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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Telltale Games - Announces Shut Down

Default Telltale Games - Announces Shut Down

September 22nd, 2018, 15:51
@TechQuila Telltale Games announced that they will be shutting down.

Telltale games, on 21st September 2018 officially announced that it will be shutting down, following a round of mass layoffs for the company’s 250 or so employees which saw almost 90% of the workforce discharged.


Best known for their narrative titles like borderlands, the studio had carved a small niche for itself in the industry.

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September 22nd, 2018, 15:51
Wow, that's unexpected. I thought with all their title acquisitions and seeming popularity that they were doing well. What happened?
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September 22nd, 2018, 16:09
I would suspect a total Charlie Foxtrot in the way the company has been run. They had great recognition, major licenses, and at least decent sales. Maybe they overcommited and just got in too deep.
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September 22nd, 2018, 17:53
Major licenses are an expense. You have to pay to get them. If the resulting games don't sell well then you can wind up doubly screwed.
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September 22nd, 2018, 17:58
Hmm, I did like their "games" - though maybe the fact that they barely qualify as such in the end caused them to not sell enough to rake in enough money.
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September 22nd, 2018, 18:12
How sad, it's indeed a pity. Another major player in video gaming bites the dust. I liked their games…
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September 22nd, 2018, 18:16
Good article here.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/20/1…-game-industry

Sounds like over-expansion and lousy management, to me.
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September 22nd, 2018, 18:41
I was looking on Twitter to see if they were blaming the usual suspects for this too: Trump, or white men, or Republicans, but no luck this time.
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September 22nd, 2018, 18:47
Mismanagement is usually the culprit when overwhelming success turns into an overnight failure.

Telltale might be gone but their style of game is here to stay, I look forward to what other indie companies will do with it. When you remove the licensing costs on the major IPs, it doesn't cost too much to make.

I'm also keeping an eye on who will be picking up all the old school adventure IPs they held.
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September 22nd, 2018, 19:07
Fans are putting the blame on the former CEO
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September 22nd, 2018, 21:59
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
Good article here.

https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/20/1…-game-industry

Sounds like over-expansion and lousy management, to me.
Yep to many projects in the pipeline with bad management, and poor sales.
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September 22nd, 2018, 22:19
I'd agree, with all that I've read and heard so far, sounds like piss-poor management is the culprit.
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September 22nd, 2018, 22:58
I already shared this earlier but here you go for more context.

Link - http://gamasutra.com/view/news/32708…osing_down.php
Update: While Telltale Games representatives have not yet responded to our request for comment and further details, word is spreading that the studio maintains only a skeleton crew (25 people out of what was estimated to be a staff size of ~250 people) to complete work on a single project.

The rest were let go this week, reportedly without any severance, and it sounds as though all of the company's other ongoing projects are in jeopardy or have been cancelled outright, including The Wolf Among Us 2.

Update 2: Telltale co-founder and former CEO Kevin Bruner issued a statement on the closure this afternoon. Bruner was ousted from the company a year and a half ago and is currently suing the studio over his expulsion.

"Today, I’m mostly saddened for the people who are losing their jobs at a studio they love," he wrote. "And I’m also saddened at the loss of a studio that green-lit crazy ideas that no one else would consider. I’m comforted a bit knowing there are now so many new talented people and studios creating games in the evolving narrative genre."

While Bruner's words on the shutdown were nostalgic, a report from March this year cited anonymous Telltale sources who said he was an abrasive credit-hoarder--an accusation that he denied.

Update 3: The official Telltale Games Twitter account announced a "majority studio closure" in a tweet:

"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."

The tweet also confirms that a small group of 25 employees are staying on to fulfill the company's obligations to its board and partners.

For the time being, the studio is steering clear of officially announcing a complete closure, and will issue comments regarding its product portfolio in the next few weeks.

In a statement to Variety, Telltale partner Netflix was less coy about the situation at Telltale. The company initially stated the following: "We are saddened by the closing of Telltale Games – they developed many great games in the past and left an indelible mark in the industry. Minecraft: Story Mode is still moving forward as planned. We are in the process of evaluating other options for bringing the Stranger Things universe to life in an interactive medium."

Not long thereafter, Netflix evidently amended their statement to Variety so that rather than specifically mentioning studio closure, it instead opens: "We are saddened by the news about Telltale Games…"
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September 23rd, 2018, 01:42
I'm just in shock about this… I LOVE their games. I had no idea they were struggling.

Clementine is one of the best characters I've seen in gaming. Period.
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September 23rd, 2018, 01:53
And in westerns.

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September 23rd, 2018, 09:20
I'd like to add that their games, at least the ones I've played, have gone downhill from the start, too. The first game in The Walking Dead, for example, had real C&C, where characters died and important things happened as a result of your choices. From there, it just devolved into on-rails storytelling and dumbass QTE minigames that served no purpose other than to make you jump through whatever pointless hoop the developers wanted you to.
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September 23rd, 2018, 09:21
Originally Posted by ChaosTheory View Post
I'm just in shock about this… I LOVE their games. I had no idea they were struggling.
Yep the CEO even acknowledged sales were not that great on recent games.
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.
I also posted some info above about the former CEO's mismanagement.
While Bruner's words on the shutdown were nostalgic, a report from March this year cited anonymous Telltale sources who said he was an abrasive credit-hoarder--an accusation that he denied.
Update: Here is a video about this.

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Last edited by Couchpotato; September 23rd, 2018 at 09:43.
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September 23rd, 2018, 09:49
I remember reading that their game engine had also been overused. It should have been updated a while ago to compete with games such as the council. They squandered their lead and market share in this type of interactive storytelling.

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September 23rd, 2018, 10:43
this is the problem with success and stupid people. The desire to 'grow' whether it be greed or ego gets in the way of stability.
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I generally believe - at least for the companies where i've worked - that some growth will happen organgically but it is a mistake to maximize growth. The first mistake they made was going to a venture cap. to leverage their success to get money for growth. It is one thing to need a quick intake of $$ for solvency but another for the sake of expansion. Then a lot of these folks don't have a clue what they are signing. they have limited business experience and they are dealing with what amounts to loan sharks who will by default write unfavorable terms. Now I don't know if that is hte case here but clearly once they went public they were under the gun to meet yearly objectives in $$$ and that in itself is a formula for disaster since these goals are designed around growth not quality or market trend.
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September 23rd, 2018, 12:56
I always like the analogy used in the article, that because a woman can produce a baby in nine months, that doesn't mean nine women can produce a baby in one month; just because you have some creative capacity, you can't assume it can be scaled to any rate of production you like.
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