Telltale Games shutting down, Walking Dead finale cancelled

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Telltale Games shutting down, Walking Dead finale cancelled

Postby KleinerKiller » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:29 am

Following a devastating wave of sudden layoffs today, Telltale is going through a "majority studio closure", due to huge financial losses and overwhelming development crunch time, among other things. The studio will be retaining a skeleton crew of 25 out of its former 250, which is currently stated to be focused solely on finishing Minecraft Story Mode (the slop that just won't stop) due to contractual obligations with a Netflix tie-in.

All future announced projects have been cancelled, but Telltale has remained evasive and inconsistent so far about the state of its current lineup. The critically-acclaimed Walking Dead game series, which only just entered its long-awaited final season, is most likely cancelled according to anonymous sources -- even discounting said sources' lack of verifiability, I can't imagine a crew abruptly reduced to 10% handling it with any grace.

Telltale's games had a divisive reputation in the gaming community, but with the exception of a few flops, I was nearly always more than satisfied with what they put out. The Walking Dead and Tales From the Borderlands are among my favorite games of all time, and their recent second season of Batman demonstrated great creative improvement (including one of the best interpretations of the Joker I've seen in any medium). And given how invested I and numerous others were in the story of TWD's Clementine, to know that it's almost certainly ending just before its actual ending is a seriously disheartening blow.
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Re: Telltale Games shutting down, Walking Dead finale cancel

Postby iMURDAu » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:33 pm

What's scary to me is that nobody seems to be freaking out over this. Telltale makes good games. People buy their games, well apparently not enough. Goodnight adventure games with interactive story elements based on pop culture licenses. Hope to see you again someday.
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Re: Telltale Games shutting down, Walking Dead finale cancel

Postby AboveGL » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:50 pm

Well... shit.

Shit.

I need to comment on this story but I don't have any other words. Having read Brandon's tweets, it would appear Telltale did not take good care of their employees. No severance pay, nothing.

Tales from the Borderlands is also one of my faves and particularly touched me as a huge fan of the series. It's hard not to take news like this with considerable weight when some of the talented people behind that are now being put through this.
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Re: Telltale Games shutting down, Walking Dead finale cancel

Postby gisambards » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:58 pm

It's a real shame. The quality of their writing could be patchy, but Batman: The Enemy Within demonstrated not just that their writing could still be as good as it had been, but also that they were on the cusp of finally evolving from not just making you feel like your choices were making a difference, but on the story itself actually managing to be very different based on choices made. The Enemy Within felt like it could have been the start of the next chapter of the interactive story genre, which I think could be a huge thing if it's given the chance, but I worry there isn't going to be another company that can step into the gap left behind - certainly not one that isn't going to first have to make some of the mistakes Telltale already made.
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Re: Telltale Games shutting down, Walking Dead finale cancel

Postby KleinerKiller » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:29 am

Just because I'm still gutted by this, final rankings of Telltale's work, everyone?

