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Ashley

Telltale Games lays off majority of staff

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No official word yet but lots of people have been let go. There's an article about it, but site seems to be being hammered. Nothing official yet, but seems very likely at the least there's massive cut backs but there's also rumours of them shutting down.

http://gamasutra.com/view/news/327085/Report_The_Walking_Dead_developer_Telltale_Games_closing_down.php

update

According to polygon they've let go of 25% of their staff (90 people).

Current projects unaffected apparently but I suspect there will be less new ones going forward. Other sources say they're just going to finish off Walking Dead but the rest are cancelled. Basically it's still developing but a lot of people are going to have a shit weekend.

https://www.polygon.com/platform/amp/2017/11/7/16619444/telltale-games-layoffs?__twitter_impression=true

another update

Perhaps my mistake, but they are reducing their workforce to 25 people, not by 25%.

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Oh man, with how they’ve grown as a developer over the past few years, and been trusted with major franchises, this is a really disappointing shock!  Sorry to hear about those talented people being let go.

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It's crazy that a studio that seemed bulletproof a few years ago can fall apart so quickly. It seems like they took on too many big contracts and stretched themselves too thin and despite the success of The Walking Dead none of their other games seem to have been that popular, I don't hear people praise Batman very much and the Guardians game seemed to pretty much tank. It was only about 18 months ago that they had the first round of lay offs so they clearly didn't learn their lesson. 

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It always sucks when a company that makes games that certainly has fans suffers something like this.
I can't say I ever played any of their games, but I can only hope that the laid-off staff can find work somewhere else.

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The Final Season of The Walking Dead has also been cancelled — Episode 2 will be the final episode.

I have to wonder if customers that had already purchased the season pass will be reimbursed, obviously not by Telltale, but perhaps by PlayStation/Xbox/etc.?

Seems like a sorry state of affairs, but the writing has been on the wall for some time now. I guess we can only hope for the best for everyone being laid off, I can’t imagine what working in an environment where the place is clearly in trouble - and has been for a long time - would be like. 

UPDATE (courtesy of Cartoon Brew)

Quote

Various reports online have indicated that the laid off employees won’t receive any severance pay and will lose their health insurance within a couple weeks. Affected employees are obviously not happy with the situation. One of them, Brandon Cebenka, posted on Twitter:

An exposé published on The Verge earlier this year looked at the company’s poor management, including such accusations as underpaying employees and a toxic “crunch culture” (including 14- to 18-hour work days, up to six days of the week).

Some comments online indicate that employees were given just 30 minutes to leave the studio after being told they were laid off.

 

Edited by Julius Caesar
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Terrible news for those that have lost their jobs. How the company was run was shambolic and not getting severance and treated as they have done over the last couple of years is disgusting. Hopefully those out of work will be able to bring some of that TellTale magic to whatever they work on next.

Gutted that there'll be no The Wolf Among Us 2 and even more so that we'll never get a sequel season to Tales of the Borderlands, which seriously deserved one. I do wonder if a new studio will rise out of the ashes to maybe bring some of the products about. We can only hope.

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3 hours ago, MindFreak said:

It's officially closing down. They are keeping 25 staff people.

From their Twitter account:

DnpfRXSUYAEqIkY?format=jpg

 

It'll probably happen ultimately, but I'm unsure if "majority studio closure" simply means they're closing the majority of the studio, rather than closing outright. 

1 hour ago, Ganepark32 said:

Terrible news for those that have lost their jobs. How the company was run was shambolic and not getting severance and treated as they have done over the last couple of years is disgusting. Hopefully those out of work will be able to bring some of that TellTale magic to whatever they work on next.

Gutted that there'll be no The Wolf Among Us 2 and even more so that we'll never get a sequel season to Tales of the Borderlands, which seriously deserved one. I do wonder if a new studio will rise out of the ashes to maybe bring some of the products about. We can only hope.

I think it's unlikely for a while due to how sudden it was, nobody had time to really plan it. Unless some people had been planning for a while and happen to be financially okay. Maybe in a few years. At the moment I think everyone is just trying to find a job.

Seems Telltale's poor management has screwed a lot of people. This thread from one of their employees:

 

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Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! No full final season of The Walking Dead?! That absolutely fucking sucks. :(

Terrible news tbh and I feel for all of the members of staff who have been laid off. Hope that they can quickly bounce back and find work elsewhere. What is the cause of their woes exactly? Too many jobs/games and not making enough of a return?

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Seems like episode 2 will still be released on Tuesday but that'll be the last.

Just seems like they overstretched and took on too much. I wonder if the big brands they went for cost them too much to get the rights for.

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26 minutes ago, Ashley said:

Seems like episode 2 will still be released on Tuesday but that'll be the last.

Just seems like they overstretched and took on too much. I wonder if the big brands they went for cost them too much to get the rights for.

I'm not going to play the final season and will just say that the series ended with Season 3. What's the point in starting a story that is never going to be finished? 

Meh, very annoyed by this. All that character and world building for 3 seasons. Only consolation is that Season 3's ending is decent-ish that you could just viably leave it there and be kinda ok with it. Ish. I guess. It's a bit like ending Return of the Jedi about an hour early and saying that "Han, Luka and Leia live with the Ewoks now and Darth Vader and the Emperor are out there somewhere". 

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Well I'm sure as a studio they would want to finish it off. It's early days and I'm sure they're looking into what can be achieved. I heard they are covering their commitments (hence the Minecraft Netflix thing) and maybe they'd look into if they can finish off TWD. 

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43 minutes ago, Julius Caesar said:

This is pretty awesome.

Quite common in the games industry as far as I know. A friend of mine has worked for a few games studios that have shut down and he's been snapped up pretty quick every time.

Still good to see though.

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2 minutes ago, Goafer said:

Quite common in the games industry as far as I know. A friend of mine has worked for a few games studios that have shut down and he's been snapped up pretty quick every time.

Still good to see though.

Oh, sure, there are probably plenty of jobs in the industry should a place close down, so that’s good to hear.

It was more the fact that Ubisoft were inviting them along specifically, and especially to talk about job opportunities over provided food and drinks, which I thought was great. 

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Yeah, the closure of the studio is not surprising.

The cancelation of the final season of The Walking Dead is shocking however. Good thing I didn't pre-order like I have done with most of the TellTale stuff I have, inclusing the previous 3 seasons. I was close to doing so, but ultimately neglected it because the games never showed any technical improvement, so didn't bother. I loved the stories, but the games were really shitty from a technical standpoint.

Guess I should play season 3 soon (after replaying 2 first, because of those technical issues..), then do a replay of Tales from the Borderlands. RIP TellTale games.

And yeah, absolute shitty for the employees, but on the other hand, it doesn't sound like a place they should be working at anyway. They'll be better off eventually.

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Its down right shocking what has gone on, especially that they had new hires recently, the execs must have known!

I'm quite surprised full stop though, they seems a very good company and produced some great story games, i suppose looking back they had a lot of IP's and games and an engine that was in dire need of some updating (and they were?) but to go out like this? man it sucks

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Skybound is headed by Robert Kirkman, the creator of The Walking Dead, and in fact it was them who gave Telltale the license, so it seems to be in good, stable hands now. 

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Super Bunnyhop just released an interesting video on Telltale's demise, namely how they had been mismanaging the company for years, now (and how that mismanagement might also be behind their more lacklustre releases post-Walking Dead). It's a pretty good watch.

 

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