs, then given 30 minutes to the building.
The company did well to hide its troubles. A few months before the company was overcome with rumors of toxic management and employee abuses that included overtime without pay, overwork and high demands to meet impossible goals by unrealistic dates. This coupled with the Telltale co-founder and former CEO, Kevin Bruner, during the company seeing to recover financial damages were big red flags that the company wasn’t doing well.
Still, they announced new games – The Wolf Among Us season 2, Game of Thrones season 2, and an untitled Stranger Things game. There was talk of changing engines, moving from the Telltale tool in exchange for the Unity gaming engine. Telltale also struck a deal with Netflix, in exchange for Telltale doing a Stranger Things game, the gaming company would also adapt the Minecraft: Story Mode games into an interactive, streaming video series.
The internet has rallied around the now unemployed gaming developers, PlayStation, Ubisoft, Blizzard, Gearbox, and numerous other development companies using the hashtag #TelltaleJobs let everyone affected by the layoff know that hope wasn’t lost, offering to hire anyone affected by the layoffs.
While Telltale made their fame on the back of The Walking Dead, there are several games fans may not know Telltale did or even existed at all.
Released in 2010, and re-released in 2015 for the 20th Anniversary, Back To The Future: The Game features voice-over role from Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) and Tom Wilson (Biff Tannen) as well as a cameo from Michael J Fox (Marty McFly) for the final episode.
Law & Order: Legacies featured characters from Law & Order and Law & Order: SVU and had gameplay involving both police procedural and courtroom experiences.
Sam & Max had 3 seasons of games, Sam & Max Save The World, Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space, and Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse and was the first Telltale game to appear on PS3.
Jurassic Park: The Game was designed as kind of sequel to the first movie, happening simultaneously with different characters. Gerry Harding, the chief vet for the park, is the only character from the film to appear in-game. The game following Harding and his two young daughters as they experience the park.
Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Adventures was one of the first game that garnered the company real fans, releasing in 2009 and stayed on their website for download until 2014 when their distribution rights expired.
Did you have a favorite Telltale game? Were you surprised to hear about the layoffs? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter!