Following reports that Telltale Games has laid off a majority of its staff, CNET can confirm that the storied video game studio is planning to close its doors for good, with only a skeleton crew of 25 remaining to ‘fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners.’
Known for pioneering episodic games where the choices you’d make in one episode would carry on to the next — most prominently The Walking Dead, Batman, Minecraft Story Mode and The Wolf Among Us — the studio attracted big brands like Game of Thrones, Back to the Future and Guardians of the Galaxy with the same formula, and was working on a Stranger Things game for Netflix before its collapse. (Netflix says it’s figuring out what to do about that now.)
In 2012, we praised The Walking Dead in particular for ‘an interactive storytelling experience that other zombie games can only dream of delivering.’
Here’s the statement Telltale Games provided today:
Today Telltale Games made the difficult decision to begin a majority studio closure following a year marked by insurmountable challenges. A majority of the company’s employees were dismissed earlier this morning, with a small group of 25 employees staying on to fulfill the company’s obligations to its board and partners. CEO Pete 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 will issue further comments regarding its product portfolio in the coming weeks.
Here’s a statement from Netflix:
We are saddened by the news about 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.
Though Telltale co-founder and former CEO Kevin Bruner sued the company earlier this year, he also penned a goodbye to Telltale at his blog. ‘We chose to venture where others dared not go, and we found some success along the way. It took a lot of vision, luck, will power, teamwork, talent, and very long days and nights to get there, but it will forever have been worth it,’ he wrote.