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Author Topic: Telltale Games Closes With Immediate Effect (9/22/2018)  (Read 1109 times)

BenRG

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Well, sometimes things happen so suddenly that there is literally no warning:

Telltale Games closes with immediate effect.

Amongst Telltale's somewhat-niche but fairly well-known product line were:
  • Sam and Max;
  • The Wolves Amongst Us;
  • The Walking Dead;
  • Batman;
  • Minecraft: Story Mode;
  • Game of Thrones.
It sounds like it was pretty ugly. Apparently, staff reported this morning on what should have been a normal Saturday in the office to be informed that the company was shutting down with immediate effect. They were given 30 minutes to collect their belongings and then escorted out of the building, the doors of which which were locked behind them.

From all accounts, the board were basically in denial about how terminal the company's plight was from what I can tell and were attempting to make everything seem 'business as usual'. They were still hiring as recently as last week and were accepting new Season Pass purchases for The Walking Dead: The Final Season as recently as yesterday. In fact, the company is apparently completely insolvent so no severance has been paid or is likely to be paid any time soon. The company health insurance expires at the end of next week. Just to make things perfect, the manner in which the company hired employees means that many of the staff will be ineligible for unemployment benefits.

For fans, the practical upshot is that all currently in-production games are either cancelled or postponed indefinitely. With the dev teams broken up and dismissed, even if another studio picks up the IPs in the impending asset auction, whether the quality or story-telling will be up to Telltale's normal standards is anyone's guess - The example of Mass Effect 3 comes to mind, where basically a whole new dev team and story writing team meant that the end of the game feels jarringly off-narrative.

The only project still ongoing is a TV show version of Minecraft: Story Mode and that is only running because Netflix is picking up the tab as the commissioning company. After that wraps, the studio will completely shutter and cease to exist.
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Neko_Ali

Re: Telltale Games Closes With Immediate Effect (9/22/2018)
« Reply #1 on: 22 Sep 2018, 10:14 »

It wasn't as sudden as it is being made out to be. They have been in trouble for a while now, and there were some lay offs a while ago for restructuring according to some reports. This massive abandonment was a surprise and a shock. But the fact that the studio was having difficulty was known, if not widely reported. Were I to guess, they were trying to maintain things as long as they could, but someone with their hands on the purse strings realized that it wasn't going to work. Or they were just flat out of money and have been hiding the fact from everyone. Whatever the reasons for so abruptly shutting down, it is an absolute jerk move to cut people off without a warning or severance. And given that, according to reports, the developers were mostly living paycheck to paycheck, that's 250 suddenly in desperate need of a job right now, before rent or bills are due.

And that's not counting the customers who may not even see a return of the season pass money they have spent for games that won't be made now. And a good chance won't ever be picked up. When companies have their own IPs and go under, then often the rights revert to whoever has been financing them or they get sold off to raise money for the shutting down process to pay for things like severance. However, most if not all of Telltale's portfolio has been licensed products. So if someone wanted to finish the Walking Dead series for instance they would need to negotiate with both whoever has the rights to Telltale's games and AMC to proceed. Which means the only reason to do it is because you are desperate to see the series finished. There are easier and cheaper projects a studio could be trying to make.
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Castlerook

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Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart but I am street smart.", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I am imaginary smart."
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