Telltale is Shutting Down

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Avatar image for flashflood_29
#1 Edited by FlashFlood_29 (4452 posts) -


They'll finish out the last season of The Walking Dead with a handful of employees.

I'm kind of both surprised and not surprised. They seem to have been getting a lot of work with licenses but also, like many people have been complaining, their engine was reused so often and people were getting more and more tired of it (from what it seemed). They did announce a few months ago that they were going to be using a new engine soon, but it looks like they won't get the chance.

Update: US Gamer says the final episode for The Walking Dead Final Season is now cancelled and will not be finished. The skeleton crew left behind will be working on Minecraft Story Mode project for Netflix.


No Caption Provided

Also, here's a very telling image of their numbers

There is now a class-action lawsuit against Telltale.


Avatar image for relkin
#2 Posted by Relkin (1214 posts) -

This is very disappointing. Walking Dead Season 1, The Wolf Among Us, and Tales from the Borderlands were all great, and I was very much looking forward to seeing sequels to those last two. I hope those affected get back on their feet quickly enough.

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#3 Posted by Brackstone (945 posts) -

I'd like to say I'm surprised, but I'm really not. They seemed to grow too fast to sustain themselves, and never really nailed down their niche in the first place. I hope everyone can land on their feet.

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#4 Edited by mikewhy (346 posts) -

Wow I feel really bad for the people that had to work there. It seems like it was just endless project after project of the same old same old, only to release your magnum opus and then shut down.

I really hope we get to see some "this is what bad management does" articles from this.

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#5 Edited by Zeik (5222 posts) -

Well that seriously sucks.

I know people like to shit on Telltale these days, but I've enjoyed most of their games, and sincerely loved a number of them. I really would have liked to see where they would have gone if they had actually gotten a new engine to work with and away from the shadow of The Walking Dead. (And Tales from the Borderlands had been the success it deserved.)

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#6 Edited by pewpewphil (69 posts) -

Thats a shame, I remember helped repopularized the "action adventure" genre back in 2012 with Walking Dead Season 1. I heard they were switching to Unity a while back, to help out with engine issues but that didn't seem to help them out. Its been a hard week for video game developers also with Capcom Vancouver being shut down, hope all those affected find a job soon.

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#7 Posted by devise22 (745 posts) -

This is awful news.

That said, I will say this is a lesson for the industry as well. You just had the feeling when they started grabbing up all the licenses, which by the way were not bad ideas. It was the rate at which they were pumping games out, and how fast they started to scale up. I'm sure they'd be the first to admit they probably should of continued at a slower pace with time to experiment with engines, etc. It seemed to me the problem with their games was very rarely story related, even by the critics of most of the products, and far more to do with the same humdrum of what you can expect from these adventure games since Walking Dead.

With all the properties they had picked up, I really do think there was a chance they could of done something had they just figured out the pacing/release window issue and not just tried to turn into the Adventure Game equivalent of Ubisoft. For all their faults, which there is many, big publishers I always feel at least understand that you only scale up when you have the resources to do so. Even then they still fall on their face sometimes, but they have the capital to cushion themselves in between the hits and misses. If you don't have that, your basically walking a tight rope when you scale up as large as Telltale did. I mean the stories started to come out I feel like not even a year after all the scale up news that they'd be scaling back down in some places.

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#9 Edited by sparky_buzzsaw (8934 posts) -

That is a damn shame. Tales from the Borderlands is one of the best adventure games I've ever played, and that first season of Walking Dead was good too.

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#10 Posted by Nodima (2638 posts) -

Legitimately surprised, I figured they supplied a specific enough product of a sufficient enough quality they'd have built a steady enough consumer base to keep them rolling comfortably for a long time. I will say that I became less enthusiastic about their product after the Game of Thrones series just kind of came and went and some of their other series took nearly a year to fully release, but I also enjoyed that they tried to turn each individual game into something like event television on Sundays. I haven't bought the last season of Walking Dead yet and now I'm not sure what the point of that would be, other than enjoying the story of course but I was also kind of done with Clementine after the last one.

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#11 Posted by ShaggE (9305 posts) -

Well, piss. I've been a fan from the beginning, and while I got away from them a bit after the Universal deal and the switch to characters "remembering that" (not that I don't love some of those), I still think quite highly of them.