9. Minecraft: Story Mode: Just the worst, laziest cash grab that fails to live up to its most basic potential by pandering more to the infantile culture around Minecraft than the genuinely good base game. It's not surprising that it received the most attention from Telltale's higher-ups.
8. The Walking Dead: A New Frontier: A really strong opening and ending (the latter which is genuinely governed by most of your choices throughout the episodes), but poor pacing, a complete dearth of compelling characters outside of Clementine, and a general downturn in writing quality buried it.
7. Game of Thrones: There's a lot going for it, especially the major choice before the final episode and the bleak climax, but it was clearly written around which cameos they could afford and ended most of its arcs with very little resolution.
6. Batman: The Telltale Series: Middle-of-the-road Telltale, rarely above satisfactory (and by far the most consistently glitch-infested entry in my experience) but with a lot of fantastic ideas that would be expanded upon in Enemy Within.
5. The Walking Dead S2: Not quite as perfect as S1, but I'd still consider it well worth playing, just for the core character arcs and the still-haunting final choice.
4. The Wolf Among Us: An excellent noir story with a thrilling mystery, a rich cast of characters, meaty decisions, great fight scenes, and a nuanced conclusion that's never going to get a followup.
3. Batman: The Enemy Within: Killer writing, one of the best Jokers I've ever seen (among many other great reinterpretations of comic characters), a final episode completely reshaped by your choices, and loads of promise for the future that will sadly go unfulfilled. Definitely the most overlooked entry.
2. The Walking Dead S1: Everyone's played it, everyone knows. Still holds up as a masterpiece.
1. Tales From the Borderlands: Walking Dead reaches higher dramatic heights, but I hold this as Telltale's magnum opus. It's a nigh-unmatched blend of breathtaking comedic writing and legitimately poignant character/emotional work, with incredible production values, remarkable presentation (the second, fourth, and fifth opening credits sequences are going to stick with me forever), and tons upon tons of mythology gags and continuity tie-ins for Borderlands fans -- the fact that it's canon and actively affects the universe it's tied to helps a lot. The final episode might be my favorite of Telltale's episodes altogether.

Never Played: Guardians of the Galaxy
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Anime Review: MY HERO ACADEMIA SEASON 3

ARTICLE 13 MUST BE STOPPED
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Re: Telltale Games shutting down, Walking Dead finale cancel

