The creators of the hit episodic series The Walking Dead, Telltale Games, has closed its doors.
Known for creating a fresh take on The Walking Dead universe with original characters and a gameplay style that favors decision making and characterization over action and gore, the studio encompasses the meaning of the iconic series.
While Walking Dead fans know every day in that universe could be the last for their beloved characters, they didn’t think the studio would be subject to the same fragility of life.
But the hit studio is indeed gone, and the work they did on the upcoming Walking Dead sequel has apparently been scrapped. What’s worse, over 200 employees are now out of work. And according to those former employees, they were not even given so much as a severance package after their time with the organization.
Co-founder and former CEO Kevin Bruner, said: “Today, I’m mostly saddened for the people who are losing their jobs at a studio they love. 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.”
Inner-organizational struggles may have been an ongoing problem at Telltale, as they laid off about 90 workers last year – or a quarter of their total staff at the time.
The studio may have been most known for their Walking Dead games, but they also had numerous other hit titles such as Game of Thrones, The Wolf Among Us, Back to the Future, Minecraft Story Mode, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Batman: The Enemy Within. Each game stayed true to the iconic Telltale style both in the art and the gameplay structure.
Melissa Hutchinson, who voiced the main character of Clementine in the Walking Dead series, commented on the situation and the fate of the game’s final season. She said even she didn’t have details on how the final season would end up, whether it would be picked up by another studio or scrapped altogether.
While the studio seemed to be a major success given their unique take on popular series, they announced they had endured an incredibly difficult year and that sales numbers were simply not good enough to keep the doors open. As the talented staff searches for new work, some game studios have released notices that they are looking for new members.
The only remaining staff members at Telltale are a “skeleton crew” who remain only to fulfill company obligations to board members and partners.
It goes to show that positive feedback doesn’t always translate into financial success. And while some may wonder how a studio that got the green light to produce titles for iconic characters and series could have fiscal struggles, there isn’t a lot of information available to the public at this time.
It’s terrible news for both the workers who gave their all to the studio and for customers who have already purchased a season pass.