The Downfall of Telltale Games

Now, I am a few days late to this whole drama, but that has let me get a glimpse of a little extra content.

Last week, Telltale games declared that it was going to be shutting down, laying off most of its staff (who were expecting an eventual closure, but not so sudden). Official reports argue that a failed round of funding (the last backer abruptly pulled out) caused the shut down. The company is only staying open in order to finish the Minecraft: Story Mode for Netflix, then is shutting down permanently. This puts a halt to the much anticipated final season of Walking Dead and trashes the production for a Stranger Things game.

While officially, financial problems led to the closure, this development was a long time coming. Telltale games exploded onto the mainstream scene with the insanely popular first season of Walking Dead, released in 2012. Every gamer who was played that game, with streams for the first chapter popping up. As the game had promised that the endings would change based on your actions, people were trying to get the best ending possible. The first season was pretty good at making it seem like it changed based off actions, as well.

However, people quickly realized in the second season that this was not the case. Major events occurred no matter what, taking away the purpose of trying to find different outcomes. Another problem as well was the fact that the only character that remained consistent was Clementine (and later the child), while all other characters seemingly disappeared. Even the spin-off game was a dead end, with none of the characters making it into the actual game. This made it so there was too many characters to get invested in, turning people off.

This also ruined interest in Game of Thrones and Batman, two games that were reportedly good, but too long and unchanging for people to really be invested in. It only goes downhill from there, as Telltale keeps releasing more and more games, none of which had anywhere near the same popularity as the first season of Walking Dead. As a result, the company was merely digging itself into its own grave.

But, it didn’t let that on to its employees. In fact, the company had just hired people weeks before they had the massive layoff, with people even moving across the country in order to come and work. As a result, a massive class-action lawsuit has been filed against the company, as with the sudden layoff with an almost immediate cut-off of benefits, they have violated California labor laws. Some argue that in suing a bankrupt company, they are wasting their time, but it’s important to solidify that these laws apply to gaming companies, who might otherwise think they’re exempt.

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