Postby gisambards » Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:02 pm

12. The Walking Dead: Michonne Just very boring, with no stand-out characters or moments.
11. Minecraft: Story Mode, Season 1 Everything Kleiner said is true, but I think there is a lot here kids will enjoy on its own merits, rather than just because it's referencing Minecraft. Also, it's all conveyed incredibly annoyingly through annoying characters, but I do actually really like the core conceit of the plot, wherein (spoilers for Minecraft Story Mode, if you care) the old band of heroes everyone looks up to lied about their accomplishments, and the guy you think is the bad guy is actually a forgotten ex-member of that group trying to prove the lie to the world. As I say, not well conveyed in the slightest, but a cool concept.
10. Game of Thrones I found Game of Thrones really boring, possibly because I don't really like the show. The overuse of actual GoT characters also makes it clear how little impact your choices can ever really have. GoT is probably the worst one at making you feel like your choices are having any sort of impact, which is particularly bizarre given that your choices actually can impact the story quite dramatically.
9. Guardians of the Galaxy Guardians is fine, but not as funny as Tales from the Borderlands, with less likable characters, and has no real dramatic resonance at all. It's also kind of disappointing that, like with Batman, they set it in an entirely alternate world so they can do what they want with the characters, but, unlike Batman, fail to do anything interesting with the characters.
8. Minecraft: Story Mode, Season 2 Minecraft Season 2 does a lot more with the concept - I think the concept of fighting a server admin being the same to them as fighting a god is actually pretty clever. It feels much more like it's just written for kids as opposed to pandering to them, and I think for something aimed at that age bracket is actually really well done: in particular, the bad guy can be annoying and his voice actor's awful but conceptually, for a kid, the concept of fighting someone omnipotent and some of the things he does would probably actually be pretty scary.
7. The Walking Dead: The New Frontier Another one that's really not great, but I really like the concept - it's a shame it's just not interestingly conveyed. It's something that's always bugged me is how little post-apocalyptic media seems to remember that these characters had actual lives and relationships before the apocalypse, so I think The New Frontier should get massive kudos for revolving around that concept. Also, I did think David, the boring main guy's brother, was actually really interesting as a portrayal of someone who TV and films tell us should be the hero of something like this, but in reality just isn't up to the task.
6. Batman Batman is a glitchy mess and the writing is generally fairly dull, with two of the three bad guys being very uninteresting. It does set up the interesting take they have on the Batman lore, though, which is explored best through their presentation of Two-Face (and I actually liked the revelations about Thomas Wayne, which were apparently very unpopular at the time). It's also generally fairly engaging. But genuinely loses points for the performance of the guy playing the Penguin, who is absolutely dreadful.
5. The Walking Dead, Season 1 The first season of TWD is great and still carries a lot of emotional resonance, and very important in terms of being their first foray into this genre (and probably being the game to most popularise the genre). But it does definitely feel like their first foray into the genre, and a lot of the kinks haven't been worked out. The actual quality of the writing is also patchy compared to the four games I would say are the really well-written ones (which are the next four on the list). Stand-outs are definitely Clementine and Kenny, particularly Kenny who I think is definitely the best character in the first season. I did actually find Dave Fennoy's performance as Lee off-putting at times, though: bizarrely, he does emotional stuff brilliantly but makes small talk (and particularly jokes) sound incredibly unnatural, which can make some of the more talky scenes feel weird.
4. The Walking Dead, Season 2 Season 2 has some major pacing issues, but I actually think it's the best written game Telltale have done in terms of dialogue, which is good because it's such a low-action game. I really liked the focus on group dynamics over zombie killing, and I think it is an improvement as an example of the genre over the first one, in that the choices you're making feel a lot less obvious in the impact they'll go on to have, which I actually prefer. Plus it conveys being a child in a group like that quite well, in that you'll sometimes be frustratingly not listened to regardless of what you do, and the entire final section is really powerful (particularly if you help Kenny but don't go with him, which I found was really nicely bittersweet).
3. The Wolf Among Us The Wolf Among Us is really strong all round, and immediately I think made massive improvements on the formula (I'm pretty sure TWAU was the second Telltale game of this type after TWD). It's emotional but also exciting, and the characters are nearly all interesting (and those that aren't don't take up too much time). Also probably does the best job of managing to give you a playable character with quite a clearly-defined personality, but being able to let you have a lot of choice in what he says or does without any of it feeling out-of-character, which is very impressive.
2. Tales from the Borderlands Tales from the Borderlands is just fantastic, for every reason Kleiner already said.
1. Batman: The Enemy Within I would argue that The Enemy Within should take the top spot just because, as I said before, I think if not for Telltale having collapsed this would have been their second-most important game after the original Walking Dead, representing the next stage in development of the genre. Similarly, it had issues one would hope would have been overcome by later games (for example, while it's incredible that there are two entirely alternate final episodes, I'd hope future games would have had that split be the culmination of all your choices, rather than a binary choice at the end of the penultimate episode), but like The Walking Dead it is in of itself brilliant as well, with massive improvements in literally every area over the first Batman game, and one of the few where you do get a real sense of how your relationship with other characters is changing based on your decisions throughout.
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Re: Telltale Games shutting down, Walking Dead finale cancel

Postby Deathclaw_Puncher » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:49 pm

I've only played BTTS and The Enemy Within. Those were some pretty damn good games. Especially the latter. More Batman IP should use the 1940s inarnation of The Riddler. That was some messed up shit right there.


It's a shame, really. The only other studios that really use a similar format are Dontnod and Deck Nine, and it seems they're mostly going to be focused with LIS related properties going forward.
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Re: Telltale Games shutting down, Walking Dead finale cancel

Postby KleinerKiller » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:40 am

Surprise! The 25-person skeleton crew just got laid off too. No severance pay for any of them, either. Jesus Christ.
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"Your mind is software. Program it. Your body is a shell. Change it. Death is a disease. Cure it." - Eclipse Phase

Game Review: TALES OF XILLIA

Anime Review: MY HERO ACADEMIA SEASON 3

ARTICLE 13 MUST BE STOPPED
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Re: Telltale Games shutting down, Walking Dead finale cancel

Postby Windy » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:53 am

You can watch a walkthrough of their games on youtube and get pretty much the same experience so that probably didn't help.
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Re: Telltale Games shutting down, Walking Dead finale cancel

Postby iMURDAu » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:59 pm

Proving he can do anything besides making Invincible worth reading Robert Kirkman said that Skybound will complete the final season using Telltale staff.
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