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#12 Posted by Milkman (19304 posts) -

This breaks my heart, man. I love Telltale games. I know a lot of people have gotten tired of them but they were always comfort food games for me. One of the best feelings I get with games nowadays is sitting down with a new Telltale episode and just losing myself in this choose your adventure story for a couple hours. It's even worse because the start of the final season of Walking Dead was so strong and felt like such a return to form. I guess in the end it's kind of poetic that the studio is going out along with Clementine's story.

I get why this happened. Telltale grew way too big, way too fast but it still doesn't feel right. I wish there was still a place in this industry for these kind of middle budget narrative driven games. Outside of somewhere like CD Projekt Red, it feels like smaller indie games are the only place to go if you want something that puts narrative first, which is what I find myself more and more drawn to in games nowadays. A lot of Telltale games were rough around the edges for sure and they have some failures under their belt but they're responsible for so many of my favorite recent gaming memories. This sucks.

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#13 Edited by gunflame88 (395 posts) -

Indeed they should have switched to a better engine, and long ago, too. I remember even back during Walking Dead Season 1 people have complained that, while the game was awesome, it didn't look very good. Damn shame.

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#14 Posted by Nixamo (66 posts) -

As much as their type of game wasn't for me, they got me to finish all but the last chapter of Tales from the Borderlands. So, they clearly had something going for them.

However the part of me that keeps track of game company decisions to see where they go always wondered if them getting IP licenses left and right a few years ago was overly ambitious. Looks like it just may have been.

Makes me ponder the way things could go for THQNordic.

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#15 Posted by OMGFather (1061 posts) -

No way. Their Batman games were fantastic. I'll be real bummed out if there's not going to be a season 3 of that. Plus what happens to the new Wolf Among Us now?

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#16 Posted by deactivated-5d5f33a6b34f9 (210 posts) -

I will always love Telltale Games for having made the Sam & Max seasons. It’s not easy to try and follow up on a classic like Sam & Max Hit the Road but they did it. Some of the best adventure games out there.

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#17 Posted by TracerX (155 posts) -

Such a bummer. Always felt like Telltale was confused about what people enjoyed about their games. I still remember what a breath of fresh air The Walking Dead season 1 was in an era where player choice affecting a story in meaningful, nuanced ways was a new concept, but instead of continuing to push that concept forward, they decided to go into full factory production mode on a creative medium, which... is almost never a good idea.

The artists and writers working there all seemed to be doing the very best they could with what they had to work with, and I hope they can all land safely somewhere working on more interesting projects than they would have at Telltale.

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#18 Posted by jamesyfx (155 posts) -

This is sad news. It's sad to see it just shut down and not get acquired/absorbed.

I bought a T-shirt off their store a long time ago, and I still have it. At the time I figured something physical off them was warranted as I got a lot of enjoyment out of their games.

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#19 Posted by mezmero (3788 posts) -

This was bound to happen sooner or later but still quite sad. Don't really have much to add to that sentiment. Tales From the Borderlands was terrific for how it fleshed out the fiction of that universe and found a comedic tone that fit better than any of those Gearbox games. It's why I can't get excited at the idea of a Borderlands 3 since I can't bare the thought of that lore and styyyyyyle continuing to be completely squandered for the sake of yet another loot shooter. Walking Dead season 1 and Wolf Among Us are the only other ones I've played and those were quite good as well. Been meaning to play Batman season 1 but haven't gotten around to it.

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#20 Posted by cubidog (96 posts) -

Really sad that we won't be getting a new season of The Wolf Among Us. I absolutely loved the first season, so much that I am going to be reading the comics soon. I never read comics so that shows how much I am interested in the story and characters of Fables.

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#21 Edited by Onemanarmyy (4506 posts) -

oh wow. Knew that they were in a downward spiral, but didn't expect the end to come so soon.

Adventure games are niche, but i feel like there's a stable audience to capture. Look at Wadjet Eye that still makes those same pixel adventure games and enjoys moderate success. But no matter the success, you know that their next project will have a similar production value. I get that game of thrones & batman are exciting properties to work with, but perhaps the licencing costs were not worth it. Definitly not the amount of licenced games they were spitting out at such a rapid pace.

Personally i decided to stick with The Walking Dead main seasons & Wolf Among us. Especially Wolf Among Us hit me in all the right spots.

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#22 Posted by Fezrock (732 posts) -

Whoa. I didn't much like their games but I assumed they were successful and thought they'd just keep making them forever. From the replies in this thread though, it seems like this actually isn't that unexpected?

