In a statement via Ars Technica, Telltale Games has announced that the majority of the studio has been laid of, leaving a staff of 25 remaining employees to “fulfill the company’s commitment to its board and partners”. Their CEO Peter 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 is know for their prolific narrative-adventure game output, including titles like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Tales from the Borderlands, and Batman: The Enemy Within. Founded in 2004 by a group of ex-LucasArts employees, the studio made waves after publishing an episodic adventure game series based on the Sam & Max franchise two years later. They continued making modern adventure games with licensed properties with their Back to the Future and Jurassic Park titles.
But then in 2012 the studio found its first blockbuster success with the release of The Walking Dead, popularizing a unique form of modern adventure game that prioritized storytelling and decision-making over the traditional puzzle solving that defined the genre. It was lauded as a landmark for writing in games, winning many game of the year awards, and defining the companies’ trajectory. From there they scaled up production, and developed more licensed games using the same engine, all of which directly followed in the footsteps of The Walking Dead. The following years saw the release of The Wolf Among Us, the second season of The Walking Dead, and Tales from the Borderlands along with many more. It had recently been announced that they would be working on an adaption to the popular Netflix series Stranger Things.
The news of their majority closure comes in the middle of the release schedule for the final season of The Walking Dead, with episode 2 previously slated for a September 25th release. Additionally The Wolf Among Us Season 2 which was planned for 2018, was delayed to 2019, and a follow up to their Game of Thrones series had been put on hold as well. This is the second wave of mass layoffs that the studio has endured over the last year, with around 90 employees having been laid off last November. The studio has also announced that their Stranger Things title has been canceled.
UPDATE: The studio has since confirmed it will be closing entirely.