Developer of episodic storytelling stalwart The Walking Dead, Telltale Games has laid off the majority of its staff in a sweeping move spelling the end of the long-running studio. News first emerged via murmurs on Twitter, before ex-CEO Kevin Bruner authored a heartfelt message calling it a ‘closure’ and finally being confirmed outright by Telltale in the early hours of Saturday with the following message on 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 fulfill 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 heart, we watch our friends leave today to spread our brand of storytelling across the games industry.”
Telltale will issue further comments regarding its product portfolio in the coming weeks.’
As for which titles have been cancelled, speculation is rife with USGamer reporting The Walking Dead team has been ousted, heralding the end of The Walking Dead Final Season though Episode 2 will be released next week as planned.
Sources suggests the 25-person strong team has been retained to fulfill contractual obligations linked to the Netflix-backed Minecraft: Story Mode. Stranger Things and The Wolf Among Us 2 have seemingly been axed. In an ironic twist, the remaining staff are quite literally the walking dead.
Although the news is a sombre reminder of the fragile foundations underpinning video game development, the writing was arguably on the wall. At the end of last year, Telltale laid off 25% of its workforce in an effort to restructure the company in the face of financial troubles. To compound the studio’s shaking fortunes, co-creator Kevin Bruner sued Telltale earlier this year in what was a messy divorce over different visions of what was in store for the company’s future.