Hope everyone lands on their feet with a new job quickly.

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#23 Posted by MetalBaofu (1705 posts) -

While I do think I was getting a little burned out on their stuff, I was really looking forward to Wolf Among Us 2 and a possible Tales from the Borderlands 2 and more Batman.

@milkman said:

Outside of somewhere like CD Projekt Red, it feels like smaller indie games are the only place to go if you want something that puts narrative first, which is what I find myself more and more drawn to in games nowadays.

Well there is Supermassive with Until Dawn and their Dark Pictures Anthology thing they announced, but yeah, there isn't a ton of games like this, especially from bigger companies. I kinda wonder if Don't Nod will do some more games like this(outside of Life is Strange).

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#25 Posted by glots (4390 posts) -

For selfish reasons, I really would've liked to see a new season for TWAU. That was their only IP that really interested me after Borderlands.

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#26 Posted by TheHT (15875 posts) -

Oh my god, that's awful. I recently played season one of the Batman game and it reminded me of how much I absolutely love their style of game.

I remember reading about the trouble behind the scenes (and things really didn't look good at all) but figured they'd turn things around. Pouring one out for a studio responsible for some of my all-time favourite video game experiences.

@milkman said:

I know a lot of people have gotten tired of them but they were always comfort food games for me. One of the best feelings I get with games nowadays is sitting down with a new Telltale episode and just losing myself in this choose your adventure story for a couple hours.

Exactly this.

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#27 Edited by ArbitraryWater (15750 posts) -

As someone who hasn't checked out one of their games since Tales from the Borderlands, I guess this doesn't surprise me too much. If I may be so bold, I think they kinda squandered a lot of the goodwill they built up from the "lightning in a bottle" success of TWD Season 1. Seems like they oversaturated their own niche by picking up every license imaginable and pumping out multiple series per year. Hearing from people who actually kept up with that stuff, it sounds like the actual quality was all over the place, but from the outside it's hard to discern between a Batman (which people seem to like!) and a Game of Thrones (which I don't think I heard a positive word about) until they're both on sale for $10. Can't imagine that's financially viable for too long.

Doesn't make the loss of jobs any less unfortunate, and I would've really liked to see The Wolf Among Us season 2, which I think (along with another Tales from the Borderlands) would've been the property to make me give a shit about one of their series again. Hope everyone can find work again quickly.

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#28 Edited by meteora3255 (681 posts) -

Telltale holds a special place for me because my wife and I played them together. She doesn't play games but the style of game play combined with the licenses got her to take a look at them.

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#29 Posted by aktivity (463 posts) -

Telltale lost me after the second episode of Wolf Among Us and Walking Dead season 2, but I still checked in occasionally. TWD season 1 and Borderlands are still some of my favorite games though, I hope everyone there land on their feet.

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#30 Posted by kevino13 (206 posts) -

So, what happens to their games on Steam after they close? Will they be removed from the store?

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#31 Edited by hnke (189 posts) -

I don’t understood how it even got this far. Those games weren’t very good to begin with and mass-producing them for years on end sure didn’t make them any better.

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#32 Edited by FlashFlood_29 (4452 posts) -

Update from US Gamer says the final episode for The Walking Dead Final Season is now cancelled and will not be finished. The skeleton crew left behind will be working on Minecraft Story Mode project for Netflix.


This is really rough and big blow to those players.

Also, thank you mods for moving the thread.

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#33 Posted by FrostyRyan (2924 posts) -

Wait, seriously? They won't even get to finish the final walking dead season? Holy shit that sucks

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#34 Posted by OurSin_360 (6201 posts) -

I'm surprised nobody bought them, seemed like they just needed a new engine. I enjoyed the few of their games i played

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#35 Edited by Fear_the_Booboo (1091 posts) -

@frostyryan: they will. A few articles point out that for now they keep a team of 25 people to finish Walking Dead, after that it’s done for good. EDIT: Seems I was wrong and it’s fully cancelled, sorry for that.

There’s rumbling on Twitter about no severance pay, the workers being informed at the last minute and basically a lot of unpaid overtime. It seems that the workers are paying the price for the management’s mistakes once more.

Anyway, I wanted to buy that new Walking Dead cause it seems good, now I kinda feel shitty about it. I’m very tired of how this industry (and a lot of industries these days) are treating their workforce like absolute trash. I’ve experienced it firsthand and it only seems to be getting worse.

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#36 Posted by zombiepenguin9 (775 posts) -

That really sucks. I haven't played anything of theirs since TWD Season 1, but I did enjoy my time with that and thought it was cool they were reinvigorating the adventure game genre there for a while. I hope everyone finds more work soon.

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#37 Posted by liquiddragon (3527 posts) -

So the 2nd episode is the last one for the final season of TDW.

I feel bad for the employees but I think a lot of us saw this coming from a mile away.

Might need to replay The Wolf Among Us.

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#38 Posted by rkofan87 (471 posts) -

sucks for the employees and to the people who cancelled twd f you i am now out 20 bucks.

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#39 Posted by nutter (2311 posts) -

Bummer. I played just about everything they made and usually really enjoyed their stuff.

Batman was cool. Walking Dead’s first season put adventure games in a place they haven’t been in decades. The Wolf Among Us and Tales from the Borderlands were both fantastic.

Best of luck to the staff. Here’s hoping everyone lands on their feet.

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#40 Posted by clagnaught (2141 posts) -

I knew things were not going well there, but I assumed that The Final Season was a course correction to prevent something like this was happening. Didn't realize the situation was this dire. This is just terrible news.

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#41 Posted by SMTDante89 (2936 posts) -

I'm incredibly sad to hear about this though I've been burned out on these type of games for about a year now. The first season of The Walking Dead is a defining game for me this decade for sure and I'll cherish my memories of that game for a long time. Being a big Borderlands fan, Tales was such a perfect game for me and I loved the story in the game. I've almost always enjoyed their games with the only one I started to dislike was Season 3 of TWD. I still need to finish it and go back to play Season 2 of Batman.

I hope everyone can find employment again really soon, they deserve it.

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#42 Edited by htr10 (1065 posts) -

I loved Telltale’s stuff, even some of its less generally liked games like Game of Thrones. Man, they made the best games to sit down, get drunk, and play through an episode of on an off night. Beside myself at this news. Best wishes to the people losing their jobs.

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#43 Edited by NTM (11872 posts) -

That sucks. I certainly didn't play all of their games (they put out a lot), but I've liked the ones I played and I really wanted to finish up Clementine's story above all, but now that's not likely. It's also too bad for the players that already got into it and expected to play more episodes. I was also contemplating on whether I should rebuy The Wolf Among Us on consoles in anticipation for the second, but now that doesn't seem like a good idea. This and Capcom Vancouver being shut down is super unfortunate.

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#44 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2105 posts) -

Tales from the Borderlands was fucking awesome.

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#45 Posted by Panfoot (334 posts) -

I certainly know if I was one of the rights holders to the Walking Dead I'd be pretty damn pissed right now. I guess it isn't to surprising given a lot of the questionable decisions over the years (IE expanding so fast after TWD Season 1 did well and putting out so many games constantly), hell even as someone who liked a large majority of their games after the 2nd Waling Dead season I just waited until every episode was out and got it on sale. Hindsight also makes the final season of TWD seem like a giant gamble now, after all the first episode just came out last month, surely the higher ups knew how close to the end they were. I wonder if their games will start disappearing from stores too now, given all the different licenses they had their feet in.

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#46 Posted by deactivated-5c4a6d7d37a3f (654 posts) -

Man this came out of nowhere! I loved every one the the games they put out in the last 2 generations or however long it's been. I was pretty sure they were doing great judging by how many games they had been pumping out over the years. But geez, did not think this was going to happen. I hope some other companies pick up they're staff. My condolences to everyone effected.

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#47 Posted by glots (4390 posts) -

The Walking Dead also getting axed mid-season is pretty rough. I guess they expected it to sell millions right away, because how'd they even get to that point otherwise?

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#48 Posted by Captain_Insano (3533 posts) -

Captain Insano will remember that

Sucks for the employees massively. TWAU was legitimately awesome, technical hitches and all

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#49 Posted by ToTheNines (1672 posts) -

They should have stuck to what they were already doing. Instead they had to purchase IP after IP. And leave things like the wolf among us behind. I’m not that surprised, though it’s really sad that the walking dead gets no conclusion.

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#50 Posted by Sessh (3405 posts) -

What a bummer. They were by no means perfect, but I'll still really miss those Telltale-Games.

It especially sucks that now the final TWD season will never be finished. The last game was rather disappointing, but I had some hopes for the finale still.